Journal of Urban Culture Research

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This article focuses on a typical phenomenon in contemporary Prague - art music concerts for - mostly foreign - tourists which are presented here as a crystallized example of music commodification connected with mass tourism. As source material, two ethnographic snapshots are used, the first one describing a walk along the Royal Road with the most intense circulation of tourists, the second capturing an exemplary concert at the Prague castle, the most popular tourist venue. The first snapshot thus reveals methods of advertising (including the function of the locality), the second, the way in which the main subject - music performance - is transformed. Together they create a foreign tourist's imaginary experience in the backstage of historic Prague. This visitor, according to concepts of the anthropology of tourism, strives to step out of his daily routine and looks for ready-made experiences in a sphere far from his usual activities (Rapport - Overing, 2000). He is helped by the mechanisms of advertising to which he is exposed on the Royal Road. Thus, he becomes a consumer of these mechanisms' products, which are adjusted to his needs - according to strategies described by Adorno, the most important of which is standardization. The Prague material calls attention to the rarely described fact that commodification mechanisms need not be applied only to popular music: using the local specificity of historical parts of Prague, they adjust into commodified shape selected pieces of Western art music.



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