Search and you’ll find…

January 25, 2006

Or something like that.

I discovered a gold mine of wonderful literature about the materials of popular music through There is a lot of material from a musicological point of view, but I’m interested in finding the nitty gritty about notes, chords, form and such. Author and music theorist Elizabeth Marvin suggested I read Walter Everett’s two volume set about the Beatles which I’ve just ordered. So, this material should be excellent preparation for my book on Rufus Wainwright’s music.

It does not allay my concerns about why this is not taught in conservatories and music schools. All too often, the 20th (21st) century gets short shrift in music theory classes so that chant through Brahms can be taught. Considering most classical music theory classes don’t have enough time to teach Debussy through Thomas Ades, it is no wonder that popular music gets squeezed out. I can only surmise that pop music theory is not valued in the academy. It is already popular and doesn’t need explaining or promoting.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa January 25, 2006 at 3:07 pm

Perhaps the music of last century and that of the blossoming 21rst could be taught backwards. The music often has a logic that owes much to a nonlinear trajectory.

Ad├ęs, of course, has a stake in our culture, yet Pulp hasn’t. Zorn is anthologized in Strickland, but My Bloody Valentine plays in the background of Lost In Translation. I’m not convinced that the cross-pollenation of musics could be successful over time.

Roger Bourland January 27, 2006 at 10:44 am

I would love to do that at UCLA, but our — otherwise progressive musicology faculty — won’t have it. I think that students coming in as Freshman look at early music as ethnomusicology, ie. the music is just as foreign as Ghanaian drumming!

Rosa January 27, 2006 at 12:47 pm

UCLA may be less than fertile ground, but the strengths in respectable schools often are more tangible. Are we facing a culture that is unable to inculcate music with the questions we pose?

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