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This podcast is on the relationship on the elements of music and form. It considers the ways in which elements such as musical texture, time signatures, and harmony can interact to create expectations in a listener. In popular music, these expectations need to be fulfilled, and if they are not – the music has the potential not to be ‘popular’. The lecture considers how in addition to harmonic tendencies, the ‘rule of four’ is engrained in european listeners – also creating expectations of verses, choruses, etc.

I am so pleased to hear that this funding has been given to the British Library to develop this sound Archive. Really interested to see what music is included. See below for details.

The British Library has received *earmarked funding for a £9,568,900 bid from the Heritage Lottery Fund (including a £215,900 development fund) to help to save the nation’s sounds, and open them up online for everyone to hear.

The funding will enable the British Library to digitise and make available 500,000 rare, unique and at-risk sound recordings from its own archive and other key collections around the country over 5 years (2017-2022).

See the following link for more details

via Save our Sounds HLF funding – The British Library.

This post concerns the elements of music, and the ways in which they are prioritised to indoctrinate interest in a piece of music. How can we use the elements that for most are so familiar, to begin to analyse popular music? This is an introductory session which covers some of the basics. What are the basic elements (which many were introduced to in primary school), and how can we use these to consider popular music analysis? Unlike the ways it is sometimes taught in schools (as a recommendation of the National Curriculum in the min 1980s), this session considers more formal analysis: what is actually going on in the music?

A more subjective perspective is how important the elements are to the song?? This of course depends on how one regards an element. For example – a song with a one chord progression could be deemed as resulting in the ‘harmony’ not being considered an important part of the song. However, an alternative perspective could be that the single chord is an essential factor in the formation of the style of the song. The session provides a couple of indicative examples, via the songs ‘Car Wash’ and ‘Victory Dance’ (by My Morning Jacket), where this sort of discussion takes place. How important are elements such as dynamics, harmony, texture, tempo, form and rhythm (groove), and how can this perspective differ from person to person?

Students are encouraged to give each element a score form 1 to 10, with 1 being ‘important’ and 10 being ‘not important’. The students provide some interesting perspectives, as they are encouraged to rationalise their answers – sometimes not agreeing with each other (or me), highlighting the importance of subjectivity to music analysis. The ways in which some elements are compromised in order to highlight others is also discussed in the 2nd song. Using this approach – the importance of the reliance of the elements of music to each other is considered.

Here is another very brief snippet asking students to consider the difference between WHAT music means and HOW it means. As Alan Moore points out in his book ‘Song Means’ – there is often a confusion here. For me, it is important for music listeners to consider the polysemic nature of music, embrace what it means to us then focus on how it does this.

Another very very short segment – this time concerning the ways in which we can think about popular music analysis – more detail late!

Here are a few thoughts about why popular music was so slow to emerge as an academic discipline. It is a two minute lecture – see if you agree

Paul Carr:

Interesting piece of research – the average age where we stop listening to new music is apparently around 33! However, is the music I listened to 20 years ago technicaly still not ‘popular’? This is a term that I have always struggled with in higher education – there being a clear difference between ‘pop’ music and ‘popular music (I try and make this clear to my students from day 1). On a different note, I am particularly interested if anyone has used the ‘Echo Nest’ service (http://developer.echonest.com). It looks complex – but would love to learn it at some point. Interesting post!

Originally posted on Skynet & Ebert:

After sixty years of research, it’s conventional wisdom: as people get older, they stop keeping up with popular music. Whether the demands of parenthood and careers mean devoting less time to pop culture, or just because they’ve succumbed to good old-fashioned taste freeze, music fans beyond a certain age seem to reach a point where their tastes have “matured”.

That’s why the organizers of the Super Bowl — with a median viewer age of 44 —  were smart to balance their Katy Perry-headlined halftime show with a showing by Missy Elliott.

Missy don't brag, she mostly boast Missy don’t brag, she mostly boast

Spotify listener data offers a sliced & diced view of each user’s streams. This lets us measure when this effect begins, how quickly the effect develops, and how it’s impacted by demographic factors.

For this study, I started with individual listening data from U.S. Spotify users and combined that…

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