Wednesday: General intro to reading music
Welcome class. Discuss the three lectures:
I. Intro to Hall and Music. Wednesday
II. Your Music and representation, convention and genre.
“Loliwe”, a case study in how to read music. Friday
III. “Loliwe” continued. Wednesday
IV. Zahara in her genre. Recap. Essay Prep. Friday
I picked Zahara and the song Loliwe because in 2011 it
gained a following across a number of audiences; people who
did and didn’t understand what it was about. It was a major
hit and we are going to try and work out why. It doesn’t
matter if you are a fan of the music or not.
I am going to give a part of the lecture series to you to talk
about your music.
Let’s begin. Where you are in the course: What was Hall
about? What is Thompson about?
Hall – The Work of Representation.
Representation, meaning and language.
Human beings make meaning, it does not occur naturally. We
use language to produce meaning, languages are not just verbal
This is the constructionist approach, that meaning is constructed
or made by people. The constructionist approach relates things
to concepts through language.
Not all languages are the same so you have to translate them to
share meanings. To do this you need to understand the encode
and decode process. These codes are not fixed, they change
constantly. They exist because we agree on them.
These coded concepts mean we can think abut things when they are
not there, even if they don’t exist. Discuss music as a language.
Thompson The things we produce in culture
He discusses aspects of symbolic forms, or, cultural
production: structural, conventional, referential, intentional,
Again, languages are not just verbal, a practice can function as a
language: music, art, architecture etc.
These things that cultures produce have aspects that we can
Picture of the Great Hall, consider it as a building but also a
Structural aspect – the form of something communicates because it
is part of a system. There is a relationship between its parts. The
blocks of concrete relate to each other and to you in terms of size.
Conventions aspect – help us to decode and communicate. Greek
architecture. Colonial forms of power in architecture.
Referential aspect – symbolic forms say something about
something else. Refers to other facades. Other buildings of
Intentional aspect – someone (the architect) intends to
communicate something. Someone chose this to say “university”
Contextual aspect – the symbolic form exists in a context. In a city
of buildings, commanding a hill, at the ‘heart’ of a university.
Enclosing a piazza.
So it seems easy enough to relate this to something visual like
a building or to something with words like a poem – we can
see, physically experience, or hear the intended meaning
through the words. But music doesn’t have words and it often
works at the level of concept. Music makes images and
thoughts in our head.
On page 24 Hall talks...