(Mr Matthew Ord)

The links between music and its locality have been explored by musicologists and geographers, as well as a multitude of writers, historians artists and polticians throughout history. Music seems to play a major part in defining the character of places, peoples and landscapes; it tells us about ourselves and others and allows us to map the world around us through musical sound. It can hold together a nation, a minority or a diaspora, and certain instruments can powerfully symbolise not just places but the values and historical narratives of belonging that underly group identities.

Recent scholarship has explored the ways in which the changing spatiality of capitalist production, and its social, cultural and political effects - often denoted by the term 'globalisation' - has effected how (and where) music is made and received around the world. The topic of place in music goes much further than studies of the distribution of musical styles, but is a thoroughly interdisciplinary concern, bringing together scholarship from politics, economics, sociology, history and geography as well as ethnomusicology and cultural studies.

The playlist below features some songs that link ideas about place and identity.








The following link will allow you to add a track to this playlist on YouTube:

Popular Music and Place

Please feel free to add a video that you feel says something about where you come from and leave a comment to explain why you've chosen it in the discussion space below.




Essential Reading


Smith, Susan. 'Soundscapes', Area. 1994, pp.232-240, Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.
Leyshon, Andrew, David Matless, David, and George Revill. 'The Place of Music', Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, Vol. 20, No. 4 (1995), pp. 423-433.


Further reading

Cohen, Sara. ‘Identity, Place and the Liverpool Sound’. In Ethnicity, Identity and Music. Edited by Martin Stokes. Oxford, 1997.
Hamm, Charles. ‘Graceland Revisited’. In Putting Popular Music in its Place. Cambridge, 1995.
Krims, Adam. ‘Music, Space and Place’. In The Cultural Study of Music: A Critical Introduction. Edited by Martin Clayton, Trevor Herbert and Richard Middleton. Abingdon, 2012, pp. 140-148.
Krims, Adam. Music and Urban Geography. Abingdon, 2007.
Negus, Keith. Popular Music in Theory: An Introduction. Cambridge, 1996.
Shuker, Roy. Key Concepts in Popular Music. London, 1998.
Webb, Peter. ‘Interrogating the production of sound and place: the Bristol phenomenon, from Lunatic Fringe to worldwide Massive’. In Music, Space and Place. Edited by Sheila Whiteley, Andy Bennett and Stan Hawkins. Aldershot, 2004.