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MUSIC 140 Lecture Notes [Full Course] File contains concise, accurate summary of lecture notes taken during the course. Arranged chronologically by date for ease of use. Contains notes from the entire semester.

Course Code
Simon Wood
Study Guide

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May 20, 2010
- Adoption of European Hymns
- Interpretation of Bible
- Spirituals pre-civil war / Gospel post civil war
“Lined Hymn”
- Call and response
- Use of body, clapping and stomping
- Ecstatic outcry of participants during song
- Distortion of vocal timbre
Post Slavery: (1865 - )
- Sharecropping and Jim Crow
o After slavery was abolished sharecropping was when former slave owners told former
slaves that they would give them a small portion of the crop and they would have to
work that share on their own. At the end of the year the owner would take those crops
and sell them and share the profits with the former slave 50/50. In the beginning
however the slaves had no property so they needed the former slave owner to set them
up in the first place with food, a place to stay, equipment, etc. This would lead to
indentured servitude as the former slave never made enough with his crop to equalize
what the former slave owner spent on setting them up.
o Jim Crow laws in southern states said that in your own establishment you could choose
who you wanted to serve and who you didn’t, and that you could make this decision
based on skin color. Led to segregation of blacks and whites. Laws passed due to
bitterness about the south losing the war. Systemic racism.
o In this post-war environment we begin to see the emergence of Jazz, Ragtime and Blues
- New forms of music appear during late 1800s: 1/ Ragtime 2/ Jazz 3/ Blues
- The reason there is a lag between the time of the end of slavery and the emergence of new
culture (30 years or so) is because it is around that time that the children of slaves begin

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showing up. These children do not have the same mindset as their parents because they didn’t
spend most of their lives as slaves.
Country (Rural) Blues
- Wandering musician
- Male vocalist, with Acoustic guitar
- Blues are a musical form and musical aesthetic
o No difference between Country and Rural Blues. Blues musicians were overwhelmingly
male due to the inherent danger of the lifestyle.
Aesthetic Characteristics:
- Plaintive vocal sound lament
- Themes include: Travel, Economics and Love
o Economics was not an issue if you were a slave, now it becomes a problem.
Musical Form Characteristics:
- 12 measure phrases
- a-a-b lyric pattern
- Call and response between guitar and voice
- Associative coherence
o Making sense out of things by putting them together.
- Floating pool of verse
- The chromatic scale of the West has no cosmic significant, social construct, scales differ in places
like India and Indonesia
- Warning: Half the blues that we listen to will vary from the above model in some way
- The self-conscious view of music is based on the idea of a musical object, you are trying to
reproduce a piece of music with your instrument, in your mind there exists a perfect rendition of

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that music and in your mind you are trying to capture that perfect performance.
- The non-self-conscious approach is more interested in the idea of process. “Is what happens
during the performance meeting the musical needs of the moment? are the collection of
people in the venue with you happy with that piece of music, if so then the performance is a
Travelin’ Blues: Blind Willie McTell, 1927
- Travel and Economics
- Uneven bar counts Why? Solo musician, nobody has to follow him
- Lack of self-consciousness
o Self-consciousness being somebody who is thinking clearly about what it is they are
doing and evaluating in real time what it is that they do on the basis of right or wrong
- Accent and nasal sound of voice
- “Folk” music
Robert Johnson: (1911 1938)
- Defined standards for blues guitar
- November, 1936 / June 1937 (Only two recording sessions)
- Referred to as a “guitar hero”
- Remarkable story that goes along with him, he hung around Blues players as a young man and
wanted to play so badly that he would try to go on stage with his guitar and would get thrown
out because he was so bad. For 12 18 months following this he vanished and nobody could
find him, only clues, suddenly he reappears and is all of a sudden the best Country Blues guitar
player in the world. Led to stories that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil, the deal being
that for a few years he would be the best Country Blues guitar player for a couple years and
then die young, which he did. Poisoned by perhaps one of his many girlfriends or one of the
husbands of his many girlfriends.
Sweet Home Chicago: Robert Johnson, November 1936
- Even bar counts
- Introduction and conclusion
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