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MUSI 1002
Alyssa Woods

Intro to pop music (class #1) -Criticism: JOURNALISTIC (review, magazine article, interview) ACADEMIC WRITING (books, articles from different disciplines) -Popular Music: Mass appeal (popularity), commercialization, status as a commodity -Considerations of Pop music: Setting (Time & location), Social and Cultural Context -Culture (values, traditions, social and political relationships) of people that share (history, language, social standard, religion) -Dominant Culture: center of society (what rich people do) -Subordinate Cultures: lacks access to power and resources (underground) -Euro centrism: viewing the world from white, upper/middle class, hetero, western, male, perspectives -Western Cannon: Cultural knowledge needed to be an “educated” or a “cultured” person TIMBRE Color of a musical sound, (distinguishing instruments from each other) INTENSITY Loudness of musical sound PITCH Frequency of sound waves INSTRUMENTATION Range of timbres or instruments used DYNAMICS change in intensity ( pianissimo, fortissimo) and spacing (legato staccato) RHYTHM Aspect of music as a function of time MELODY VS HARMONY Group of pitches heard in series vs. Group of pitches heard at the same time TEXTURE Way of combining musical elements to give a certain feel to the music FORM Term to refer to particular styles or genres David Allen on pop. music and Theodor Adorno (class #2) -Theodor Adorno (1903-1969) criticized capitalism, Marxist understanding of society, member of Frankfurt school, sociologist, philosopher, and musicologist. Famous colleagues: Horkheimer, Marcus, Habermas -increased popular music in commercials, good for both. -capitalist societies used sell culture. The Culture Industry. commodification of culture led to standardization of culture. Standardization leads to passivity in consumers (have a lack of initiative, more submitted to outside influence rather than their own, go with the flow). This works because people feteshize cultural objects, (like lady gaga) - creates false needs, prevents other methods of thinking (mind control) all subconsciously -music provides a framework for encoding and retrieving text and messages, melody provides information rich context -limited studies claim original lyrics and melody are most effective in advertising -commodification: assigning commercial value to a good or service -standardization: culture industry squeezes out any kind of challenge, originality, authenticity, or intellectual stimulation from the music it produces, “keeps the listener in line by doing the listening for them” -music is standardized by: a number of types that are immediately recognizable, a small number of structures, a small number of components to each song that are interchangeable -pseudo-individualization: provides the hook or uniqueness to the song, finding individual meaning in the song, allows a variation between standardized songs, surface change (meaning to individual), do not alter basic structure -differences in High vs. Low Culture: Serious vs. Popular music (degree of standardization, level of complexity, market context) -Listener to popular music: caught in standardized and routine response system, superficial and false pleasure, individuals are corrupted by immersion (surrounded by the standardized culture environment); they get inside your head man -popular music MUST provoke the listener’s attention, has to come ‘natural’ (memory & attention) -music gains popularity through radio, a song must be unique in one aspect yet traditional in the rest [BRACKET] Technology and the Dawn of Popular Music PAUL WHITEMAN - MARY McBRIDE -1920’s brought new technology (used to be sheet music and performances) now standardization of records and discs allowed which helped develop the popular music category (instead of classic/serious) to the bourgeoisie JAZZ also “crooning” and “vaudeville”. - “On Wax,” Paul Whiteman and Mary Margaret McBride first to reach unprecedented commercial success. The autobiography talks about recording difficulties change in recording technology allowed more and different instruments to be used. Some were not used as to the dissonance they left and the fuzzy sounds they made. Also talks about ongoing changes in foxtrot and dancing patterns, stressing how different cities went off into their own different adaptations and their troubles in making music that would appeal to all. Talks about new dancing footwear that couldn’t maneuver well at slow sticky dancing floors giving birth to a dance called the ‘collegiate’. Miniscule factors like these determined the success of an orchestra. People adapted musical dances to the different rhythm of different songs (he played a fast paced foxtrot, so they couldn’t tango and had to switch to a slow two-step) Industry, Commercialization, and Intro to Politics (class #3) [SHUKER] Music as a Culture Industry - With songs going on the internet, corporations and record companies controlling marketplace has become extremely hard (young people and target purchasers’ unemployment rising losing spending power, and downloading/internet). It tries to control through: Marketing (using genres and stars to promote sound as a commodity), and Copyright. - Music Industry (not only record sales): music publishing, retail, press, hardware (cds and instruments), recording and reproduction technology, studios, live performances, merchandising, royalties and rights. Approximately 100 BILLION DOLLARS ANNUALY dayummm - Entertainment Industry Characteristics: profits from crazy hits (thriller) cover other productions that don’t make it, amount of tracks/expenditures for a single artist is large so more profit, large returns from secondary market (such as film soundtracks), Capital costs are high with prevailing oligopolistic tendencies (oligopolistic = small number of producers control supply of commodity such as Sony merging with CBS records and Columbia pictures to fully control the whole cycle of entertainment development), technology allows easier less expensive manufacturing and distributing, universal appeal of entertainment products. -(political perspective) still a capitalist industry, with few in power seeking maximum profit. Also: New vs. Old Values, censorship, direct interconnections between rock and politics. -Schiller said that increasing inequality in access to information and cultural products is due to commercialization and privatization of broadcasting, libraries, higher education. (applies to music industry). They’re making information that used to be free private and commercial to make money causing it to be less accessible. Calling them “imperial corporations” -Music is now just ‘leisure and entertainment corporations’ looking for profit maximization. Original music ideas and styles standardized. (profit>quality) ¿ ¿ (popular music > serious music)?? so mass manufactured ‘popular’ culture is harming local ‘real’ culture -References Adorno “German intellectuals…criticized culture in general, arguing that under the capitalist system of production culture had become simply another object” - Adorno’s focus on Tin Pan Alley form (32 AABA) and its variations and his ignoring of the rise of rock-n-roll undermined his critique. Still influential (still boss). adorno (first real nigga) COINED “Cultural Industry”. -Why music works as a commodity: creating and producing a product (song or videoclip) is expensive, mass reproducing it and selling these reproductions is not -Horizontal Integration: consuming or controlling other similar sized companies -Vertical Integration: owning all the resources (such as land, and required machines etc…) and distributing it to the other small companies . Concentration control production flow (from birth to death) FISH EXAMPLE FROM BOOK “consuming or controlling other similar size fish is an example of horizontal integration” “vertical integration is when a large fish owns the tank, water, plants, rocks, food supply, and distributes this to other fish” -Today, four major corps own record industry (Warner Music Group usa, Universal Music Group france, Sony-BMG japan and germany, EMI Ltd uk). They took over middle range companies such as virgin and link to smaller independent labels by distributing for them to their wider market. Majors & Independents TWO DIFFERENT OPINIONS ABOUT OLIGOPOLY (IMPORTANT) Free Market Economists Other Analysts -Innovation will occur more frequently since larger firms -Lack of incentive to stray from the proven to profit are better able to finance and pass the costs and benefits works resulting in product homogeneity along to the consumers. (they can get the job done that’s why they’re the giant) -they can control our culture -Individual has freedom to choose and decide where -human mind is affected by everything it is exposed to cultural texts are to be used, meanings, messages, and in (commercials happen to fast, or first time exposure to fact hearing these products/commodities something) Advantageous to diversify to stay fresh Standardization for profit -Greater market concentration the fewer the top selling records and similar music (but not accurate because only based on record sales, not concerned with other production/sales and not considering connections between concentration and independents) -Indie music (comes from independent labels) more raw, authentic, original. more flexible and innovative. Independe
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