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Session 3 ‘The Elements Of Music’



Session 3 of my musicology series

Session 3 of my musicology series



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    Session 3 ‘The Elements Of Music’ Session 3 ‘The Elements Of Music’ Presentation Transcript

    • Research Skills Musicology Session 3 – The Elements of Music Dr Paul Carr
    • Group Presentations
    • Overview of last week
    • Meaning in Korn
      • Identifies a ‘gap’ in the market – textual analysis of Metal.
      • Starts with an overview of the band and Nu Metal – briefly comparing it to other Metal music.
      • Indentifies problems with categorising music.
      • References academic articles and band interviews.
      • Discusses the interrelationship of the lyrics and the music.
      • Dialogic approach – various techniques, including album covers etc.
      • Psycho analytic
      • Draw up an interesting table which links musical sounds to specific meanings (42)
      • Embodied approach also – Phrygian mode
      • Relates specific intervals and sounds to characterises of a person.
      • For example Bass = sexually abusive Father, and vocals/guitar = child
      • Style Codes = how specific sounds etc are culturally specific. For eg a ‘Wah’ sound can mean various things for Hendrix and Funkalelic.
      • Polysemic Meaning
      • Analysis is context specific
      • Identity – is it personal or linked to factors such as gender, sexual orientation, race, etc?
      • What does the music mean to audiences?
      • How does this change between genres? Eg Prog rock emphasis on complexity, Nu Metal on Textures etc.
      • If we enjoy ‘Hey Daddy’ – do we indentify with the molester?
    • Discussing ‘The Elements Of Music’
    • What are the ‘Elements’?
      • For Example
      • Timbre
      • Texture
      • Harmony
      • Dynamics
      • Melody
      • Rhythm
      • Mix
      • etc
      • We can discuss/describe how these elements function independently within the music either diachronically or synchronically – ‘embodied’ meaning.
      • We can link them to our own and others’ ‘designative’ meaning (as in Korn)
      • We can discuss how they are prioritised to indoctrinate interest and meaning in the music.
      • We can discuss how they impact the Form of the music
      • For Example:
    • Musical Form – General Points
      • The vast majority of popular music has a specific structure.
      • Common terminologies we use in popular music include Introduction, Verse, Chorus, and Middle Section/Bridge.
      • Most popular music consists of 2 or 4 bar phrases, so the sections are often divided into 8 or 16 bars. For Example:
      • “ Ain’t That A Shame”: Fats Domino: Verse 4: Chorus 8
      • “ Ticket To Ride”: The Beatles: Verse and Chorus 8 bars long
      • “ Clocks”: Coldplay: 4 bar sections
      • “ Valerie”: Amy Winehouse: All sections 8 bars long
    • Listen out for music that does not fit with this structure
      • For Example:
      • “ Yesterday” (7 bar Verse)
      • “ Yellow”: Coldplay 6-7-7 bar Verses – 8 bar Chorus
      • Sections usually contrast with one another melodically to sustain interest, but also harmonically, texturally, lyrically, dynamically and rhythmically (or any other ‘element’).
      • Listen to examples below, how do the above factors change?
      Valerie Melodically Harmonically Texturally Lyrically Dynamically Rhythmically War Of My Life Melodically Harmonically Texturally Lyrically Dynamically Rhythmically
    • How Rhythm Can Delineate Form
      • “ Jail House Rock” Elvis Presley (Stop Time)
      • “ Ain’t That A Shame” Fats Domino (Stop Time)
      • “ The Pretender” Foo Fighters
    • How Harmony Can Determine Form
      • Look for changes of harmony between sections. Although most use different harmonies between verse and chorus, others use the same. For example:
      • “ Stand By Me” Ben E King
      • “ CandyLion” Gruff Rhys
    • How Melody Can Determine Form
    • How Instrumentation/Texture Can Determine Form
      • “ Hold The Line”:Toto
      • “ Sloop John B”:The Beach Boys
      • Note how the last example consists of only one section, so variety of texture is vital)
    • Discussing Texture/Timbre Specifically
      • Listen closely for the relationships between instruments in terms of:
      • Frequency (High – Low)
      • Depth/Distance (amount of ambience)
      • Stereo Spectrum (Left – Right). Does it change? Do these changes help evoke the mood of the music?
      • General Volume
      • Is there any double tracking?
      • Use of effects) (compression, delay, chorus, etc)
      • Use of EQ?
      • Is the texture homophonic or Polyphonic?
      • How does the texture relate to the lyrics and the emotion of the piece (Texture can be ‘physical’ and ‘rhetorical’)?
      • How do the individual parts relate to the whole mix?
    • Example of Texture Relating to the Lyrics and/or Title
      • Annie Lennox: ‘Walking On Broken Glass’
      • Feist: ‘The Water’
    • Artist Specific Sounds
      • Specific sounds can immediately inform the listener of who an artist is, and or what a style or tradition is.
      • For example:
      • Pat Metheny
      • Phil Spector
      • Wes Montgomery
      • Try and examine the nature of the individual sound.
      • For example with distortion:
      • What type of distortion is it?
      • How is it manufactured?
      • How does this relate to the style and authenticity of the artist?
      • For example:
      • Rainbow: “Since You Been Gone”
      • Saxon: “Wheels of Steele”
      • Mega death: “Holy Wars”
      • ZZ Top: “Tush”
      • Slipknot: “Before I Forget”.
      • The same type of factors can be discussed for other instruments
    • Note how sounds can allude toward
      • A change of style: Compare “In God’s Country” ( The Joshua Tree ) to “Zoo Station” ( Achtung Baby ) U2
    • A Time or Place
      • “ Dippermouth Blues” King Oliver
      • “ That’s All Right” Elvis Presley
      • “ I’m Into Something Good” Herman's Hermits
      • Specific Live Albums
      • They can can also allude to other styles (what Tagg calls a ‘Genre Synecdoche’)
      • For example: Distortion in Jazz
      • Violin in Rock
      • Harpsichord in Rock (The Beatles)
      • Electric instruments in Jazz or Folk
    • How Metre Can Determine Form
      • “ Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”: Elton John
    • Polyrhythm
      • As well a metre being used diachronically, it can also be used synchronically. Example:
      • “ Kashmir” (Led Zeppelin) Drums in 4/4
      • “ All I Need” (Radiohead) Drums in 4/4 (Not on Spotify)
    • General (Somewhat Obvious) Points About Sections
      • Introduction : content usually used somewhere else in the song. Not always incorporated, but always introduces the song.
      • Verse : Recurrent harmonic pattern, but different text and texture etc. Usually occurs after the introduction, but sometimes chorus can occur before it (Example “I Shot the Sheriff”, “Rock and Roll Music”)
      • Chorus : Usually a recurrent harmonic and lyrical pattern.
      • Refrain : Not a distinct section, but part of a verse or chorus.
      • Can end or start a section. Consists of a repeated subsection, often with same lyrics. For Example:
      • “ I Saw Her Standing There”: The Beatles (After Verse)
      • God Only Knows: The Beach Boys: (note how refrain repeats at end)
      • I “Want To Hold Your Hand”: The Beatles (After Verse)
      • Bridge : Connects two other sections.
      • Normally occurs once, if twice, usually has same text.
      • Sometimes called the ‘Middle 8’.
      • Bridges can be instrumental: “Nights in White Satin”
      • Outro : Content usually derives from elsewhere in the song. Always ends song.
    • Homework
      • Place the following info on the musicology Wiki (this can be done individually or in your groups)
      • Examples of pieces with unusual bar numbers in sections
      • Examples of how rhythm delineates form
      • Examples of verse and chorus with same chords
      • Examples of artist specific sounds
      • Examples of texture/instrumentation delineating form
      • Examples of how metre delineates form.
      • Examples of how sounds allude toward change of style
      • Examples of how sounds indicate a place or time.
      • Examples of textures that outline the lyrics and or Title
      • With all of these questions you need to also ask ‘how’?
      • Briefly discuss how some of the above relate to embodied and designative meaning.
      • Read Meaning In ‘Zappa’s Galoot Update paper’