The Development of Postmodernism

Modernism’s concept of the idealized autonomous individual, with the beginnings of postmodern critique, was replaced with a constructed subject, determined by “material productive forces” (Marx, 1859, 38). According to Marx, it is the individual’s “social being that determines their unconscious” 1859, 37). In turn, Freud’s introduction of psychoanalysis into the intellectual world told us that our thoughts and actions are based on drives of the unconscious and the determining factor’s of one’s youth and surroundings. Individuals thus came be to be thought of as constructed subjects, determined by the pleasure principle, the death drive, as well as “economic motives” such as the reality principle (Freud, 1920, 78). Lacan continued Freud’s psychoanalytic tradition with his conceptualization of the “mirror stage.” In this theory the “ontological structure of the human” is one that is ruled by a “libidinal dynamism” in which impulses and sublimations work together to determine behavior (Lacan, 1949, 81-82). Furthermore, the subject undergoes a transformation when it assumes an image, when identifies itself. The subject becomes unstable, forced into dynamism by its own desire and “alienating identity,” as well as society’s repression of desire (Lacan, 1949, 83).

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Postmodernism Music Theory

by Jonathan Kramer  
A very interesting aspect of postmodern music theory.

Media Theorist Jonathan Kramer says "the idea that postmodernism is less a surface style or historical period than an attitude. Kramer goes on to say 16 "characteristics of postmodern music, by which I mean music that is understood in a postmodern manner, or that calls forth postmodern listening strategies, or that provides postmodern listening experiences, or that exhibits postmodern compositional practices."

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Jazz as a Postmodern Art Form

by A. Scott Ferguson

Is Jazz a postmodern art form? There are certainly a few points of commonality: in comparison with classical music, it seems to privilege expression over form. Moreover, it does not necessarily view a musical composition as a form of narrative that requires a beginning, middle, and a resolution as sometimes occurs in the three movements of a sonata or a piece of chamber music; instead, a jazz piece allows for a relatively free-form development of expression.

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Postmodern Music

By Unknown Author

Postmodern music is a specific genre that developed during the late 1960s largely as a product of the large-scale social changes at that time. This type of music is characterized by its adherence to the same ideas and points of view found in other areas of postmodernism. The postmodern philosophy and art movement embraces the absence of one defining structure or ideology. Musicians who create in the postmodern style often draw stylistic inspiration from a wide array of contradictory areas. Creators of postmodern poetry tend to disregard formal rules that they believe constricted the creativity of written verse in the past, and this same principle naturally applies to postmodern music as well. 

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