Synopses & Reviews
"Playing to the Camera" is the first full-length study devoted to the musical performance documentary. Its scope ranges from music education films to punk rock concert films to experimental video art featuring modernist music. Unlike the 'music under' produced for movies by anonymous musicians sequestered in recording studios, on-screen 'live' performances remind us of the relation between music and the bodies that produce it. Leaving aside analysis of the film score to explore the link between moving images and musical movement as physical gesture, this volume asks why performance has so often been derided as a mere skill whereas composition is afforded the status of art, a question that opens onto a broader critique of attitudes regarding mental and physical labor in Western culture.