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Title: Listening Through Popular Music
Authors: Tignor, Christopher
Advisors: Tymoczko, Dmitri
Contributors: Music Department
Keywords: electronic music
popular music
Subjects: Music theory
Musical composition
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: What are those listening expectations associated with the popular music that surrounds us, and how do we use them to make sense of this music? The sphere of contemporary Western popular music (roughly post-1955) embodies a rich, ever-evolving syntactic and semantic language. I present a new high-level model for this music’s textural design and apply it to numerous examples from today’s diverse stylistic spectrum. I further discuss this music’s formal language and investigate how these structural principles facilitate appreciation within this “listener-oriented” music. I demonstrate these textural and formal principles across subgenres, examining how this design facilitates specific perceptual inroads audiences might use to connect to this music. I subsequently repurpose V. Kofi Agawu’s application of Topic Theory toward contemporary Western popular music, revealing how this music constructs rich semantic networks which help explain “how the work means”.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Music

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