ALL1441 Popular Music and Media in Modern Japan
Due date: Monday, October 10th
Each paper should be 4-5 pages long. You will be evaluated in terms of the coherence and clarity of your argument, and the attention to detail evident in your aesthetic observation and analysis. All papers should include references to at last four sources that are not included in the required reading for the course. Feel free to ask myself and the Music library staff for suggested sources related to your topic.
Books on course reserve at the Music library count as sources that are not included in the required reading for the course. Links on this assignment sheet also count as sources not included in the required reading for this course.
Take a song or set of songs referred to in class during weeks six through ten and analyze their musical structure. Beyond that, carefully analyze the arrangement and production style of the songs: what instrumentation is used, how does it change over the course of the song, how do these aspects of the arrangement affect your response to the song as a listener? Analyze the production style of the song: does the song straightforwardly project the image of a single live performance space? What sort space does it project? Does it use reverb? Echo? Other effects? How are the tracks put together? What is the overall effect of all these decisions in the production of the song on your experience of the song as a listener?
Link for discussion of conventional Western music theory:
Link for song structure of modern popular music:
Link for terms on studio and mixing equipment
Guide for research on popular music:
Take a song or set of songs referred to in class between weeks six and ten and analyze the songs’ lyrics in relation to song structure, but also employing basic ideas from literary criticism. What does your work in this class and your research for this paper tell you about these lyrics? What do these lyrics add to your understanding of gender or Japanese popular culture at the time these songs were written?
Link for lyric/song structure of modern popular music:
Link for introduction to literary criticism that will help you read the lyrics more precisely:
http://42explore.com/litcrit.htm (some links on the page are dead, but most work)
Analyze Murakami Ryu’s 69 in terms of the role music plays in constructing the identities and social positions of the narrator and the various characters. Try to map out the various groups of characters involved. Are the boundaries of these groups consistently related to music taste or not? Do you find that the novel supports or challenges Simon Frith’s discussion of judgment and social action as they relate to popular music? Why or why not?