Live Music Exchange Resources

Live music and urban landscape: mapping the beat in Liverpool – Sara Cohen (2012)


Author(s): Sara Cohen
Publisher:  Social Semiotics, Volume 22, Number 5, 1 November 2012 , pp. 587-603(17)
Date: November 2012

This paper explores the nature and significance of live music as urban culture by focusing on a pilot project that involved creating digital, interactive maps featuring sites of music-making in Liverpool. The first of the paper’s three main sections introduces the pilot project and the wider project that informed it. The second and longest section highlights three particular challenges encountered during the mapping process, and explains how addressing those challenges drew attention to the scope and distribution of live music in urban environments, and its embedding in urban space and time, and in urban experience. The final part of the paper reflects on the mapping process and argues that live music contributes in distinctive and dynamic ways to the commemoration and characterisation of cities, and that metaphors of landscape and circulation can be usefully combined to help conceptualise live music as urban culture.

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