MUS111H1 Lecture Notes - Signify, Otis Redding, You Really Got Me

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9 Nov 2012
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012
I. Key Issues:
Publicity and intimacy with popular music (love songs), personal feelings are always presented
as opposed to regular, everyday life, where it can be harder and/or less „important‟ to do so
You identify with the songs as they use pronouns
Media, mediation
Revolution of sense consciousness; discreteness of the senses, music as sound only
Mediation and authenticity; „place‟: „North American Popular Music‟
II. Social Poetics and Tools for Close Listening
How music reflects, critiques, references social life, how it imagines alternatives
“Social Poetics”
Poetics: „The creative principles informing any literary, social or cultural construction, or the
theoretical study of these; a theory of form‟ (OED)
Social poetics: such creative principles that pertain to (reflect, reference, etc.) social life
How an expressive form is organized
Example:
Billy Chambers, “Fallout Shelter” (1962)
o Signifying terror or paranoia of the Cold War, or any other kind of threat
o Certain times when a social condition is very new (Cuban Missile Crisis 1961) keep
paranoia in check as we go through the 50s-70s, by the time we get to the 80s, we
have songs where the nuclear terror has made everything impossible…wormed its way
more deeply into the quality of cultural life
Pere Ubu: “Nonalignment Pact” (1978)
o „Nonalignment Pact‟ = the pact of countries that didn‟t want to ally with the Soviet
Union or the United States and Nato
o Becomes an expression for a love relationship not that you have the autonomy to say
“I‟m going to stay outside and die with you”, but the tragedy of an individual that‟s still
an individual; the conditions of your love relationship (need signatures); Cold War has
become a condition for your love
o These songs show how a New social condition such as a nuclear threat becomes a
regular part of normal, everyday life
Tools for Discussing the Social Poetics of Music
Parameters of Musical Organization
Instrumentation (physical musical instruments and voices)
Pitch (melody, song-speech relations, etc.)
Timbre (tone colour not shown on a regular music staff)
Rhythm (the time element in music; most popular music breaks down into groups of beats =
metre)
Texture (horizontal melodies within parts) melodic texture: relationship between parts
happening simultaneously
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Document Summary

Publicity and intimacy with popular music (love songs), personal feelings are always presented as opposed to regular, everyday life, where it can be harder and/or less important to do so. You identify with the songs as they use pronouns. Revolution of sense consciousness; discreteness of the senses, music as sound only. Mediation and authenticity; place : north american popular music . How music reflects, critiques, references social life, how it imagines alternatives. Poetics: the creative principles informing any literary, social or cultural construction, or the theoretical study of these; a theory of form (oed) Social poetics: such creative principles that pertain to (reflect, reference, etc. ) social life. Pere ubu: nonalignment pact (1978: nonalignment pact = the pact of countries that didn t want to ally with the soviet. Union or the united states and nato: becomes an expression for a love relationship not that you have the autonomy to say. Tools for discussing the social poetics of music.

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