Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Elevator Music




















This week I began to read the book, Elevator Music by Joseph Lanza. I have an older copy then the one pictured above. Over the next few week I am going to post quotes from the book and other interesting information related to the book.

I would like to begin by providing some information about the book:

From Library JournalLanza's book takes "Dentist chair music" lightly, claiming for it a history extending back to Orpheus, who "used" music for his own purposes. Music was first used in elevators in 1922, Lanza claims, to sooth passengers fearful of the new machines. Background music is now a pervasive element of modern technological culture. Lanza thinks background music is often good music. As an underappreciated necessity, it makes our world more pleasant and agreeable. While no deeper than "101 Strings" or "Mystic Moods Orchestra" fare, Lanza's book may make readers feel better about the amalgamation of tastes demanded by the fact that 90 million people listen to Muzak daily.

Here are a few reviews of the book found at Amazon.com

Joseph Lanza Nails His Subject Matter Impressively, February 22, 2000
By
Phil Stout

Lanza's exploration of elevator music, easy listening and all things moodsong is the definitive book for anyone who has an interest in a very misunderstood genre. As someone very close to the Easy Listening and Mood Music programming that quietly ruled FM radio for much of the 70's, let me tell you... Joseph Lanza nails his subject matter impressively. Whether you consider yourself a Percy Faith, Roger Williams or Mantovani fan... or are just curious about these plush, melodic sounds, "Elevator Music: A Surreal History Of Muzak, Easy Listening and Other Moodsong" makes for enjoyable reading. This isn't a book that seeks to cash in on what someone recently decided to call lounge music but an evenhanded evaluation of fascinating, mostly instrumental adult pop music with melodies that always lingered on.

You can purchase your own copy of the book here: Elevator

Today's quote comes from page 2

"But just mention the words Muzak, easy listening, or even contemporary instrumental and many critics will lash out with judgements such as boring, dehumanized, vapid, cheesy. and insult of insults, elevator music. But such reactions appear to based more on cultural prejudice than honest musical appraisal. In these supposedly enlightened times, when people are compelled to think twice before passing blanket judgements on most cultures and their contributions, I find it inconsistent for the press (particularly the music press) ro relegate elevator music to a categorical pejorative with no questions asked. After decades of rock, rhythm and blues, folk, heavy metal, and rap, a desensitized population seems to assume that if music is not hot, heavy, bubbling with a jackhammer rhythms and streaming with emotion or anger, it is somehow less than good or worse less than art.

Not every musician should be obligated to reassure us that we are not zombies. There is also a place for music that is subdued, unobtrusive, even remote or alien.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 1:54 PM   0 comments links to this post

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