Working to Design: The Self-Perpetuating Ideology of Rock or ... ‘The New Bob Dylan’

John Scannell


This premise of this article is that music and the writing process have no inherent kinship, and that the often ill-conceived merger of these activities as the “music writing” process, is generally destined for failure. That is because writing about music subsumes its affective power into a foreign modality; it is captured and rendered into the printed word, made to signify, made to represent something, where that something is generally resolved within the presuppositions of the writers’ often-limited referential framework. At the heart of the matter is that writing about music often does not attempt to capture the affective processes that inspired creation in the first place, and in this respect, the paper argues that it may be more appropriate for the music writer/journalist to respond in kind, or as Deleuze and Guattari might say, that the music writing process should pursue a ‘becoming-music’ itself. For rather than subjecting music to the realm of representation, or subsuming its creative power within the realm of opinion and cliché, the writer should instead be concerned with harnessing and re-channelling those forces of sensation or affect that gave rise to it in the first place, and which might, in turn, inspire a literary creativity that is commensurate to the power of the music at hand.

Full Text:



Adams, S. 2009, 'Music Journalism R.I.P?: An Introduction, ' Online: available: [Accessed 10 December 2010].

Braidotti, R. 2005, 'Writing, ' in The Deleuze Dictionary, (ed.) A. Parr. Edinburgh University Press. Edinburgh, 306307.

Colebrook, C. 2002, Gilles Deleuze. Routledge, London.

Deleuze, G. 1989, Cinema 2: the Time-Image. Athlone Press, London.

Deleuze, G. 1998, Essays Critical and Clinical. Verso, London.

Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F. 1986. Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature, trans. D. Polan. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F 1988, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Athlone Press, London.

Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F 1994, What Is Philosophy? Columbia University Press, New York.

Dimery, R. (ed.) 2005, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. 1st edition. Tristan de Lancey/Universe Publishing, New York., 2009, 'Twitter and the Death of Music JournalismMusic Forum.' Online, available: [Accessed 8 May 2010].

Dylan, B. 2004, Chronicles: Volume One. Simon and Schuster, New York.

Fuglsang, M. & Srensen, B. M. (eds) 2006, Deleuze and the Social. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.

Hallward, P. 2006, Out of This World : Deleuze and the Philosophy of Creation. London, Verso.

Harris, J. 2009, 'Don't Look Back, ' The Guardian Online, 27 June. Online, available: [Accessed 16 June 2010].

Haynes, T. (dir.) 2007, I'm Not There, motion picture, Killer Films.

Parr, A. 2005, The Deleuze Dictionary. Edinburgh University Press. Edinburgh.

Sandow, G. 2007, 'Yes, Classical-Music Criticism is in Decline but the Last Thing the Industry Should Do is Blame the Press, ' Wall Street Journal Online, 16 June. Online, available: [Accessed 9 May 2010].

Vhmki, J. and Virtanen, A. 2006, 'Deleuze, Change, History, ' in Deleuze and the Social, (eds) M. Fugslang & B. M. Srensen. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 207228.



Share this article: