Library Header Image
LSE Theses Online London School of Economics web site

Noises: Free music, improvisation and the avant-garde; London 1965 to 1990.

Scott, Richard Patrick (1991) Noises: Free music, improvisation and the avant-garde; London 1965 to 1990. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Download (11MB) | Preview


A study of free, improvised music in London and its practitioners. The dissertation is divided into a discussion of different conceptions of the avant-garde with particular reference to critical theory and post-modernism, and transcribed interviews with musicians, making up an oral history of free music. It includes material on the historical development of the avant-garde and the histories of jazz and contemporary composition. There are also considerations of the specific problems of music and language and the problem of methodology and elaborations of the musical/cultural concepts of noise, listening and silence, and also the idea of music as a form of prophecy. The theoretical section outlines the pessimistic cultural/musical theory of Theodor W. Adorno and also discusses the work of Renato Poggioli, Peter Burger, Jacques Attali, Ernst Bloch, Mikhail Bakhtin and Roland Barthes, considering ways in which it is possible to go beyond Adorno. It is proposed that the avant-garde be regarded not as an element of elite or institutionalised culture but of contemporary popular culture and that culture be understood as a source of a polyphonic, dialogic diversity. Contra Adorno, jazz is considered as one form which has historically produced an avant garde and a multiplicity of form. The prehistory and path of development of free music are briefly considered an ideal-theoretical model of its character as an avant-garde cultural activity proposed. The open-ended oral histories and discussions with musicians in the extensive appendices help reflect the multiplistic character of the avant-garde and provide many perspectives and discourses which support, conflict, and counterpoint the arguments developed by the author. Two cassette tapes of recorded musical examples are included.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Music
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

Actions (login required)

Record administration - authorised staff only Record administration - authorised staff only


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics