The most succinct summary of the first part of this book would be, "Music has been used in many ways by all sorts of people and organizations in different places to many ends; and through all this flow themes of place and identity on different scales." Actually, it could probably be even more succinct, "Look at all the music in the world, la la la la!" And yes, I'm feeling snide. While I found interesting tidbits in this book, and while I think it has opened my musical horizons with the case studies, the material on the whole I found uncompelling and largely descriptive. Since most of us engage in some musical culture, I think many of us are aware on some level of the cultural milieu that we are participating in. How did we choose to be part of one musical culture or another? This choice is something that most humans don't get wrong. (Am I wrong about that?) The discussions offered here are adventures in the wide diversity of musical activity across the globe, but the diversity is more often overwhelming than enlightening, repeating pictures that we ourselves experience, instead of providing a strong framework for analysis or further understanding. That said, I will try to outline the first part of the book around issues and stories that appear repeatedly more than on their resolution or discussion.
Fluidity and fixity, whether real, imagined, or constructed, seem to play a big role in music, but the way we group musics popularly doesn't follow these qualities in a clear way. Folk music is a good example. Folk appears to be remade every generation or so. A new wave of music arrives on the scene, and starts "tainting" what came before, and people branch out to collect or preserve the "untainted" music (and identity) of the past. The preserved, fixed, music became folk, while the living music moved on. I find this weird, since the qualities of the music before preservation, such as change, loss, life, and connection, are not really part of the music once preserved, so it isn't really the same beast at all. And then there are musics, such as rock and roll, that now would qualify as folk (I sang them in elementary school), except that no one had to preserve them. Once a music crosses the fluidity fixity line, should we rename the genre? Anyway, a more stable difference between folk and other music might be the level of commodification, where folk could be defined as music that is indivisible from the politics, religious, communicative practices in a local group (a fluid music), whereas other musical forms are more entwined in entertainment and culture industries, and often recorded for distribution (fixed music). However, our terms for musics tend to stick more to the sounds, the material part of the music, than to the practice of it, and so the ideas of fluidity and fixity have only so much prominence. Fluidity and fixity do not seem to me to be inherently geographical, either, but if one considers the role of globalization of culture and technology, it becomes clearer how they are useful concepts for geographers.
These processes of preserving and innovating, fixity and fluidity, are part of a larger process of constructing credibility or authenticity, which are often bound up in rhetorics of place and identity. The common perspectives of people from one place in apposition to another place have caused audiences to coalesce around genres. Rap is inner city, country is rural, punk is suburbia, metal is deiundistrialization and so forth. Similarly, common identities of ethnicity or nationality also causes people to group in their musical interests. In some ways, how a musician might connect with the audience depends on what scale they're trying to establish a connection with. For example, many Swedish bands have grown to global prominence by not claiming authenticity or Swedishness. However, other genres, such as American country music, depend strongly on images of rural life and values, however idealized. Themes of place seem to resonate globally fairly well, as for example many rural populations around the world listen to and emulate country music, whereas nationality or ethnicity probably doesn't carry well beyond borders, and may not carry well even within them.
Some places come to prominence for their musical scenes or unique sound identities. Musicians often seem very aware of where they are, and channel the vibes of a particular place into their music. Listeners, when they are aware where the musician is from, seem to channel it as well. Sometimes this comes out in lyrics, but often lyrics are vague as to direct places. Music as a whole seems to give off senses of places, but you could say it gives off senses of all kinds of things, places being one type among many, so I'm not sure how this is useful as a guiding concept. Music may convey messages of mobility. Both people and music moves from place to place, cross fertilizing all over the globe. Advancing technology has strongly affected music, whether in how far it moves (across the world), or in where it moves to (the living room). Some music, such as western music, has moved further and more deeply into other places, probably due to capitalism.
The paragraph you just read is terrible. I know. I've been frustrated for days writing this summary! I can't seem to find anything in this book that doesn't add together to anything besides "varying," multiple," or "different." While I think recognizing change and differences are important, if you put it all into a heap, it will stay a heap. We already know that the world is full of diversity! Dig in deeper! The text boxes and the parts of the text incorporated context and more complete discussions of real places and musics were more effective for me, and should have been capitalized on. This book has missed something in that the world that we live in is the geography that organizes music into something comprehensible. If we take the world out, it stops making any overall sense. If you take the world out, you have to put something else in place to keep it from imploding, and these authors have failed to do that.
Please, tell me I'm wrong. Geography and music shouldn't be incompatible!