Zappa and Intergrational Meaning: A Quick Example

I could not resist but to briefly cover an example of Barthes’ ‘intergrational’ meaning via a Zappa video example – ‘Montana’. For me anyway, here are a few examples of the simultaneous narratives that I can hear in the music. All of these could be discussed in order to unpick the ‘meaning’ of this text. Aside from the first conceptual continuity example (which is really ‘distributional’ in nature), all of them could be a meaning that is pertinent to us.

Zappa Conceptual Continuity: Dental Floss and Zircon Encrusted Tweezers

The (changing) tone of Zappa’s voice:

Sexual and ethnic equality of the group.

Guitar Sound/Technology/guitar style

Zappa’s image vs the complexity of parts of the music

The mixed tradition of some of the players in the group (George Duke (Jazz), Ruth Underwood (classical)

The mixture of improvised and notated music.

Zappa’s conducting when set against the rock aesthetic of the music

Any more?

About Paul Carr

Academic working at the University of Glamorgan
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