You Say Invisible, I Say Ubiquitous: A (Formally Former) Student’s Response to Philip Tagg’s ‘Caught on the Back Foot: Epistemic Inertia and Visible Music’.


  • Anahid Kassabian Institute of Popular Music and School of Music, University of Liverpool (note: US Branch member)



Philip Tagg, gender and popular music studies, ocularcentrism, attention, ubiquitous music


This essay is a response to Philip Tagg’s paper ‘Caught on the Back Foot’ (2011) in this journal. It uses Tagg’s article as a point of departure to discuss several issues in popular music studies: diversity in the scholarly community and in citations; self-citation; the place of semiotics in popular music studies; and the absence of literature on ubiquitous musics. I argue on the one hand that some of Tagg’s choices in this essay don’t do service to his contribution to the field, and on the other hand that his argument about visible music and oculocentrism misses the crucial issue of attention. Finally, I suggest that the paradigm of ubiquitous musics that I have proposed elsewhere offers a more productive way to approach this crucial body of music.

Author Biography

Anahid Kassabian, Institute of Popular Music and School of Music, University of Liverpool (note: US Branch member)

James and Constance Alsop Chair of Music School of Music


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