Music in a capitalist culture

Midterm paper for Learning of Culture with Lisa Stulberg

Max Weber locates the roots of capitalism in vestigial puritanical Protestantism. Émile Durkheim, in turn, gives a theory of how that Protestantism arose in the first place. In this paper, I ask two questions. First: can Weber’s and Durkheim’s theories of religion be extended to explain culture generally? Second, and more specifically: can their theories explain music?

Music is a valuable lens for examining cultures, because while every world culture includes it, the particular form and function varies considerably from one culture to another. Contemporary America contains a variety of musical subcultures and countercultures that overlap and conflict with one another. We might follow Weber’s example and say that America’s culture has capitalism as its single defining feature. And we might say that America’s commercial pop mainstream defines our musical culture. But those two generalizations conceal roiling masses of unresolved conflict.

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Gimme Shelter

I’ve always been more of a Beatles guy than a Stones guy, but respect where respect is due, “Gimme Shelter” is a classic.

It’s on my mind because Dangerous Minds posted the isolated tracks, and they’re a lot of fun. It’s fascinating to hear the separated vocals, guitars, bass and drums. The Youtube videos containing the tracks were swiftly taken down by the Stones’ lawyers, of course, but as of this writing you can still download the stems in multitrack Ogg format. You can open and edit the Oggs in Audacity, and export pieces in other formats.

Whenever a guy like me hears “isolated tracks” I know it’s remix time. So here are some samples from “Gimme Shelter” along with various other sounds, enjoy.

Rock With Shelter

[audio:http://ethanhein.com/music/Ethan_Hein_Rock_With_Shelter.mp3]

Me vs the Rolling Stones vs Michael Jackson

mp3 download, ipod format download

Shelter Guitar

[audio:http://ethanhein.com/music/Ethan_Hein_Shelter_Guitar.mp3]

Me vs the Rolling Stones vs Michael Jackson vs Glen Velez vs Britney Spears vs Charles Mingus

mp3 download, ipod format download

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