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Presentation on theme: "42 Years of Popular Music Analysis"— Presentation transcript:
42 Years of Popular Music AnalysisTeaching in 21 Minutes [2 years per minute]
Philip TaggVisiting Professor, Universities of Huddersfield and Salford (UK)www.tagg.org
http://tagg.org/Clips/Nantes130531.mp4 or http://youtu.be/GbDG8ApNhRs must be accessible
A short audit of a few problems in the denotation ofmusical structure, with suggestions for improvement
Presentation at Popular Music Analysis Conference,University of Liverpool, 4 July, 2013
Previous versions ‘The Trouble with Tonal Terminology', ‘Too Important to Fail', etc. presented in Rome, Glasgow,
, Durham, Liverpool (2011); Newcastle, Lancaster, Nottingham, Berlin, Granada, London (City), Manchester, Granada,
Overviewpresentation overview as intended in Liverpool, 4 July 2013
‘Totality' or ‘form’
Background and aim
Background [potted CV 1]
1957-62 Organ, composition, trad. jazz1962-65 BA in Music (Cambridge); Scottish country dancing, soul/R&B1963 -66 Cert. Ed. (Manchester); mainstream blues/jazz, pop demos1966-71 Various gigging combos (Sweden)1971 Full time employment as music teacher
Background [potted CV 2]
1968-72 Choir (sing & arr.)1971-76 Agitrock band1971-78 Keyboard harmony, etc.1971- History and analysis (incl. euroclass., pop, jazz, ‘world’, etc.)1993- Music & Moving Image courses1998-2001 EPMOW articles2009 Everyday Tonality2012 Music’s Meanings: a musicology for non-musos
Sets and subsets (1)
Sets and subsets (2)
c. 1730 – 1910
― ‘functional’ (!?)―
‘pretonal’ (!)‘posttonal’ (!?)
Aspects of musical structure compatible with Western notation:
i.e. a system of graphic representation developed to encode mainly
music whose pitches conform to the twelve notes of our chromatically divided octave.
(a v. small % of all music at any time anywhere)
TONE : note with audible fundamental pitchTONAL : consisting or characteristic of tonesTONALITY : system of tonal configurationTONIC : central reference tone in relation to which other tones in a piece or extract of music are audibly related One problem :Tonalité/tonalidad/tonalità, etc. = key/Tonart—idiome tonal for ‘tonality’/‘Tonalität’— ?
Linguistic derivative pattern 1— -al -ality
Noun Adjective Abstract noun
root derivative derivative
brute brutal brutality
crime criminal criminality
form formal formality
mode modal modality
TONE TONAL TONALITY
Linguistic derivative pattern 2 -ic -ical (-icality/-icism)
Noun Adjective Noun Adjectivecleric clerical clinic clinicalcomic comical critic criticalethic[s] ethical lyric[s] lyricalmagic magical music musicalmystic mystical physic[s] physicalsceptic sceptical rhetoric rhetoricaltactic[s] tactical topic topicaltropic[s] tropical Abstr. n. musicality, physicality, topicality OR criticism, mysticism, scepticism HENCE TONICALITY OR TONICISM
ergo: ATONICAL or NON-TONICAL, ATONICALITY,etc.
Tonality v. Modality
(heptatonic/diatonic)phrygian (heptatonic/diatonic)Nawa Athar (heptatonic) نوى أثر
— only possible in monometric music with unequivocal downbeats— arises when >1 rhythmic pattern is heard at the same time— more accurate designation of rhythmic traits in many Subsaharan musics— term used by Subsaharan music scholars and practitioners to cover ‘polymetricity’ (a eurocentric term)— neuroscientifically established concept essential to understanding how batches of ‘now sound’ (syncrisis, groove, etc.) work
“a shape; an arrangement of parts”
Concise Oxford Dictionary
Visual “form” (‘composition’, ‘shape’, etc.)
Musical “form” (‘composition’?)
Exposition | Exposition | Development | Recapitulation
Chorus | Chorus
A | A | B | A
diachronic, extensional form
synchronic, intensional form
formed as a coffee pot
What to do? (1)
is wrong’. Carry on as
‘We may be in the minority but we’re always right
Defeatist (‘realist’) strategy.
note but no
‘interesting; some valid points but we have to deal with
music theory “as is”. You can’t
100 years of
. Get used to it!’
‘We’re broad-minded and modern.
We have ethnomusicology and/or popular music
studies and/or music technology on the curriculum but
we see no need to change the basics of music theory.
Laissez-faire (‘anti-authoritarian’) strategy
. New terms
are as bad as old ones. You’re forcing everyone to
think like you. Let things develop organically, man!
What to do (2)?
alienation from conservative musicology
(both ancient and modern) by making life easier
for the popular majority of students through:
- simple reform of a few basic terms;
- recognition of vernacular musical competence;
- reintegration of music as a specific form of
symbolic production on a par with others.
What to do (3)
Establish a forum of interested parties in music education, media education, etc.Get together to decide on priorities for a reform of music theory terminology.Involve experts from as many musical territories as possible so as to minimise risks of producing new ethnocentric concepts.Collaborate across cultural, disciplinary and professional boundaries to produce a music theory primer (max. 100 pp.) to take us into the 21st-century and the age of globalisation.
Music’s Meanings: a modern musicology for non-musos (2013) tagg.org/mmmsp/publications.htmll [710 pp.]
tagg.org/mmmsp/publications.html [334 pp.]
Dominants and Dominance
Musical Learning & Epistemic Diffraction
Scotch Snaps: the big picture
Troubles with Tonal Terminology
/Aharonian2011.pdf [32 pp.]
‘Not the sort of thing you could photocopy’
A short idea history of notation with suggestions for reform in music education and research [21 pp.]