Musical and Social Structures: Marxist Interpretations of Popular Music in the 1960s and early 1970s in Hungary and the UK

Emília Barna, Ádám Ignácz


Popular music studies as a field has been criticised from within for still predominantly favouring sociological approaches, as opposed to offering an analysis of the musical text that incorporates the social. What is missing from such debates, however, is that writings calling for a popular music aesthetic are almost as old as the scholarly study of popular music. Andrew Chester’s “For a Rock Aesthetic”, published in New Left Review in 1970 is an example. Popular music studies, however, also produced works in Eastern Europe at around the same time, building on the results of a new Marxist musicology and sociology of music that drew on both musical and sociological aspects in music analysis. We compare British leftist and Marxist analyses of popular music phenomena of the 1960s and early 1970s with the work of Hungarian scholars such as János Maróthy looking at trends in popular music from a Marxist perspective.


Popular Music Studies; Marxism; Eastern Europe; New Left; Maróthy

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