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Anonymous Creativity: Library Music and Screen Cultures in the 1960s and 1970s

Posted: August 4th, 2022 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

We invite chapter proposals for an edited collection focusing on library music in the 1960s and 1970s and its contemporary afterlife.

Library music – sometimes referred to as stock or production music – is music created specifically for synchronisation in radio, film, television, and other media. Unlike traditional scoring, library music is not created for integration into a specific media artefact but is designed to capture more general themes or moods. Despite being used in a variety of media as far back as the 1920s, library music has yet to gain extensive academic attention. This collection aims to historicise and theorise aspects of library music production during what is often referred to as its ‘golden age’ – the period from the 1960s to the early 1980s – which witnessed a huge rise in library music production (linked to the emergence of television production and an increase in independent filmmaking). Library music composers were key contributors to the sonic identity of audiovisual media of the period, providing thousands of signature tunes, themes, and incidental music for film and television programmes. Despite their ubiquity and enduring cultural resonance, their contributions are often unacknowledged, and very little is known about the conditions in which library music was written, commissioned, recorded, circulated, and used. There has been some important academic work on library music (e.g. Nardi 2012; Wissner 2017; Durand 2020), but there is still much to be discovered within this relatively overlooked mode.

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