Interpreting Popular Music
David Brackett demonstrates that there is no one way of interpreting popular music but that different types of popular music use different types of rhetoric, refer to different arguments about musical complexity and familiarity, and draw upon different senses of history and tradition. He crosses the disciplines of cultural studies and music theory to consider how listeners evaluate popular songs and how they come to attribute a rich variety of meanings to them. Issues such as authorship, reception, musical codes, and different modes of representing and describing music are explored in the context of recordings made by Billie Holiday, Bing Crosby, Hank Williams, James Brown, and Elvis Costello. In analysing their music and lyrics, David Brackett shows how interpretations of songs develop in specific cultural and historical contexts.
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