In last weeks musicology session, we considered three main ways in which the person singing a song can be identified. These were
- The ‘Real’ Person/Performer singing/playing a song: For example David Jones, Reginald Kenneth Dwight, Gordon Sumner, Saul Hudson,
- 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.
- The Protagonist: A character that is portrayed in a song – often no identity outside of song, but sometimes based on ‘real events’.
When we consider the ways in which these areas can interrelate, it leads to questions such as
- What is the relationship between the ‘real person’ and the persona and protagonist?
- Is the Protagonist based on real or imagined characters in the singer/songwriters life?
- How does all of this relate to notions of authenticity?
We then looked at artists such as Bob Dylan, Lady Gaga, John Lennon, David Bowie, Bruce Dickinson and Billy Holiday, and considered how there image and music output resonates with areas 1 – 3 above. Most importantly, we considered how they resonate with notions of authenticity. Are they authentic? Why/Why Not.
Some interesting discussions took place in the class which are too numerous to outline here, but one of the main themes we discussed was the importance of a persona being an ‘extension’ of the ‘real person’ – if it is to be considered authentic!
We finished the session with the following questions and it is these I want you to comment upon and give examples of for next time. Please comment here on this.
- Read suggested texts by Allan Moore, Edward Cone and Phil Auslanda.
- Consider and give examples of artists who depict ‘real person’, persona and protagonist – in particular the later. Who are the characters displayed in the text?
- Give examples of a song where the persona and or protagonist changes mid song
- Give examples of where the real person is outlined in the persona and or protagonist. Why do you think the artist may do this. Remember the notions of ‘strategic anti essentialism’ we discussed.
- How does all of this make the music more/less authentic?