Music and Dress in West Europe

Else Skjold*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Working paperResearch

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    Abstract

    Music and dress have played a significant role in the civilization process in West Europe. Both being aesthetic fields meant to be performed and put into play by human gesture, they have proved to be efficient tools for cultivating the movements, postures and gestures of the body. The material, cut and shape of the dress has manipulated the body to move in certain ways, as have rhythms and expressions in music. Significant for West Europe has been a duality between spirit and body, causing a division between high culture and popular culture, that has been reflected in the way music and dress has been used as display of ‘civilization’ from the early Middle ages to the Nineteenth century, and the way fashion and pop music subsequently has been perceived as ephemeral, irrational or even immoral. Following the democratization process, music and dress from early to late modernity has formed a unique liaison in youth culture, with the notion of image as a unifying concept. Here dress, gesture and pattern of movement emphasizes the underlying bodily gestures indicated by the sounds and rhythms in various music styles, and in this way encapsulates the identity of the individual participating in the manyfragmented taste groupings in society. In the same sense, dress and music have worked as a gate-opener to society for ethnic European outsiders like gays or working class, or non-Western immigrants, that could define their position in society through expressing themselves in hybrid subcultures.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
    Publisherimagine.. CBS
    Number of pages16
    Publication statusPublished - 2008
    SeriesCreative Encounters Working Paper
    Number20

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