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Music 2II3 – Popular Culture 6.docx

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Simon Wood

Music 2II3 – Popular Culture: Post world war 2 Lecture 6 7/15/2013 3:13:00 PM Elvis Presley –beginning of rock n roll  most famous, made most money  known as the king of rock n roll  important for kicking it off, driving it towards the success it ultimately had for rock n roll  others had more of an influence than him chuck berry  more influential character  often appeared as to opposite  he was the black man who sang like a white man  biggest difference: o elvis had a huge artistic control over his music. Elvis didn’t compose songs, he interpreted other songs o can choose whether he wanted it or not composed o indistinctive  when people asked him how he did it, he had very little to say because he was shy and didn’t have an intellectual sense of what he was doing o just did it naturally  chuck berry always planned it out and the opposite of elvis – knew exactly what he wanted o decided he wanted to be rich –always had to be in that context o if he wanted to be rich, so two roads he can go through:  sports (not the right physique)  entertainment  right from the beginning he was very crafty  family was middle class – dad was a successful contractor in very wealthy white homes  chuck decided he wanted to be a musician  he helped his father when he takes a lunch break – he walks over and looks over the records and consciously looking to see who wealthy white people listen to – particularly the African American artists  knows hes not gonna become wealthy as a RnB musician – needs to sell in pop, in the middle class  begins researching these musicians and finds what they have in common  he finds: white people like words, like lyrics and be able to hear and understand the lyrics – they like stories, if a song tells a story  chuck starts writing his own songs with a lot of words Early history  Born in st Louis o begins to become noticed in local music scene  music competitions – have been around for a long time o competes in a lot of contests o thinks how can he be different? o A lot are doing RnB – like Muddy Waters o chuck does country and western –articulating more, singing through his nose  he constantly wins because he stood out  begins recording career in 1950s o in the beginning people make him sing RnB – he gets mad doesn’t like that  meets with hero with Muddy Waters, tells him he needs to go to Chicago to chess records – so 1955 – recording at chess records with RnB – almost like what Elvis did  make him play RnB songs, hes not happy then … o starts playing around with country and western song – chess brothers are impressed  starts playing ida red  didn’t send it out because he wouldn’t get all the money, half of it would go to the singers of ida red  recreates the lyrics – puts into metaphor of a car chase –trying to chase her down  ida red replaced with the name maybellene  did a session with a young lady, she forgets her stuff on the side of the makeup it says maybellene Chess records  “Maybellene” –listening – July 1955 –why cant you be true …  first significant recording  the song that set him off  copyright – melody and lyrics  the song has a lot of words and tells a story  his songs were “text heavy” narratives – full with words, story songs  chuck described them as story songs  his enunciation – overemphasizes vowels, very hard pronunciation  chuck experiences reverse of what elvis experienced – people were shocked that they didn’t see a white man, saw a black man because of how he was pitching his voice, pronouncing his words  consciously crafts songs that are aimed directly at new demographic that is emerging – in particular middle class white teenagers – its where the money is  themes of chuck berrys songs: o cars – represent freedom, not for everyone if you come from poverty that’s not part of your reality – all part of middle class o girls – are objects, things in rock n roll – things to be admired, to be pursued, things to be displayed  if you’re a girl you play a piano or acoustic guitar and sing because you’re natural  to this day, women are still not taken seriously o no school – indicator of freedom again –sign of a middle class again – post world war prosperity o rock n roll -- celebrating the music itself  example: hail hail rock n roll  when rock n roll is important part of the lyrics  berry deliberately writing for young white middle class audience  particularly 1955 through 1956:  few "cover versions" of berry’s songs done -- why? o First reason, is the guitar is synonymous with guitar playing  Centrality of the electric guitar  problem because cover versions would deemphasize the things that were clearly rnb (electric guitar being one of these things, just like the saxophone)–minimize the traces of black culture you can hear – taking out the guitar is like taking out half of the guts of the song out in chuck berrys songs  For elvis it was not a key element, you cannot imagine chuck berry without a guitar o The way chuck represented himself  Unlike artists such as little Richard, berry had little in his performance or music that was viewed as a “threat”  chuck seemed friendlier, far less threatening - self censoring – as opposed to letting the producers do it best known hit Johnny B. Goode (1958) -- listening  #2 RnB/#8 pop  12 bars with a “text heavy” narrative  listening  johnny -- lived in the evergreens forest – has a log cabin –very good at music, good at the guitar, not good at school – reading and writing  stories, texts --- secret that white audience want in the song mixes the white and the black culture White elements  text heavy – narrative – story songs  clear enunciation – pitches his voice high up in a forward nasal – sharper and harder voice as opposed to singing at the back of his throat  groove is “straight” 8ths o music moves at a particular beat or tempo o tempo is usually divided in 4s o now divide into more o 2 primary ways:  take basic beat structure (1,2,3,4 ..) and divide the duration in half  usually other syllables to indicate It  example: use and – now have 8 articulations  2 8ths notes per pulse  2 ndway you can divide – is keep the same pulse but rather than dividing in twos, you break it up to 3 equal durations – called triplets  because their the level similar to 8 notes it would be 8 note triplets  the way you’re subdividing in between  in the middle of each triplet there is a rest, therefore a gap triplets  majority of white culture songs will use straight 8ths  gap triplets as a general rule – black culture  most of the songs Chuck Berry makes are 8ths – its deliberate  whinny sound on his guitar o country guitar sound Black Elements  blues chord structure o using 12 bars blues as underlying structure o does not use aab lyric cause of
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