Folk Music A Very Short Introduction

Folk Music: A Very Short Introduction by Mark Slobin
Early Music: A Very Short Introduction by Thomas Forrest Kelly
Digital Signatures: The Impact of Digitization on Popular Music Sound (MIT Press) by Ragnhild Brøvig-Hanssen, Anne Danielsen
Pat Metheny: The ECM Years, 1975-1984 (Oxford Studies in Recorded Jazz) by Mervyn Cooke
Dance as Text: Ideologies of the Baroque Body, 2 edition by Mark Franko

Folk Music: A Very Short Introduction by Mark Slobin

When we think of folk music, most of us picture Pete Seeger singing “This Land is My Land” or Joan Baez singing “Barbara Allen.” But this stimulating Very Short Introduction throws open the doors on a remarkably diverse musical genre, in a wide-ranging portrait that goes far beyond America’s shores to discuss folk music of every possible kind and in every corner of the globe. Written by award-winning musicologist Mark Slobin, this is the first compact introduction to folk music that offers a truly global perspective. Slobin offers an extraordinarily generous portrait of folk music, one that embraces a Russian wedding near the Arctic Circle, a group song in a small rainforest village in Brazil, and an Uzbek dance tune in Afghanistan. He looks in detail at three poignant songs from three widely separated regions–northern Afghanistan, Jewish Eastern Europe, and the Anglo-American world–with musical notation and lyrics included. And he also describes the efforts of scholars who fanned out across the globe, to find and document this ever-changing music.

Early Music: A Very Short Introduction by Thomas Forrest Kelly

From Gregorian chant to Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti, the music of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods is both beautiful and intriguing, expanding our horizons as it nourishes our souls. In this Very Short Introduction, Thomas Forrest Kelly provides not only a compact overview of the music itself, but also a lively look at the many attempts over the last two centuries to revive it. Kelly shows that the early-music revival has long been grounded in the idea of spontaneity, of excitement, and of recapturing experiences otherwise lost to us–either the rediscovery of little-known repertories or the recovery of lost performing styles, with the conviction that, with the right performance, the music will come to life anew. Blending musical and social history, he shows how the Early Music movement in the 1960s took on political overtones, fueled by a rebellion against received wisdom and enforced conformity. Kelly also discusses ongoing debates about authenticity, the desirability of period instruments, and the relationship of mainstream opera companies and symphony orchestras to music that they often ignore, or play in modern fashion.

Digital Signatures: The Impact of Digitization on Popular Music Sound (MIT Press) by Ragnhild Brøvig-Hanssen, Anne Danielsen

Is digital production killing the soul of music? Is Auto-Tune the nadir of creative expression? Digital technology has changed not only how music is produced, distributed, and consumed but also – equally important but not often considered – how music sounds. In this book, Ragnhild Brøvig-Hanssen and Anne Danielsen examine the impact of digitization on the aesthetics of popular music. They investigate sonically distinctive “digital signatures” – musical moments when the use of digital technology is revealed to the listener. The particular signatures of digital mediation they examine include digital reverb and delay, MIDI and sampling, digital silence, the virtual cut-and-paste tool, digital glitches, microrhythmic manipulation, and autotuning – all of which they analyze in specific works by popular artists.
Combining technical and historical knowledge of music production with musical analyses, aesthetic interpretations, and theoretical discussions, Brøvig-Hanssen and Danielsen offer unique insights into how digitization has changed the sound of popular music and the listener’s experience of it. For example, they show how digital reverb and delay have allowed experimentation with spatiality by analyzing Kate Bush’s “Get Out of My House”; they examine the contrast between digital silence and the low-tech noises of tape hiss or vinyl crackle in Portishead’s “Stranger”; and they describe the development of Auto-Tune – at first a tool for pitch correction – into an artistic effect, citing work by various hip-hop artists, Bon Iver, and Lady Gaga.

Pat Metheny: The ECM Years, 1975-1984 (Oxford Studies in Recorded Jazz) by Mervyn Cooke

Pat Metheny: The ECM Years, 1977-1984 offers a vivid account of jazz guitarist Pat Metheny’s first creative period, during which he recorded eleven albums for the European label ECM. This unique music reflects his passionate belief in the need to refashion jazz in ways which allow it to speak powerfully to a new generation, and the book provides a portrait of a fascinating but often overlooked period in jazz history.

Dance as Text: Ideologies of the Baroque Body, 2 edition by Mark Franko

Dance as Text: Ideologies of the Baroque Body is a historical and theoretical examination of French court ballet over a hundred-year period, beginning in 1573, that spans the late Renaissance and early baroque. Utilizing aesthetic and ideological criteria, author Mark Franko analyzes court ballet librettos, contemporary performance theory, and related commentary on dance and movement in the literature of this period. Examining the formal choreographic apparatus that characterizes late Valois and early Bourbon ballet spectacle, Franko postulates that the evolving aesthetic ultimately reflected the political situation of the noble class, which devised and performed court ballets. He shows how the body emerged from verbal theater as a self-sufficient text whose autonomy had varied ideological connotations, most important among which was the expression of noble resistance to the increasingly absolutist monarchy. Franko’s analysis blends archival research with critical and cultural theory in order to resituate the burlesque tradition in its politically volatile context. Dance as Text thus provides a picture of the complex theoretical underpinnings of composite spectacle, the ideological tensions underlying experiments with autonomous dance, and finally, the subversiveness of Molière’s use of court ballet traditions.

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