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Session 1  Musicology  Introduction

Session 1 Musicology Introduction



Lecture one of my musicology series

Lecture one of my musicology series



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    Session 1  Musicology  Introduction Session 1 Musicology Introduction Presentation Transcript

    • Research Skills – Musicology Lecture Series Dr Paul Carr
    • What is Musicology?
    • History of Musicology
      • First used in Germany to describe the academic study of European Art Music.
      • Originally concerned with the analysis of autonomous, ‘great’ master works from a theoretical or historical perspective.
      • Until the later years of the 20 th Century, musicologists did not really engage with popular music. This was for two reasons:
      • It was considered ‘inferior’, not having the ‘authenticity’ of ‘Art’ music or even ‘Folk’ music.
      • The vernacular/social foundations challenged the notion of an autonomous art form.
      • Over the last 20+ years, popular music based musicology has emerged, and is still developing.
    • Why Musicology
      • Enables us to decipher meaning from music, using theoretical knowledge, aural skills, and analytical principles.
      • Enables us to better understand the appeal of certain music forms.
      • Enables us to better understand how certain music and genres function .
      • Enables us to potentially relate research methodology to our own music
    • Module Aims
      • Introduce students to the study of various forms of popular music, including varying modes of communication such as recordings, performances, music videos, as texts.
      • Develop critical and analytical skills in reference to various theoretical and analytical approaches to the texts
      • Further develop students ’ critical thinking, writing and presentational skills.
    • Overview of Teaching Timetable
      • Friday 22 nd Jan – Friday Feb 12 th (4 Sessions)
      • Feb 19 th – Reading Week
      • Friday Feb 26 th – Friday March 26 th (5 Sessions)
      • Easter Hols (3 Weeks – Monday March 29 th – Friday April 16th)
      • Friday April 23 rd – Friday April 30 th (2 Sessions)
    • Assessment
      • Group Presentation (30%) WB Feb 22 nd (Discuss potential days)
      • Written essay (70%) Friday May 7th
    • Written Essay (70%)
      • Document a 2000 word essay that focuses on a specific aspect of musicology (See assignment brief for details)
    • Group Presentation (30%)
      • In groups organized by the module leader, organize and present a 10 minute presentation on a given subject area (See assignment brief for details)
    • The discrete analytical layers of a record – Song , Arrangement , and Track
      • Song : Includes basic harmony (chords), melody, lyrics, and some degree of formal design.
      • Musical Arrangement : A specific setting of the song. Includes instrumentation, specific parts, groove, etc.
      • Track : The recording itself, includes both song and arrangement.
      • Song and Arrangement can be altered at any point. This is not true for The Track, as it is a fixed set of relationships that is an autographic representation of its makers.
      • Compositional process can be simultaneous (all three parameters occurring at the same time.
      • Or linear – Song – Arrangement – Track
      • Interesting to analyse how songwriters and producers develop their ideas (or your own work!).
    • Song
      • Dictionary definition of musical ingredients for a Song usually includes the following broad categories. The basic analysis tools for some of these factors have already largely been covered:
      Melody Harmony Lyrics Basic Formal Design
    • Song (-Cont)
      • Can be modified and changed (arranged), without altering the songs basic character.
      • Songs can therefore easily be differentiated from particular recorded versions – because they do not involve any precise SOUND.
      • Songs are the most recognisable of the three parameters, and songwriters always get principal credit on a record , even if they have had nothing to do with its construction.
      • Songwriters have historically held a privileged position in Popular Music.
      • It is only recently that musicians (often important factors in forging a musical work) have gained royalties through the PPL (in the UK).
      • Tin Pan Alley – songwriters were usually separated from the artists who performed their songs. The songs therefore had an independent life – not related to their recorded versions.
      • Many Blues artists were forerunners of the modern day singer/songwriter.
      • Post Rock & Roll – songs became linked to specific recordings (Tracks) to a unprecedented degree.
    • Example
      • Listen: ‘Tutti Fruiti’ – Little Richard and then Pat Boone.
      • What factors differentiate these recordings from each other?
    • The Arrangement
      • More detailed than the song.
      • Includes aspects such as – instrumentation, style, groove, texture, timbre, dynamics, tempo, structural form etc.
      • In the context of modern record making, electronic processing can be part of ‘arranging’ technique, thus overlapping with The Track .
      • For example instrument effects, outboard signal processing such as compression, mixing desk protocols such as stereo mix and pan, etc.
      • Bands can sometimes aim to obtain a ‘live’ sound, or alternatively experiment with arranging techniques that are impossible (or very difficult) to recreate live.
    • Example 1 – ‘Yesterday’ (1966)
      • Listen to Song.
      • Arranged for voice, guitar, and string quartet.
      • Arrangement has a clear identity which was not conceptualised as part of the Song, and could be reproduced live or notated (The string parts were).
      • However the process of recording inadvertently captured both of McCartney's attempts at singing the song.
      • The fact that the strings were overdubbed at a different ‘time’ makes this work different from a recording of a live performance.
      • This soundscape is specific to recorded sound , even though it sounds like it could be played live – the details dictate otherwise .
      • Analysis should therefore take this into account – differentiating between the Song and Arrangement .
    • Example 2 – ‘Lonesome Cowboy Nando’ – Frank Zappa
      • Remediation – Bolter and Grusin (1999) have argued that our culture is driven by a desire for realism . New media forms are therefore introduced, but ironically often foreground the media implementing them. For example in music – Over dubbing, Quadraphonic, music performed with visual backdrops, processing effects, etc.
      • Immediacy – Where the observer is not aware or takes for granted the medium of representation. In music, producers often attempt to make the means of production ‘invisible’ so we feel closer to the music/artist. This is often perceived as more ‘authentic’ (Not in all music).
      • Hypermediacy – Acknowledges multiple modes of representation and makes them visible. As the name suggests, the form of media can take priority over the art.
      • One the one hand each new medium is expected to be more transparent (immediate), but on the other the medium can only do this by highlighting its technicalities (hypermediacy)
      • When we hear the record, we experience both Song and Arrangement through the Track.
      • Very important to realise that Song and Arrangement retain ontological independence (we can analyse both).
      • They potentially have specific modes of representation (lead sheet, performance, etc) outside of the Record.
      • These modes of representation can change over time – IE one may decide to alter the chords of the song, or the instrumentation of the arrangement
      • This is not the case for the Track – this is a fixed set of relationships, a mix of action and intent – AUTOGRAPHIC!
      • It is interesting to consider how these three parameters can potentially interrelate in the compositional process, and more importantly how the Song and Arrangement are influenced by the Autographic process.
      • When song writing and recording originally came together they were sequential processes – often due to financial implications (Studios were expensive)
      • With the advent of the home studio, the process has become more symbiotic and interchangeable.
      • For this reason, it is essential to consider the whole Record ( Song , Arrangement , and Track ) as the focus of musicological analysis.
    • The Track
      • The recording itself.
      • It therefore includes the other two parameters.
    • Analytical Techniques
      • To get started, you need to consider where the analytical priority of the music to be analysed is. For example:
      • Melody (Song)
      • Harmony (Song – although could be Arrangement)
      • Lyrics (Song)
      • Form (Song/Arrangement)
      • Texture (Arrangement)
      • Tempo (Song/Arrangement)
      • Metre (Song/Arrangement)
      • Timbre (Arrangement)
      • Dynamics (Song/Arrangement)
      • Mix (Arrangement)
      • Consider two questions
      • How important to the analysis are each of these factors? – Place them in order of priority and consider some reasons for your answers.
      • How could you use these as a starting point for analysis ?
    • Listening Examples
      • Small Group Task: Listen to the following pieces. In small groups prioritise the importance of the above techniques by numbering them. Provide reasons for your choice to feed back to the group.
      • ‘ Car Wash’ by Rose Royce
      • ‘ The Times They Are A Changin’’ by Bob Dylan
      • ‘ Sir Duke’ by Stevie Wonder
    • Analysis Chart Element Number Reason Melody Harmony Lyrics Form Texture Tempo Metre Timbre Dynamics Mix
    • ‘ Homework’
      • It is essential that you all begin to develop an academic voice in preparation for your 3 rd year studies (as well as this assignment!). Although I will usually recommend texts week by week, can I suggest the following texts and activities as a starting point
    • Musicology Wiki
      • To get your participation going, I would like you all to consider the following:
      •   Choose a piece of music - then consider:
      •   How do you think the piece was documented - Song - Arrangement - Track - or simultaneously?
      • What impact do you think the musicians have had on the arrangement?
      • What issues do you think the band would have if playing the music live?
      • What are the analytical differences between 'Song' and 'Arrangement'?
      • Comments regarding 'Immediacy' and Hypermediacy'??
      • Share Spotify links if possible.
      • Access Wiki through Blackboard
    • Interesting NetLibrary Texts
      • Moore, Allan F., Analyzing popular music (Cambridge University Press, 2003).  
      • Wald, Elijah, How the Beatles Destroyed Rock N Roll (Oxford University Press US, 2009).  
      • Frith, Simon, and Andrew Goodwin, On record (Routledge, 1990).  
      • Shuker, Roy, Popular music (Routledge, 2005).  
      • Hesmondhalgh, David, and Keith Negus, Popular music studies (Arnold, 2002).  
      • Middleton, Richard, Voicing the popular (CRC Press, 2006).  
      • Stephenson, Ken, What to listen for in rock (Yale University Press, 2002).  
    • Google Books
      • Many important texts are available in preview format on Google Books. Read the example below as an example of how it can be used.
      • Zak, Albin, The poetics of rock (University of California Press, 2001).pp 1 – 17. Good overview of of impact of technology on popular music
    • ATRiuM Library