I read a review of Frank Zappa and the And this week – and despite its negativity, it got me thinking about the ways in which our world views impact the ways in which we interpret meaning in music. Being simplistic about it – if one looks at the world through a Marxist lens, the chances are you will be suspicious of (what you perceive to be) authority (such as universities or academics), not to mention the ‘truth’ that institutionalised narratives impose. Likewise, if you regard music to be ‘absolute’ (when its beauty is itself), semiological (where it has the potential to refer to meanings outside of the music itself) or spiritual (where it has some relation to the divine) – your world view will play a big part in helping you decide what the music ‘MEANS’.
For me, as outlined in Gadamer’s ‘Truth and Method’ – real objectivity is impossible. We can’t help but ‘know’! However – we have to try!!
So – my question is: Where do the meanings of music lie – and how do we overcome the prejudices of our ‘methods’ to produce ‘truth’? I don’t have any definite answers to this – but am interested in ideas/responses.
Posted in Frank Zappa, Musicology, philosophy | Tagged analysis, Frank Zappa, frank zappa and the and, Gadamer, Music, musicology, paul carr, Truth and Method | 9 Comments »
Here is a lecture on Frank Zappa I gave to students as part of a musicology class this week.
<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/carrp/session-7-zappa-final-presentation” title=”Session 7 zappa final presentation” target=”_blank”>Session 7 zappa final presentation</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/carrp” target=”_blank”>Paul Carr</a></strong> </div>
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged analysis, Frank Zappa, music analysis, musicology, paul carr | 2 Comments »
I delivered a session on an introduction to Performance Analysis this week – asking the students the following questions
Place examples of
Episodic Markers (see presentation below)
and one of the following
Experiments with Time & Place
Although this blog is aimed mainly at students – I am very happy to receive ideas from anyone
<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/carrp/session-5-performance-analysis-1″ title=”Session 5 performance analysis 1″ target=”_blank”>Session 5 performance analysis 1</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/carrp” target=”_blank”>Paul Carr</a></strong> </div>
Posted in Musicology | Tagged Episodic Marker, Genre Synecdoche, kinetic, musicology, paul carr, sonic anaphone, tactile, time and place | 5 Comments »
A year or so ago, I wrote a blog about how the singer Rumer sounded like Karen Carpenter - and how the music industry could be seen to be using a proven formula (i.e The Carpenters) to sell the public music. This is not the topic of this blog – but more related to taking this theory back a few years – this time to the relationship between The Carpenters and the Les Paul/Mary Ford duo. I have been a big fan of Les Paul for most of my adult life – but have always listened to his records with a ‘guitar head’ – ie his amazing solos and use of technology for overdubbing. However, when one listens to Mary Ford’s vocals – they have, to my ears at least, a clear relationship to Karen Carpenter. For example -
‘I’m a Fool to Care’ (1954)
For me, this has not only similarities in vocal timbre, but also in the use of technology to create those amazing vocal harmonies, made famous in songs such as Goodbye to Love
Goodbye to Love (1972)
How high the moon
In both cases, these harmonies only exist in a virtual space – as they are multiple instances of the same singer/singers. I write this, as it is interesting to trace what I would call the ‘primary signification’ of influences such as this (where these is little difference between the sound and what it stands for – for me at least). Taking this thought process back a stage further – the same influence can also be heard between Les Paul’s guitar style (both rhythm and lead) and Django Reinhardt – see the examples below
The Sheik of Araby
For me, these sort of relationships can be viewed from two perspectives
1) the authentic influences of the artist, who have simply listened to the influence and therefore begin to sound like them (ie Les Paul and Django)
2) the music industry machine – where the artist is ‘told’ to sound like another artist or incorporate a specific style (examples to numerous to mention)
If an artist is fortunate enough to be able to be successful and portray their ‘natural’ influences – and these influences resonate with the industry,which in turn have the potential to resonate with the public, all well and good. My question is – are opportunities like this becoming rarer and rarer? Is it only possible to obtain success by positioning your music into a ‘category’ (be it sound, dress, style, etc)? I realise this is always been the case to a greater or lessor extent – so am interested in examples of music that break this pattern. What music is out there that is truly experimental and ground breaking?
Posted in Musicology | Tagged analysis, Karen Carpenter, Les Paul and Mary Ford, Music, musicology, paul carr, rumer, the carpenters | Leave a Comment »
Well – I finally got my copies of my Zappa book last week – so this will probably be the last time I blog about it (hip – hip……). I would really appreciate anyone helping with the social network side of things by liking/sharing/etc etc. You can read a sample chapter from the link below – and if you are interested in a copy – I think direct from Ashgate is the best bet at the moment.
Thanks to those of you that have given the book support over its development
Posted in Frank Zappa, Musicology, philosophy | Tagged analysis, Ashgate, Frank Zappa, musicology, paul carr, zappa, zappa and the and | 6 Comments »
This weeks musicology session focused on the relationship of the Elements of Music to Musical Form. I have asked students to consider the following questions -
- Examples of pieces of music with unusual bar numbers between sections
- Examples of how rhythm delineates form between sections
- Examples of pieces of music which has the same chords for both verse and chorus
- Examples of artist specific sounds
- Examples of texture/instrumentation delineating form
- Examples of how metre delineates form between sections
Examples of how sounds allude toward change of style for an artist
Examples of how sounds indicate a specefic place or time.
Examples of how musical textures outline the lyrics or a title of a song
Any thoughts welcome!
<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/carrp/session-3the-elements-of-music-16223884″ title=”Session 3‘the elements of music’” target=”_blank”>Session 3‘the elements of music’</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/carrp” target=”_blank”>Paul Carr</a></strong> </div>
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged elements of music, frank zappa record production musicology paul carr, musical form, paul carr | 10 Comments »
Well – over two years since it was initially announced – Zappa and the And is to published in a couple of weeks. Ashgate have officially posted my introduction online – you can see it at here There are also links to the Contents Page and the Index. Ashgates’ Home Page about the book is also live – as is the Amazon Link. I get my copies next week – so looking forward to seeing them. Although it was not by design – the fact that the book is being published 20 years after Zappa’s death has a nice resonance about it.
Posted in Frank Zappa | Tagged Ashgate, Frank Zappa, music analysis, musicology, paul carr, semiology | Leave a Comment »