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Out in the cold: Busking Copenhagen’s Nørreport Station and the urban affects of music

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This article is drawn for my experience busking at Nørreport Station, a busy transit hub in the centre of Copenhagen, for one afternoon in the spring of 2016. I use narrative and descriptive writing to express the relationship between myself and the environment as a performative milieu. The article looks at theories of affect, atmospheres, and the influence of sound in the busking pitch. It considers the discourse surrounding busking and how my performance experience contributed to appreciations of its meanings. It has been said that street music performance can create emotions, atmospheres and encounters in unlikely and forbidding urban settings. My experience at Nørreport Station challenged these notions. This article avers that new ways of assessing the success of musical interventions in the city should be considered alongside with appreciating how music can be a subtle and meaningful atmospheric and affective influence on urban space. A link to samples of my guitar playing can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/michael-amundsen-guitar.
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Keywords: Nørreport Station; affect; atmosphere; busking; listening; sounds; twelve string guitar

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Baltic Publishing, Arizona State University, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social-science disciplines, but there has been relatively little dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. Journals in social-science fields that use urban-studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close readings of the representation of cities in individual cultural products. As a platform for interdisciplinary scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies prioritizes the urban phenomenon in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities.
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