Summertime from catfish row to the lbc
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Summertime: from Catfish Row to the LBC. Interactions of Music, Text, Performance & Biography We began the year by focusing on ways to “close-read” and interpret textual material. Then, we discussed ways of “close-reading” and interpreting the “signs” apparent in visual “texts.”

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Summertime: from Catfish Row to the LBC

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Summertime from catfish row to the lbc

Summertime:from Catfish Row to the LBC

Interactions of Music, Text,

Performance & Biography

  • We began the year by focusing on ways

  • to “close-read” and interpret textual material.

  • Then, we discussed ways of “close-reading”

  • and interpreting the “signs” apparent

  • in visual “texts.”

  • Now, let’s throw music into the analytical mix.

  • Music Analysis Sections from Dr. Morse, Ch. 18 of Writer’s Handbook


Objectives

Objectives

  • Critical Listening

  • Compare & Contrast v. Application

  • Music Analysis (from lyrics to sound to image)

  • Biography


On to essay 6

On to Essay #6

  • Essay #6 asks you to write sample program notes for the opera Porgy and Bess. Program notes are the parts of an opera program that tell the audience something about the plot of the opera and the composer's biography (the life & times of Gershwin) to help listeners better understand what they are seeing and hearing.

  • What does someone who is coming to the opera who knows NOTHING need to know about Gershwin and his historical context? What do they need to know about Gershwin’s biograaphy that will illuminate THIS opera?

  • But, andthis is where it gets difficult, how do you balance summary & analysis?

  • How do you get from “Gershwin went to Harlem and knew about jazz” to…. “Where is that evident in the opera?”

  • In order to answer this question and write stellar program notes you will need to analyze the music! What are you hearing? What instruments are used? Who is singing. Can you listen critically?

  • Remember… Professor Moeller said:

    “The evidence is in the music!”


Let s practice critical listening

Let’s Practice Critical Listening

  • What is the connection between music and your identity?

  • How does music function in your daily life?

    • Do you “listen” to music or does it create “mood” or “distraction” for you? Where do you “hear” music?

    • When do you “listen” to music? Where do you listen?

  • How does music function in film?

    • Have you noticed a pattern between the “genre” or style of music on a movie sound track and the themes in these films?

  • What is the interaction between the “sound” and “lyrics” in a song?

  • Listen to the beginning of “Crossroad” and describe the “tone” of the music you hear? (Listen)

  • What do you anticipate about this song?

    • What kind of film might it be featured in?

    • Where might you expect to hear this song being played?


Lyrics

Lyrics

  • Now, let’s listen to the lyrics…

    I went to the crossroads, fell down on my knees

    I went to the crossroads, fell down on my knees

    Asked the Lord above, have mercy now, save poor Bob if you please

    Standin' at the crossroads, tried to flag a ride

    Whee-hee, I tried to flag a ride

    Didn't nobody seem to know me, everybody pass me by

    Standin' at the crossroads, risin' sun goin' down

    Standin' at the crossroads baby, the risin' sun goin' down

    I believe to my soul now, po' Bob is sinkin' down

  • How does the “mood” of the music interact with the “lyrics” of the song?

  • How does this interaction lead to interpretation?

    • In music terminology is there a “dissonance” or “harmony” between the “mood” and the subject matter of the “lyrics”?

  • What visual imagery might you imagine with this song?


Staging the song

“Staging” the Song

  • Let’s see how Coredump “staged” this song… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yd60nI4sa9A&feature=related

  • What is your reaction to the song now that sound, text and image are interacting?

  • How does this “staging” impact your interpretation of the song?

  • Does the staging provide “evidence” for a thematic link between lyric & interpretation?


Biography

Biography

  • Now what if I told you that Robert Johnson allegedly sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his musical abilities?

  • How does this affect your interpretation of the music?

  • Consider this secondary source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jK4p432u8Ls&feature=related

  • C/E/W:

    • In what ways do the tone, lyrics, and staging of Crossroads support a “soul selling” claim/thesis?

    • How would you “cite” the “evidence” of this secondary source?

    • Can you now “make” a warrant?


On to opera

On to Opera…

  • Consider the opening scene of the opera Porgy & Bess and be prepared to discuss:

    • The “mood” set by the music and libretto.

    • How you would characterize the sounds you hear.

    • How you would characterize the images you see.

    • What the interaction is between the music and the images you see.

    • What dramatic effect this has on your interpretation of the scene.

    • What the interaction is between the music and the performance and the visual cues (expression, staging, etc.).

    • What dramatic effect this has on your interpretation of the scene.

    • How the interaction between music and image sets the stage for the opera’s plot.


Let s practice

Let’s Practice!

  • Remember Professor Moeller said: “The evidence is in the Music.”

  • So analyze the music:

    • What are you hearing?

    • What instruments are used?

    • Who is singing?

    • Can you listen critically?

  • And consider the “evidence”:

    • Bess NEVER has her own music. She’s always singing WITH someone or the community. This is how she “integrates.” She doesn’t have a song.

    • We have a story of masculinity. CROWN is hyper-masculine. We have a BIG guy, but we also have BIG music.

    • Porgy BECOMES Crown in the moment he strangles him. This is told by the MUSIC.


Let s listen critically

Let’s Listen Critically…

  • What do you hear?

    • Tone, Mood, Vocals, Pitch, Sounds, Instruments, etc.

  • Aaron Neville:

    • Listen

  • Bengt Jonsson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmMM6Bseyx4

  • Billie Holiday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5ddqniqxFM&feature=related

  • Janice Joplin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgFWibrTAKQ


Modern summer

Modern Summer?

  • Now consider this song… what does it tell you?

  • Listen

  • Do you think the “makers” of this song watched and/or were influenced by Porgy & Bess?

  • Is it a “sample” or does it speak to the themes of an “updated opera”?

  • How do you know this?

  • Where is the evidence?


Your turn for some good practice

Your Turn…(For some good practice)

  • Consider your favorite song.

  • Consider what you know about the staging of the video, the tone of the song, and the biography of the “maker.”

  • Now write 2 paragraphs (one about why you like the song the other addressing the previous points).

  • You have 6 minutes. GO!


On thursday

On Thursday…

  • Attend Prof. Moeller’s lecture and consider what he has to say about race.

  • What is biography?

  • What are historical and responsible ways of using biography?

  • Who gets to “claim” culture?

  • Who gets to “make” culturally?

  • What are the restraints on makers?

  • Consider Eminem and his “political songs.”


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