Mark Abel's book examines relationship between musical rhythm, social experience and time.
26 Nov 2014
Humanities lecturer Mark Abel, has a new book out entitled Groove, An Aesthetic of Measured Time. Published by Brill, the book explores the relationship between music and time and how musical rhythm expresses our social experience of time. Abel explains the rise to prominence in Western music of a new way of organising rhythm: groove. He provides an historical account of its emergence around the turn of the twentieth century, and analyses the musical components which make it work.
Tracing the influence of key philosophical arguments about the nature of time on musical aesthetics, he draws on materialist interpretations of art and culture to challenge those, like Adorno, who criticise popular music’s metrical regularity. He concludes that groove does not simply reflect the temporality of contemporary society, but, by incorporating abstract time into its very structure, is capable of effecting a critique of it.
Abel teaches politics, history, philosophy and aesthetics on the Humanities programme and is also a practising musician – a pianist, saxophonist and composer – and music educator, specialising in jazz and popular music.