About the project – University of Copenhagen

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Maybe the first portable radio, made by inventor Edwin Armstrong in 1923 (Wikimedia commons)




About the project

The fact that music has taken up at least 50 % of radio airtime throughout the previous century has remained unnoticed by most scholars. This project intends to rectify this by carrying out a series of quantitative and qualitative content analyses using a broad range of methodologies related to cultural theory in connection with empirical materials from the entire period from newly opened archives. Such a series of interconnected studies focusing on music radio will deliver a substantial contribution to the understanding of the workings of one of the most important mass media in the previous century and to how music has interacted in this.

The project’s overall research question is: In what ways have the fields of music and radio interacted since the launch of a Danish state radio in the 1920s? The question concerns the changing relations between local music culture(s) and radio(s) in a historical perspective. Music-cultural conventions like performance formats, repertoires, genre rules, aesthetics, and presentations have been incorporated into radio practices. At the same time, DR has influenced Danish musical life to a still greater degree throughout the period. Within a historiographic framework defined by the given disciplines’ uses of ‘New History’ two broad-range concepts will structure the theoretical field: genre cultures and mediatisation. These will be informed by discussions of different ontologies of music and by the fact that questions of radio, genre, and mediatisation are related to local, national, and transnational circumstances simultaneously.