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Music 140 - Sept 3 & 10 - Popular Music & Folk respectively

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Simon Wood

September 3 & 10, 2013 Music 140 Lecture1: What is popular music? • after WW2; usually in USA • mixes rhythm n blues (african american)/country western (rural white)/tin pan alley (urban white NYC) • all mix together over centuries and come together during 40s & 50s • emerges into rock n roll > started everything we have today! • mix of economics and race • depends on development middle class • popular music rooted in the idea of business - made for consumption • middle class holds up the music artists - disposable income • depends on large urban populations • can’t get big in a small place • more people = more selling = more money for industry • depends on copyright laws • buying CD/record/etc = buying the ideas/creativity/effort/etc • copyright law = making money from ideas (makes above point possible) • depends on technology of mass production and broadcasting • linked to mass distribution - into as many ears as possibly ASAP • can’t make a living only performing to few - need to get your sound out there How do these ^ things fall into place? • Sam Phillips & Marian & Sun Records (more in later lecture) • young people getting interested in black music • white man that sings like a black man - Elvis in ’54 Black Culture in N.A. • North American slave trade - 1619 - 1863 • 1619 marks 1st year african slaves were sold into north america • began creating culture • England, Spain, France, Portugal > colonial powers of the time & slaves were distributed throughout • differences in North and South America based on religion (some given “free” time to do whatever including keeping their culture/tradition alive; N.A. was opposite b/c they wanted to “save souls” of africans and suppressed the culture much more) • music tended to be mostly acapella (voice) [music omnipresent for africans vs pockets of yes and no times for music in european culture] • work song: “Old Alabama” 1947 (African prisoners singing while at work) • same elements and ideas of what could be heard in slave times • valuable - entertainment, lift spirits, coordination of work, set pace, regulation, saving lives (sing slow for sick people etc) • song leader - 1st voice, makes up the song, “floating pool of verse” (little bits of verse inside the head to build into songs every day), changing it up Song Chart of Work Song: Old Alabama **** 4 3 3 4 3 3 4 4 3 4 3 3 3 4 3 3 3 a a b a a b a a b a a a b a a a b • a = line “one”; a again = repeat of line “one”; b = line “two” • a a b in first verse, a a b in second verse can be different - each is self contained • numbers tell how long each gets - bars, measures = beats, pulses • 4 represents 4 bars or 16 beats/3 represents 3 bars or 12 beats African Retentions: • interest in percussive and distorted timbres [tamber] • percussion, unique character of sounds, rough/realness in sound, distortion is a good thing (signals intensity, pushing your voice)[for Euro distortion = a bag thing meaning loss of control, unintentional] • value in the ecstatic and the cathartic • letting it all out, throwing in passion, put it all out there, shows commitment and passion and interest [think of sweat in africa vs euro.] • rhythmic complexity - syncopation [playing and smearing the beat to push limits] • melody (notes heard most important; influenced by Euro), harmony (chords underneath; influenced by Euro), rhythm (melody articulation in time; influence by India/Africa etc) • use of “riffs” • riffs - a small, self contained musical gesture that is repeated as the basis of a larger composition; a fragment played over and over to become a larger part • stays constant over the whole song; motif is changed and stretched (eg Beethoven’s 5th) • use of “call and response” • may be between singers/musicians (eg line followed by music); more important: musicians and audience (song and cheering/applause, singing along, the audience is part of the music) [Euro is one way = sit, silently and absorb it until very end then applause] Lecture2: Folk Music: • performed by amateurs • do not perform for a living/to make money • do it for the love of it • untrained, learn by listening/watching doing • for self/community entertainment • rural/country communities • lack of radios/music technology • good singers because they come from a culture that sings • oral traditions • continuity of tradition • taught by those above you and pass it to those below • more concern with tradition than innovation (lacks self consciousness) • self consciousness - don’t think about “right and wrong” of performance/hitting correct notes, simply performing, no idea of “exceptionality”, no “mistakes”, no “standing out” among the other people, inconsistencies in music • is it good for right now? in the moment music! American Civil War (1861-1865) • fought between north and south to end slavery in the south • north won so slavery was abolished in the south • NE and SE in opposing views on slavery - almost in balance politically • but due to N and S- E territories turning into states - slave or free? • couldn’t come to a decision and the war began • 1863 - Lincoln signs Emancipation Proclamation - all slaves are free by 1865 Post Slavery (1865 - ) • institutionalized racism • lots of discomfort in the country • South (especially rural areas) hate idea of “equality” of races - take law into own hands KKK (murder/terrorism of blacks by whites) • laws established that institutionalized racism - Jim Crow laws • school segregation - black and white schools “separate but ‘equal’” • acceleration of rural-to-urban shift • terrorism from whites causing black people (particularly) to move aw
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