Session 7 zappa final presentation


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  • Mayer discusses “the importance of uncertainty in musical communication” (1994) – refer to John Fisk Hanslick
  • Emerged in mid 1960’s – professional musician since leaving high school in late 50’s Gained experience as a jobbing musician, film composer, studio owner, and songwriter prior to mothers musician heavily influenced by the blues, doo-wop, orchestral arranging, and comedy theatre Almost developing an alter ego compulsion for twentieth-century classical music, especially the work of Edgard Varèse Freak Out in 1966 - Stylistic gestures such as sarcastic anti establishment lyrics, tape splicing, doo-wop influenced vocals, classical orchestration, rhythm and blues influence, and humorous complex material – all apparent. Artist who never compromised
  • For example The Perfect Stranger (1984), Franceseco Zappa, (1992) and Them or Us (1984) all featured Patricia the dog on their covers. This “canine conceptual continuation” can be also be found in musical form on “Dirty Love” (Overnite Sensationn,1973), “Stink foot” (Apostrophe, 1974) and "Cheepnis” (Roxy and Elsewhere, 1974).
  • This was exclusively a studio based technique that enabled him to horizontally fuse disparate recordings from unrelated time and places, consequently enabling him to superimpose “unrelated” guitar solos, usually from live recordings, into his studio projects aligning musical structures from completely incongruous composition The effect of this angular gesture often has a profound effect on the listener, in effect accentuating the disparate locations and spaces the tracks were originally recording in Research has indicated that if performers are sensitive to the gestural codes emanating from their audiences, it has a direct positive effect on their creative output
  • Discuss the issues surrounding these models – The autonomy of the receiver, the cultural codes that have to be in place discussed by +Eco and Jacobson Meaning exists when in relation to a horizon p.9. of expectations Meaning exists for the producer too - not just the listener p.9 Musical meaning has no verbal equivalent. Poetic Process related to analysis of production process, esthesic related to listeners.  p.17 important to note that the poetic process and the esthesic do not always link up.  Regarding semiology - look at Jakobson and Eco too Jakobson has interesting way of thinking about communication model
  • Echard’s description of tradition as “a complex discursive category which correlates bundles of generic and stylistic features with specific social groups, places and histories”
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 Zappa – scientifically recontextualised his life's work. Has been a major influence regarding broadening the stylistic pre-requisites of the Rock genre he has increasingly been accepted as a composer of concert music The Yellow Shark (1993) with the Ensemble Modern, has resulted in numerous concert and radio performances Ensemble Modern Plays Frank Zappa: Greggery Peccary and other persuasions (2004) Not the only artist operating on the boarders of high and low art forms during the late 1960’s – early 1970’s Deep Purple ( Concerto for Group and Orchestra, 1969), ELP ( Pictures at am Exhibition, 1971), Yes , The Moody Blues ( Days of Future Passed , 1967 Zappa – music for entertainment, although some had greater commercial success Few however engaged with the long term consistency, unpretentious complexity, and detached irony/strategic anti essentialism Zappa’s
  • Like Zappa, he clearly regards aspects of his work not as finished products, but as part of an ongoing process which can be developed over many years. without an overarching gesture such as the Big Note , it would be easy to interpret Zappa’s “sampling” practices as at best self-plagiarism, but individuals taking this view are missing the profound conceptual continuity gesture which is so integral to his work
  • Session 7 zappa final presentation

    1. 1. Dr Paul CarrGlamorgan University
    2. 2.  Some Basic Questions For Musicological Research Who Is Frank Zappa? Why Frank Zappa? Zappa and the And: Key Essays in the Contextualisation of his Legacy Why is his music Semiotically Interesting? Basic Ontological Model Primary and Secondary Significations Examples of other artists who have employed similar techniques. Conclusions and Questions
    3. 3. 1. Can music communicate anything beyond notes, sounds and textures? How/Why/Why Not?2. Is this ‘meaning’ universal or personal (‘Good’ or ‘Agreeable’)?3. Is the meaning in the formal aspects of the work?4. What ‘caused’ the music and/or meaning (the author, society, our reception, technology, etc)? What where the intentions/motivations?5. What does the music inform me about the band or composer (psychoanalysis)?6. Does the music relate to the ‘Transcendental’?7. Where exactly is the ontological presence of the music?
    4. 4. 1. Can we/how do we communicate this meaning to others?2. What voice is analysing the music (composer, producer, performer, listener)?3. How does the ‘theory’ we adopt impact our approach, and how aware are we of how we use theory?4. How aware or we of the cultural/historical/sociological ‘gap’ between ourselves and the music we are examining?
    5. 5. 1. (For Me) A unique case study in Inter-Textuality.2. Represents ontological interest from a formalist and ‘extra-musical’ perspective.3. Zappa’s work not only represents a confluence of styles, but a prolonged and considered interchange of musical traditions – Rare in Popular Music!4. Bridges the gap between low and high art.5. Work includes interesting mix of Primary and Secondary meanings.6. Interesting mix of ‘Intentional’ and ‘Extensional’ meaning (musical meaning in recording/ performance process or the score?).7. Interesting perception of time, space and place.8. His music has low ‘convention probability’. “Anything, anytime, for no reason at all” (Frank Zappa)
    6. 6.  Zappa and Horror: Screamin at the Monster Zappa and his Cultural Legacy: Authorship, Influences and Expressive Frontiers in Frank Zappa’s Movies  Zappa and the Razor: Editing, Sampling and Musique Concrète Zappa and Religion: Music is the Best Zappa and Satire: From Conceptual Absurdism to the Perversity of Politics Zappa and Resistance: The Pleasure Principle Zappa and the Recording Studio: His incorporation of time, space and place in performing, composing, arranging his music Zappa and the Freaks: Recording Wild Man Fischer Zappa and Modernism: An extended study of “Brown Shoes Don’t Make It” Zappa and the Avant-Garde: Towards a Way-Out of 20th Century Art
    7. 7.  Object/Project Conceptual Continuity Musical Quotation Xenochrony Archetypal American Musical Icons
    8. 8.  His perceived difference between the completed work of art in a recording and the ongoing process of redefining it Many Zappa compositions are recomposed and defined over many years. Joseph Grigley: Differentiates between ‘Texts’ and ‘Works’: a text is ‘constantly undergoing continuous and discontinuous transience as it ages’ (Textuality: Art ,Theory, and Textual Criticism (Michigan, 1995), p. 1. They evolve into ‘Works’!
    9. 9.  ‘How Could I be Such a Fool’ (Freak Out (66), Crusing with Ruben and the Jets (67) The Black Page (Lather (78), (YCDTOSA vol 4 (91), Make a Jazz Noise Here (91))
    10. 10.  Meridian Arts Ensemble Le Concert Impromtu Ensemble Amrosius
    11. 11.  Musical and non musical conceptual gestures were embedded into his entire creative output. For example: ‘Canine Conceptual Continuity’ was included in his music and compositions - such as: “Dirty Love” (1974) “Stinkfoot” (1974) “The Poodle Lecture” (1974) “Cheepnis” (1974) Also extended to album covers such as -
    12. 12.  Louie Louie’, The Rite Of Spring, ‘ Duke Of Earl’, ‘Baby Love’ The Planets Suite, ‘God Bless America’, Petrushka, ‘ White Christmas’ The Soldiers Tale
    13. 13.  ‘Plastic People’ (Absolutely Free, 1967) ‘Amnesia Vivace’ (Absolutely Free, 1967) ‘Invocation and Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin’ (Absolutely Free, 1967) ‘Uncle Bernie’s Farm’ (Absolutely Free, 1967)
    14. 14.  Fragments of this track are found throughout his compositional portfolio. For example:
    15. 15.  Original Track The Kingsman
    16. 16.  Examples of Zappa’s use. “Plastic People” (Absolutely Free) “Son of Suzy Cream cheese” (Absolutely Free) 1967 “Florentine Pogen” (One Size Fits All) 1974 “Jesus Thinks You’re A Jerk” (Broadway The Hard Way) 1984
    17. 17.  Zappa’s terminology for the semiotic impact of music. Examples included short quotes to songs such as ‘Mission Impossible’, ‘Wipe Out’ etc. ‘Jesus Thinks You’re Jerk’ (Broadway the Hardway, 1988) - ‘The Twilight Zone’ (4:20),
    18. 18.  Zappa: “When a novelist invents a character. If the character is a good one, he takes on a life of his own. Why should he get to go to only one party?” (Zappa and Occhiogrosso, The Real Frank Zappa Book, p. 139). ‘Help I’m A Rock’, The Mothers of Invention, Freak Out!. Note the inclusion of the short segment of ‘Who Are The Brain Police’ (from the same album) between 2:02 and 2:08. ‘Dog Breath, In The Year Of The Plague’, The Mothers of Invention, Uncle Meat, Rykodisc, 69741 (1969). Note the studio manipulated extract from Zappa’s movie score ‘The Worlds Greatest Sinner’ (1962) from 2:30. Civilization Phaze III which merges music from the early 1990’s with material from Thing-Fish, The Perfect Stranger, and Lumpy Gravy. ‘
    19. 19.  “This collection is not chronological”, - any band from any year can be (and often is) edited to the performance of any other band from any other year – sometimes in the middle of a song” (Taken from YCDTOSA Volume 4, 1988) Procedure that fuses music, performances and musicians from different time, spaces and places.
    20. 20.  “Friendly Little Finger” (Zoot Allures 1974) Bass and guitar recorded together, and combined with drums from another track (“The Ocean Is The Ultimate Solution” from Sleep Dirt 1979)
    21. 21. 11/4 bass part extracted from aperformance in Gothenburg in1974, with a 4/4 drum partrecorded in 1976 in studioconditions
    22. 22.  Results in obvious Genre Synecdoches and.. More ‘obtuse’ relationships between signifier and signified..... What Barthes described as ‘The Third Meaning’... “I do not know what it’s signified is, at least I am unable to give it a name, but I can see clearly the traits, the signifying accidents of which this – consequently incomplete – sign is composed.” (Barthes, Image Music Text, p. 53).
    23. 23. Basic Musicological Model Poietic Immanent Ethesic Intended‘message’ Emitter Music Receiver ‘adequate’ response (channel) Primary Secondary
    24. 24.  Middleton believes Primary Signification to be rare in popular music: Indicative examples given include ‘animal noises’ in the Beatles ‘Good Morning’ or motor bike noises in The Shangri-Las ‘Leader of the Pack’. Provides 3 types of PS - Quotation, Stylistic Allusion and Parody Quotation already covered with Zappa – but what about Stylistic Allusion and Parody?
    25. 25.  Crusing with Ruben and the Jets and Burnt Weeny Sandwich - overt influences of Do-wop and his hero’s such as Varèse and Stravinsky. ‘Love of My Life’ ‘Igors Boogie’
    26. 26.  Middleton regards , Destructive Parody to be very rare but ‘fundamental to the work of Frank Zappa’, (Middleton, Studying Popular Music, p. 220). Zappa influenced by Spike Jones, would ‘destructively’ allude to musicians such as Bob Dylan (‘Flakes’, Sheik Yerbouti) or Al Di Meola, (‘Peaches III’, on Tinseltown Rebellion) Or politicians such as Richard Nixon (‘Dickie’s Such An Asshole’, Broadway the Hardway).
    27. 27.  His ‘Rock Star’ persona played a substantial part in informing his audience how to categorise his work Utilised the archetypal clichés of the Rock tradition to compartmentalise his work into as lucrative a direction as possible. For Example:
    28. 28.  ‘Hog Heaven’
    29. 29.  Mo ‘N Herbs Vacation, First Movement (London Symphony Orchestra vol 1 & 2)
    30. 30.  ‘The The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet’ and ‘It Can’t Happen Here’. (Freak Out, 1966)
    31. 31.  Conducting band since  Peaches and Regalia mid 1950’s – entitled it ‘Conduction’  Combined Conducting Gave instructions (specific and improvisatory) to band and sometimes audiences! Alluded subliminal messages regarding his dominant hierarchical position and musical merit
    32. 32.  Is the music Rock, Jazz or Classical? High or low art? Controlled or open? Improvisatory or notated? Serious or frivolous? Complex or simple? Elitist or vernacular?
    33. 33.  Rock founded style/genre usually present, but his constant interface with other styles and genres make describing his music unusually problematic. Can be described with Bakhtin’s notion of centripetal and centrifugal forces.
    34. 34.  In Zappa’s case, Rock is the centripetal force, with other other sub styles/traditions (Doo- wop, Reggae, Blues, etc) acting as centrifugal “destabilising forces”. However - Zappa’s use of music, and involvement with music outside of the tradition has a more profound effect on the stylistic balance and ultimate reception of his music. Zappa’s long-term relationship with contemporary classical music represents not just a juxtaposition of style, but a confluence of traditions
    35. 35.  Zappa’s long term incorporation of classical music was intentionally progressive – he stated in 1968: “Stravinsky in rock n’ roll is like a get- acquainted offer… It’s a gradual progression to bring in my own ‘serious’ music” Explicitly but subtly integrated classical gestures into his early portfolio, gradually increasing the propensity of the statements in individual compositions, and eventually albums
    36. 36.  Song For My Father (Horace Silver)
    37. 37.  Ricky Don’t Lose That Number
    38. 38.  Monteverdi - incorporating material from L’Orfeo in the 1610 Vespers Prokoviev’s 3rd Symphony - instrumental version of his opera Fiery Angel Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Save The Life Of My Child’ (Bookends 1968) - ‘samples’ part of ‘The Sound of Silence’ Buffalo Springfield’s live version of ‘Broken Arrow’ incorporates a direct recording of their ‘Mr Soul’ Charles Ives Sampling of other artists’ work pervasive throughout Hip Hop and some dance music.
    39. 39. Dr Paul CarrGlamorgan University