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 BMus Commercial Music Performance Essay and Portfolio

 BMus Commercial Music Performance Essay and Portfolio

The purpose of this paper is to provide personal feelings on the validity of the following definition of popular music: “In a broad-brush analysis, popular music may be regarded as a single generic system. Its distinctive practices emerge from related sets of conventions organizing form, style, function, audience, and appropriate discourse. It is at this level that popular music as such tends to be defined: for example, as normally comprising short pieces, accessible to large audiences, in familiar (rather than experimental) styles and requiring no great quantity of theoretical knowledge for its appreciation (or, often, for its production)” (Sadie, 2001, p. 142-144). Popular music has a wide appeal to large audiences and it can be performed and enjoyed by persons with no prior or less musical knowledge.

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The definition of popular music provided by the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians is valid. For instance, I see popular music as one single and continuous genre of music, instead of distinct categories Frith, 2004). In addition, most popular music follows an objectively narrow set of chord developments. This makes it distinctive compared to other forms of music such as rock music. In addition, popular music is composed of short pieces played by large audiences that connect with the musician.  The reason why popular music has distinctive practices is the manner in which it is played. For instance, the images in the videos of popular music do not respond to the lyrics or narratives, and they do not represent a substitute narration (Cespedes-Guevara, 2005). Thus, I think that the profusion of referents in popular music has double effects on the audience. For instance, a popular music song could carry a message or rebellion, and at the same time, the images in the video could offer a different narrative from the song. Accordingly, it attracts large crowds because the audience could derive a different message from the lyrics.

To me, popular music is not restricted to a particular musical style like Jazz or Classical, and experimental music that uses foreign exotic scales. Thus, it is different from experimental music because it does not rely on electronic sound manipulation as it is in the case of rock music. Instead, popular music is generated from popular musical movements around the world rather than from strong musical traditions as in the case of Classical music. For example, some popular music artists such as Madonna, Sinead O’Connor, Prince, or Bruce Springsteen are backed by less or more anonymous musicians (Frith, 2004). Because it is based on popular movements, popular music does not require a great quantity of theoretical knowledge in order to appreciate it as in the case of Jazz music. Popular music is easy to produce and interpret and it has large audiences, which implies that it does not alienate asses (Cespedes-Guevara, 2005). This is because popular music provides multiple discourses which offer the listeners materials to develop intimate meanings as well personal use of the music. This makes it more popular than other genres of music.

References List

Cespedes-Guevara, J. (2005). Musical meaning and communication in popular music an exploratory qualitative study. University of Sheffield

Frith, S. (2004). Popular Music: The rock era, Volume 2. Psychology Press.

Sadie, S. (2001). “Popular Music: Form”. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. New York: Grove. pp. 142–144.

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