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Charlie Parker, Massey Hall and Grafton 10265: Musical Instruments and the Telling of Tales

Cottrell, S.J. ORCID: 0000-0003-4019-798X (2023). Charlie Parker, Massey Hall and Grafton 10265: Musical Instruments and the Telling of Tales. In: Cottrell, S.J. ORCID: 0000-0003-4019-798X (Ed.), Shaping Sound and Society: The Cultural Study of Musical Instruments. . Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Abstract

This chapter tells the story of a particular saxophone, an alto model made by the Grafton company in the early 1950s and given the serial number 10265. I consider how focusing on the object biography of musical instruments illustrates not only how they become imbued with qualities that are both constitutive and reflective of their time and place, but also how they can be seen as having ‘thing power’, as Jane Bennett (2010, 6) puts it, ‘the curious ability of inanimate things to animate, to act, to produce effects dramatic and subtle.’ I draw attention to some of the conceptual overlaps between ethnographic writing and literary fiction in representing the lives of these musical ‘things’ and, in the case of Grafton 10265, I show how focusing on the biographical details of this particular musical object provides insights into the broader cultural patterns within which that biography is played out.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Shaping Sound and Society: The Cultural Study of Musical Instruments on 31 Aug 2023, available online: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/edit/10.4324/9780367816070/shaping-sound-society-stephen-cottrell
Publisher Keywords: Musical instrument makers
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music
Departments: Presidents's Portfolio
[img] Text - Accepted Version
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