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Article . 2022
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Frontiers in Psychology
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The critic's voice: On the role and function of criticism of classical music recordings

Authors: Elena, Alessandri; Antonio, Baldassarre; Victoria Jane, Williamson;

The critic's voice: On the role and function of criticism of classical music recordings

Abstract

In the Western classical tradition music criticism represents one of the most complex and influential forms of performance assessment and evaluation. However, in the age of peer opinion sharing and quick communication channels it is not clear what place music critics' judgments still hold in the classical music market. This article presents expert music critics' view on their role, function, and influence. It is based on semi-structured interviews with 14 native English- and German-speaking critics who had an average of 32 years professional activity in classical music review. We present the first visual model to summarize music critics' descriptions of their role and responsibilities, writing processes, and their influences (on the market and on artists). The model distinguishes six roles (hats): consumer adviser, teacher, judge, writer, stakeholder, and artist advocate. It identifies core principles governing critical writing for music as well as challenges that arise from balancing the above six responsibilities whilst remaining true to an implicit code of conduct. Finally, it highlights the factors that inform critics' writing in terms of the topics they discuss and the discursive tools they employ. We show that music critics self-identify as highly skilled mediators between artists, producers and consumers, and justify their roles as judge and teacher based on a wealth of experience as against the influx of pervasive amateur reviews. Our research approach also offers occupation-based insights into professional music review standards, including the challenges of maintaining objectivity and resisting commercial pressures. This article offers a new viewpoint on music critics' judgments and recommendations that helps to explain their expectations and reflections.

+ ID der Publikation: hslu_93197 + Art des Beitrages: Wissenschaftliche Medien + Jahrgang: 13 + Sprache: Englisch + Letzte Aktualisierung: 2023-01-17 11:50:01

Country
Switzerland
Keywords

performance value, recorded classical music, music recording, Psychology, music review, music critics, classical music, music criticism, expert judgment, BF1-990

85 references, page 1 of 9

Alessandri, E., Williamson, V. J., Eiholzer, H., and Williamon, A. (2015).

Beethoven recordings reviewed: a systematic method for mapping the content of music performance criticism. Front. Psychol. 6, 1-14. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.

00057 Alessandri, E., Williamson, V. J., Eiholzer, H., and Williamon, A. (2016a). A critical ear: analysis of value judgements in reviews of Beethoven's piano sonata recordings. Front. Psychol. 7, 1-17. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00391 Alessandri, E., Williamson, V. J., Eiholzer, H., and Williamon, A. (2016b).

“Evaluating recorded performance: An analysis of critics' judgements of Beethoven piano sonata recordings,” in Proceedings of the 14th International Conference for Music Perception and Cognition. ed. G. Vokalek (San Francisco, USA: ICMPC14), 19-24.

Arditi, D. (2018). Digital subscriptions: the unending consumption of music in the digital era. Pop. Music Soc. 41, 302-318. doi: 10.1080/03007766.2016.1264101 Aschenbrenner, K. (1981). “Music criticism: practice and malpractice,” in On criticizing music. Five philosophical perspectives. ed. K. Price (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press).

Baía Reis, A. (2018). Is Portuguese theatre criticism still relevant? Sinais de Cena II:3 Baldassarre, A. (2009). “'Critiche stupide, ed elogi più stupidi ancora. spropositi e sciocchezze sempre': Konstanten und Besonderheiten in der europäischen VerdiRezeption des 19. Jahrhunderts,” in Wie europäisch ist die Oper? Das Musiktheater als Zugang zu einer kulturellen Topographie Europas. eds. P. eThr and P. Stachel (Munich: Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag), 127-153.

Baldassarre, A., Alessandri, E, and Williamson, V. J. (2022). Forthcoming.

Baldassarre, A., and Alessandri, E. (2022). “Musikkritik in Zeiten der Digitalisierung,” in Musikjournalismus: Radio - Fernsehen - Print - Online. ed. P.

Overbeck (Wiesbaden: Springer Verlag), 35-41.

Barzun, J. (2001). From Dawn to decadence, 1500 to the present: 500 years of Western cultural life. Harper Collins.

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citations
This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
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popularity
This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
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influence
This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
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impulse
This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
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