Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Gunkel, David J. "Rethinking the Digital Remix: Mash-Ups and the Metaphysics of Sound Recording." Popular Music and Society 31 (October 2008): 489-510.

The popularity of the mash-up, a product of what Wired magazine has termed "cut and paste culture," can be evaluated with regard to Plato's Phaedrus. The idea of writing as a method of fixing an original performance maps onto recording technology and its practice of fixing an aural event in a recording. The mash-up manipulates a recording, undermines its originality and authority, manufactures copies from copies, and combines seemingly incompatible components. For example, Danger Mouse's Grey Album mashes the vocal track of Jay-Z's Black Album with instrumental samples from the Beatles' White Album. The mash-up also appears consistent with Theodor Adorno's assertion that most popular music is easily replicated and substitutable. Mash-ups delight in all of the elements deemed negative by Plato, such as plagiarism, inauthenticity, and repetition.

Works: Danger Mouse (Brian Burton): The Grey Album (490, 498, 502); Mark Vidler: Ray of Gob (491, 497-99).

Sources: The Beatles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr): The White Album [The Beatles] (490, 498); Jay-Z: The Black Album (490, 498); Madonna: Ray of Light (497-99); Sex Pistols: Pretty Vacant (497-99), God Save the Queen (497-499).

Index Classifications: 2000s, Popular

Contributed by: Amanda Sewell

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