Abstracts of issue 14 (2000)

Theodor W. Adorno

On the Fetish-Character in Music and the Regression of Listening

Translation in Greek: George Fitsioris
This essay is considered as one of the most characteristic of Theodor Adorno’s (1903-1969) texts about music and its function in society, as well as about the definitive loss of the capability for structural hearing in the age of the decline of the individual. Originally published in Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung, vol. VII (1938), the paper furnishes an excellent example of a philosophy and sociology of arts. In it, with his rather typical, ambivalent, bitter, and even sarcastic mood, Adorno stigmatizes (as the editors of the English edition, Alex Neill and Aaron Ridley, argue) popular or mass culture – he seems as almost detesting jazz and other hit songs, but also popular instruments, like banjos, guitars, and ukuleles – as the product of the “culture industry”, whose prime function is to perpetuate existing, and hence conservative, social arrangements.

Š Musicology