This article presents an analytical framework for the study of Latin American music autobiographies. I take Colombian composer Guillermo Uribe Holguín’s 1941 autobiography Vida de un músico colombiano as a paradigmatic case in order to argue that Latin American music autobiographies are not secondary sources that lack historical or literary value—a common historiographical assumption—but rather agonistic and intermedial objects that intervene in local and translocal networks. In addition to introducing recent literature on music autobiographies, the article expands on post-foundationalist political thought to make a case for a renewed examination of Latin American music autobiographies and their relevance to the study of music, sound, and the political. In my reading of the Vida, I consider Uribe Holguín’s literary inscription of cosmopolitan musickings, anxieties, and agentic claims and evaluate their potential to at once reify and/or disarticulate a nationalist-populist poetics, the conflation of partisan struggle with national identity, and narratives of European and Euro-American exceptionalism in global music histories. The article also discusses how other political actors continue to use the Vida to sound and perform a politics of belonging in contraposition to Uribe Holguín’s non-national, cosmopolitan autobiographical self. The last section exposes Michael Herzfeld’s notion of cultural intimacy to Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s category of antagonism to account for the Vida’s reception beyond national borders and analyze the performances of cosmopolitan subjectivity it enabled among actors at the margins of a global modernity who saw themselves as precarized by the geopolitics of Western art music.

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