This week, I have asked students to consider the ontological gap between a singer and the ‘environment’ or textual backing. We started with two simple points:
- Texture can be ‘physical’ (descriptive sound) and/or ‘rhetorical’ (carry extra-musical meaning). It is the ‘extra- musical’ aspect that we focused on today.
- What is the need to consider the relationship between the singer (or lead instrument) and the ‘environment’ (the backing)
Based on Allan Moore’s 5 point scale (2013) – I suggested a more concise 3 point typology of musical environment:
1.Inert: No real impact on meaning. Sets the Style, Genre and Time only – no ‘extra lyrical’ impact on the personae singing it. Examples listened to included ‘Crazy’ by Patsy Cline (1962) and ‘A Million Love Songs’ by Take That (1992)
- The ‘Real’ Person/Performer singing a song: For example David Jones, Reginald Kenneth Dwight, Gordon Sumner, Saul Hudson, Robert Plant, Michael Jackson and –
- The Performance Persona: The character the performer ‘puts on’ when performing – distinct from the ‘real person’. David Jones = David Bowie, Reginald Kenneth Dwight = Elton John, Gordon Sumner = Sting, Saul Hudson = Slash, Robert Plant, Michael Jackson and –
- The Protagonist: A character that is portrayed in a song – often no identity outside of song.
We discussed the relationships between these factors, and how their union or lack of union can impact notions of authenticity.
More on this next week, but in the meantime I am interested in any examples of
- Examples of ‘Inert’, ‘Active’ and in Particular ‘Oppositional’ Environments
- Discussions of songs which involve discuss ‘Real Person’, Persona’ and ‘Protagonist. How do they work together?