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MUSCLG 68 Study Guide - Winter 2019, Comprehensive Midterm Notes - The Beatles, Liverpool, West End Theatre


Department
Musicology
Course Code
MUSCLG 68
Professor
Upton
Study Guide
Midterm

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MUSCLG 68

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A definition of Play
Play- free movement within a system of constraints
Constraints:
Rules (of a game)
Physics (for sports)
Laws (of a society)
Genre (for literature or music)
The script (for a play)
Score (for music)
Constraints for Musical Style:
Cultural: how is society using music?
Historical: what else is going on?
Economics: how is music making financed?
Technological: instruments, recordings, etc
Educational: how do people learn about music
Taken as a collection, these constraints structure a play field
Cultural contexts / constraints structure a play field for the creation, performance, and
experience of music
“Mop Tops” (June, 1963)
Mop Tops: referred to their hair looking like mops
Men’s haircuts in the early ‘60s were cut really short
George’s hair is touching his collar
The Beatles Career
Only a recording band for 8 years
1956-1959: The Quarrymen (Teenagers having fun)
John and his friends in a band in high school
John met Paul at an event he played (George was a friend of Paul’s)
1960-1962: Bar band in Hamburg and Liverpool (Hamburg, UK Live performances)
Played covers
1963: Beatlemania
Overnight sensations
By writing and playing their own songs, they got a recording contract
People in bars and stuff only cared about them playing the hits and not
their own songs
1964-1966: International Stars Touring, Recording, Filming (Recording, Touring, and
Films)
Made it big in America
Played lots of concerts in America
Also toured around the world while recording
Filmed movies too
1966-1970: Studio Recording Only
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Got tired of touring
Continued to be a recording band, but just chose to tour
They could do all sorts of things in the studio without having to think about how
the song would play live on a stage
When the external constraints change, play changes, causing style to change
Cascade of Musical Play
Composer: plays with the elements of music
Composer play results in a musical work
Performer: plays with what the composer did (constraints of the composer), plus style
Performance play results in a performance
Listener: plays with what the composer and performer did (constraints of the composer
and listener), plus all sorts of associations
Listener play results in an experience
The Beatles had all three roles
Started out as listeners, then became performers, and then end up composing
their own music
Music as Play
Composers and performers play within their own constraints to create music that
provides an experience for the listener
Listening to music involves a kind of mental play, formed by the tension between:
Your memories of what you have already heard
Your expectations about what you will hear in the future
Your experience of what you hear from moment to moment
Musical Meaning
Things don’t contain meaning, but rather our experiences of things create meaning in
our minds
Musical meaning is shaped for a listener by many kinds of constraints
Listeners who share constraints in common are likely to derive similar meanings from a
musical work
Interpretive communities
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The Beatles Discography
Recorded with Parlophone at first
Founded their own record label called Apple
In the UK, 1962-1970:
12 studio albums, 13 EPs, and 22 singles
217 songs (including 4 songs in two different versions and 2 songs in German,
about 10 hours of music
In the US, 1963-1970:
13 albums on Capitol, 5 albums on Apple = 18 total (also, 4 albums on Vee-Jay)
Mono/Stereo
“Mono” = Monaural (“one ear”) or monophonic sound reproduction: single channel of
sound, coming from one source
If there is more than one speaker, the same signal is fed to them all
Stereo = stereophonic sound: two or more independent audio channels
Coined in 1927, stereo is Greek for “firm, solid”
The Beatles, “Little Child”, With the Beatles (1963)
Stereo version: can really hear the separation between the voices on one side
and the instruments on the other side
Mono version: the interactions between the sounds is balanced
2009 Stereo remaster: UK albums
Instead of the 1960’s stereo version, the UK albums were remastered into 2009 stereo
versions
2009 Mono remaster: UK albums
Remastered the mono versions of the albums
Only has 10 albums because starting from the 11th album, they began remastering in
stereo
2014: remastered Capitol albums, both stereo and mono
UK albums typically have more songs per album than the American albums
Elements of Music: Composers
1. Meter and rhythm: organization of sound in time
Beat: regular, steady pulse
Meter: beats organized into groups
Most common: 4, then 3
A grid
Rhythm: patterns of long and short sounds
2. Melody
Pitch: a specific sound frequency
Melody: a particular pattern of pitches
3. Harmony
Harmony: different pitches sounding at the same time
4. Instrumentation (including voices)
What instruments or voices used
5. Texture
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