Rockmusik in der Diskothek. Empirisch informierte Musikanalyse als Zugang zu Musik-Erleben und musikalischer Gestaltung


  • Holger Schwetter


This article aims to show to what extent empirical research can contribute to popular music analysis and how it can profit from music analysis in return. The combination of methods allows a more specific reconstruction of past music experiences, according to my thesis. Therefore, the social embedding of aesthetic experience as well as the significance of specific musical design features in music reception become apparent. The hints thus gained on relevant means of musical design provide empirically founded insights into the formative principles of the respective aesthetic gestalt in a specific musical culture. Following a theoretical framing, this approach is demonstrated in the case study of a specific listening setting: the rock discotheque of the 1970s in West Germany.
This paper showcases results from the research project Time has come today, which aimed to gain insights into the relationship between popular music and social change in the 1970s. The article is primarily concerned with the consequences and potentials for the development of empirical approaches to music analysis, which were developed as part of the research project. Those approaches can help to identify the dimensions of design that are particularly important for a specific musical artifact in a specific listening setting such as the rock discotheque. Furthermore, they help to avoid fundamental problems of music analysis such as the selection of pieces.