Author Topic: Writing on library music?  (Read 8639 times)

UpMarket

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Writing on library music?
« on: May 12, 2018, 07:55:00 AM »
In my digging I've found several articles that discuss library music, and also picked up the book "Elevator music" by Joseph Lanza, which is a nice read but only touches on library music. I haven't really found anything in a more formal setting, whether it be musicology, theory, criticism. I'm interested in doing some research and some writing about the style, the purpose, the higher/lack of meaning, the major or minor players, the cult following, sampling culture, etc. Does anyone know of any good books or articles?

Kind of related, I'm excited for The Library Music film.

Cheers

Retronic

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Re: Writing on library music?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2018, 10:18:04 AM »
Canít think of any off the top of my head but have seen cultural articles in magazines over the years years but nothing formal or full overview-ish.

Mr

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Re: Writing on library music?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2018, 10:45:41 AM »
Interesting post!
I was briefly in touch with a well-established musicologist at a local University asking for just this. He was vaguely aware of library's existence, but noted that there were only a few papers written on it, to his knowledge. I find most articles generally get bogged down in explaining the concept of library music or the business aspect, without ever going very deep or saying anything too interesting to someone who already is 'initiated'.
Of some interest to me, Robert Fink of UCLA wrote a paper on library in 2000, that specifically uses Network Production Music and their digital/website system as an example. He's very critical of their claim to have invented 'the industrial sound' - as a fun exercise, taking their cues identified as "bold industrial", he points out the fact that they are not exactly wholly original, tracing the 'sound' back to Beethoven:


You can find some books on film/multimedia music in general that touch on library - many of the same 'rules' apply, after all. There are also books on specific composers that worked in library - I believe there is some writing that touches on Bernard Herrmann's works in the CBS EZ Cue Library, for instance. For Italy, much of what was released as library was originally composed for a specific film, radio or TV production, and books on specific composers might touch on the music in those productions, without framing it as library music.

A general issue, I find, is that "library music" as a whole is waaay too expansive to fit properly in a single book. We're talking about a well-established industry that has existed and grown continuously since the silent film era. It would be very interesting for someone to write a book on library, but I think it would necessarily have to be limited to a specific era, area, company or composer for it to be possible.
- So where do you want to start? ;)

stackjackson

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Re: Writing on library music?
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2018, 01:56:40 PM »
This is an excellent question, and one I've been after for as long as I've been aware of the category "library music" and I'd love to see a book like Lanza's on this specific topic.
Let's hope someone, or more than one, is out there marshaling resources, etc. for such a long awaited study. There are now plenty of resources available for this kind of research.
| Stack |

Upgrade

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Re: Writing on library music?
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2018, 06:33:54 PM »
I got a copy of the 2002 movie Easy Listening that I hoped was about library music. Itís really more about a pops orchestra like 101 Strings.

highplainsdrifter

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Re: Writing on library music?
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2018, 12:37:39 PM »
Joseph's Lanza's "Elevator Music" is fantastic, but as mentioned, focuses more on Easy Listening and especially Muzak. The BBC documentary "The Joy of Easy Listening" is a great companion to that book. I've just gone through both relatively recently and would recommend them to anyone with an interest in Easy Listening or its peripheral forms like Exotica and to a much lesser extent Library music. I recall some references in the book to Chappell, KPM and Sam Fox.