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By Allan F. Moore

How will we "know" tune? We practice it, compose it, sing it within the bathe; prepare dinner, sleep and dance to it. finally we predict and write approximately it. This booklet represents the end result of such shared procedures. Portraying quite a lot of genres (rock, dance, television soundtracks, nation, pop, soul, effortless listening, Turkish Arabesk), the essays hide method, modernism, postmodernism, Marxism and conversation.

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Analysis and values My four instances – Pirates of the Mississippi, Metallica, Ice Cube and Kenny G – are very different, and despite my attention to values, I am not at all interested in saying which piece of music is ‘best’; in the absence of a specific context, that would be a parochial and unproductive distinction. Of course, as Frith argues, we need to understand how and why fans and critics argue about value. But it’s not enough to learn to think like a fan; we ought to be in the business of music history, not music appreciation.

That classical sax players could dare to muster scorn for artists such as John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Dexter Gordon reveals much about the power of music education to naturalize particular musical techniques and senses of entitlement without any outside corroboration. It seems to go without saying that Kenny G is not a good sax player; even those who eschew violent imagery speak of, for example, ‘fairly mediocre skills as a saxophonist’, which are used to produce ‘a long lineup of soupy ballads, played with quivering emotionalism by G’s thin-toned soprano and tenor saxophones’ (Heckman 1996: 6).

Also, people in some simple sense know the words: I have a tape of Oasis performing at Knebworth on which an audience in the dozens of thousands sings along with every word of every song. ’ (Frith 1988) is not entirely superseded by the chapter in Frith 1996. I suspect his sceptical attitude is revealed in a little footnote to the latter book: ‘words have always been the least of my musical pleasures’ (1996: 326, n. 47). 4 350 is a guess based on the albums. See Heylin (1996: 209–14) for an index.

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