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Literary Devices

Your Final Project will consist of a 7-10 slide multimedia presentation, with written comments that support your presentation.  This project will fulfill the following learning objectives for the course:

Recognize various elements, styles, composers, and major historical periods of music.
Identify and discuss genres and uses of music.
Demonstrate knowledge of the historical and cultural context of musical styles and periods.
Analyze and make critical judgments of music listening experiences utilizing appropriate terms and concepts.
Tasks:

Choose a new specific topic or a musical piece from the class.  You might also choose to use one of your unit writing assignments and turn it into a power point presentation.  If you choose your own topic, make sure the topic is worthy for this type of college project.  The project must be presented academically–not just a selection of a contemporary pop artist or song with materials from the “Fan Website” or album cover.  If you have questions about your topic being worthy, contact your instructor for topic approval.
Your slides should incorporate four active audio and video links for listening and viewing related information. Your 7-10 slides might look like the following:
The name of your presentation, your name, and date.
A summary of the piece’s composers/performers/producers.
A summary of its historical and musical context (what was happening in the world and in music around the time of its composition/production).
A summary of its most important performing forces and musical characteristics.
A listening guide of the composition.
A conclusions slide.
Your Works Cited slide in MLA format.  Check the MLA Citation Help in your How to Succeed in this Course module for guidance on formatting.

The popular styles of music that we hear today, like most other Western musical styles, grew out of combinations of elements borrowed from the styles that preceded them. Rhythm and blues (R&B), rock and roll, and rap all resulted from combinations and changes of music practices that were borrowed from jazz, gospel, country, and the blues.

Elements of Contemporary Popular Music (the popular music we hear today) are the following: it is easy to listen to; its melody and lyrics, that is, words, are most important; it has a simple structure and strong melody; it is easy to sing and repetitive, with the form comprising repeating sections; it has a strong beat (with Rap, it IS the beat) and clear/regular phases; and it uses few chords.

Rhythm & Blues
figure 8.8 Ray Charles
The term “rhythm and blues (R&B)” was first used by Billboard magazine in 1948 to refer to music recorded by black musicians and intended for use by the African American community. It has changed definitions several times over the years and is now very much in the mainstream. At one point, the term encapsulated several different musical styles, including soul and funk. Early rhythm and blues ensembles often featured a twelve-bar blues form with a strong backbeat (emphasis on beats two and four.) These early groups typically consisted of a rhythm section augmented by a saxophone or background vocalists. Georgia native Ray Charles was one of the early innovators of R&B.

Ray Charles – “Hit the Road Jack”

Direct Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8Tiz6INF7I&feature=youtu.be  (right click to open in a new tab)  (this link opens in a new window/tab)

“Contemporary R&B” generally refers to music with jazz, gospel, and funk roots that uses electronic instruments, drums, horns, and vocals. This Earth, Wind & Fire example of contemporary R&B includes a rock rhythm section, brass, and synthesizer—plus a great groove. Many other excellent examples exist from groups like Kool and the Gang and The Ohio Players.

Earth, Wind, & Fire – “In the Stone”

Direct Link – https://youtu.be/rNNaK0hSkrA (right click to open in a new tab) (this link opens in a new window/tab)

Rock & Roll
figure 8.10 electric guitar

Early rock and roll grew directly out of the tradition of rhythm and blues. The term “rock and roll” is widely credited to the disk jockey Alan Freed, who used it to describe the R&B records he played on Cleveland’s WJW radio station. Rock and Roll was marketed and consumed primarily by a teenage audience. Eventually, the term “rock and roll” was shortened to “rock” and evolved into an all-encompassing international music with a wide variety of subgenres such as glam rock, heavy metal, new wave and grunge. The cultural impact of rock and roll has been massive, influencing almost every facet of popular culture from fashion to language.

Although early rock and roll bands often featured a variety of wind instruments such as the saxophone, by the 1950’s, the typical rock and roll band was defined by the electric guitar. Invented in 1931, the instrument used an electronic device called a pickup to convert the vibration of the strings into electronic signals run to a speaker. The earliest electric guitars were merely used as a means of amplification, but rock and roll guitarists began to experiment with various effects, such as distortion that would alter the sound of the instrument.

A typical rock and roll band often included two guitarists. One guitarist typically played “rhythm guitar,” which mean supporting the band by strumming the chords of the song. The second guitarist played “lead guitar, which meant playing solos in between the vocal lines or in open solo sections. These two guitarists were backed by a drum set and a bass. Often, one of the guitarists doubled as the lead vocalist, while other members might sing background harmonies.

Like R&B, rock and roll music places a strong emphasis on the backbeat. These accents are very noticeable in Chuck Berry’s “rock and roll music,” which features snare drum accents on beats two and four.

Chuck Berry – “Rock and Roll Music”

Direct Link – https://youtu.be/k_F1mmC3Nhg (right click to open in a new tab) (this link opens in a new window/tab)

figure 8.9 Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley was one of the most important figures in the history of rock and roll, and one of the most celebrated recording artists of the twentieth century. He was born in Tupelo, Mississippi but grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. His recording career began in Memphis in 1954 when he worked with Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records. Elvis combined the sounds of country music and rhythm and blues into a style that was initially called rockabilly. Elvis soon moved to the RCA label, and his first single record “Heartbreak Hotel,” released in 1956, became the number one hit in the United States. By embracing music from both sides of the civil rights movement, Elvis became both very popular and very controversial at the same time. In many ways, he helped bring the popular music of African Americans into the mainstream of white society and paved the way for groups like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, who were heavily influenced by black artists. Elvis later branched out and recorded many successful ballads and rock tunes. He died of a drug overdose in 1977.  Listen to the blues influence in Elvis’s singing and the guitar and piano solos in “Heartbreak Hotel.”

Direct Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9BLw4W5KU8&feature=youtu.be (right click to open in a new tab) (this link opens in a new window/tab)

Composer:  Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton

Composition:  Heartbreak Hotel

Date:  1956 recording by Elvis Presley

Genre:  Rock and Roll

Form:  strophic

Nature of Lyrics:  About a hotel that embodies the feelings of being heartbroken

Performing Forces:  Elvis Presley – lead vocals, Scotty Moore – electric guitar, Chet Atkins – acoustic guitar, Bill Black – double bass, D.J. Fontana –
drums, Floyd Cramer – piano

What we want you to remember about this composition:

Each verse repeats the same form, always ending with “Heartbreak is so lonely…”
Each verse follows an 8-bar chord progression
Notice how Presley’s singing style is a mix of blues, country, and gospel influence
Timing    Text and Form
0:00    Verse 1:
Well, since my baby left me,
I found a new place to dwell
Its down at the end of lonely street
At heartbreak hotel.
Heartbreak is so lonely baby,
Heartbreak so lonely,
Heartbreak is so lonely I could die
0:21    Verse 2:
And although it’s always crowded,
You still can find some room
For broken hearted lovers
To cry away their gloom.
Heartbreak is so lonely baby,
Heartbreak so lonely,
Heartbreak is so lonely they could die
0:42    Verse 3:
Well, the bell hops tears keep flowin’
And the desk clerks dressed in black.
Well they been so long on lonely street
They ain’t ever gonna look back.
Heartbreak is so lonely baby,
Heartbreak so lonely,
Heartbreak is so lonely they could die
1:02    Verse 4:
Hey now, if your baby leaves you,
And you got a tale to tell.
Just take a walk down lonely street
To heartbreak hotel.
Where you will be lonely baby,
Where you will be lonely,
You’ll be so lonely you could die
1:22    Verse 5:
Guitar solo followed by piano solo
1:43    Verse 6:
And although it’s always crowded,
You still can find some room
For broken-hearted lovers
To cry away their gloom.
Heartbreak is so lonely baby,
Heartbreak so lonely,
Heartbreak is so lonely they could die
One of the most famous rock and roll groups of all time was The Beatles. This British group toured the United States in 1964 and changed the face of popular music and the recording industry from that time forward. The Beatles popularized the use of electric guitars as the basis of the modern rock band and went on to add strings, brass, organ, and other instruments to the list of instruments used in rock performances and recordings. Their use of straight eighth notes on the cymbals and accents on beats two and four on the snare drum are classic rock and roll rhythm elements. Most Americans are unaware of the influence that Chuck Berry and other American artists had on the style and content of the Beatles’ music.

The Beatles – “I Want To Hold Your Hand”

Direct Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jenWdylTtzs&feature=youtu.be (right click to open in a new tab) (this link opens in a new window/tab)

Rap
Rap is a form of spoken word delivered over a beat. It can be improvised or written out in advance. The history of rap music is intertwined with the history of hip hop and even disco music. An excellent history of hip hop and rap can be found on the Hiphop-Network site linked here and in the image below.

History of Rap clickable image link

While the origins of rap can be traced back to Africa, rap as we know it came into being in the Bronx, NY in the 1970s. However, not until the art form was recorded did it enter the cultural mainstream. One of the first important rap recordings was the 1979 hit, “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang. Kurtis Blow (Kurt Walker, born August 9, 1959) is the first rapper to sign with a major record label. “The Breaks,” a single from his 1980 debut album, is the first certified gold record rap song.

Kurtis Blow – “The Breaks” (1980)

Direct Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZDUEilS5M4 (right click to open in a new tab) (this link opens in a new window/tab)

By the 1990s, rap had evolved into a more sophisticated musical style featuring complex rhythms and clever wordplay. The instrumentation of rap music varies greatly depending on the artist and, often, the individual song. Early rap concerts featured DJs creating beats on turntables, which allowed the DJ to create music on the spot by playing and manipulating records. One well-known technique on the turntables is scratching, or improvising a rhythmic solo on one turntable over a beat.

A Tribe Called Quest is widely considered one of the greatest groups of the so-called golden age of hip hop during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Listen to the track below, “Can I Kick It” by A Tribe Called Quest. Like many rap songs, this track utilizes a technique called “sampling,” in which a clip of a preexisting song is isolated and looped underneath the rapper (in this case, the bass line for Lou Reed’s Walk On The Wild Side). The song also features the use of scratching mentioned above.

Direct Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3pyCGnZzYA (right click to open in a new tab) (this link opens in a new window/tab)

Composer:  A Tribe Called Quest (Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Phife Dawg, Jarobi White)

Composition:  “Can I Kick It”

Date:  1990

Genre:  Rap

Form:  Verse-chorus

Nature of Lyrics:  recited to a steady beat

Performing Forces:  Rap vocals over looped music backdrop incorporating a variety of musical samples from previous recordings
Rappers: Q-tip and Phife Dawg

What we want you to remember about this composition:

Listen for the verse-chorus form
The first verse features clever wordplay, with the last word of each phrase rhyming. Notice how the last syllable of each line slowly evolves from words like “cuz” and “fuzz” to “rug” and “hug” and finally to “love” and “shove.
In the second verse, most of the phrases rhyme on the sound “ayer” as in “layer”or “player”
Timing    Performing Forces, Melody, and Texture    Text and Form
0:00   
Q-Tip

Chorus or “Hook”:
Hey y’all, we is havin’ a ball
And you know they ask me to get on the MIC
And they ask me
Can I kick it? Word yes you can
Can I kick it? Yes you can
Can I kick it? Yes you can
Can I kick it? Yes you can
Can I kick it? Yes you can
Can I kick it? Yes you can
Can I kick it? Yes you can
Can I kick it? Yes you can
Can I kick it? Yes you can
Well I’m gone, gone
0:31   
Q-Tip

Verse 1:

Can I kick it? To all the people who can Quest like A
Tribe does
Before this, did you really know what live was?
Comprehend to the track, for it’s why cuz
Gettin measures on the tip of the vibers
Rock and roll to the beat of the funk fuzz
Wipe your feet really good on the rhythm rug
If you feel the urge to freak, do the jitterbug
Come and spread your arms if you really need a hug
Afrocentric living is a big shrug
A life filled with fun that’s what I lov
A lower plateau is what we’re above
If you diss us, we won’t even think of
Will Nipper the doggy give a big shove?
This rhythm really fits like a snug glov
Like a box of positives it’s a plus, love
As the Tribe flies high like a dov

2:20    Phife Dawg   
Verse 2:

Can I kick it? To my Tribe that flows in layers
Right now, Phife is a poem sayer
At times, I’m a studio conveyor
Mr. Dinkins, would you please be my mayor?
You’ll be doing us a really big favor
Boy this track really has a lot of flavor
When it comes to rhythms, Quest is your savior
Follow us for the funky behavior
Make a note on the rhythm we gave ya
Feel free, drop your pants, check your ha-ir
Do you like the garments that we wear?
I instruct you to be the obeyer
A rhythm recipe that you’ll savor
Doesn’t matter if you’re minor or major
Yes, the Tribe of the game, rhythm player
As you inhale like a breath of fresh air

3:00   
Phife Dawg

Hook:

Give it up Y’all! Ya don’t stop! Give it up Y’all! Ya don’t stop!
Give it up Y’all! Ya don’t stop! Give it up Y’all! Ya don’t stop!
Give it up Y’all! Ya don’t stop! Give it up Y’all! Ya don’t stop!
Give it up Y’all! Ya don’t stop! Give it up Y’all! Ya don’t stop!
Give it up Y’all! Ya don’t stop! Give it up Y’all! Ya don’t stop!
Give it up Y’all! Ya don’t stop! Give it up Y’all! Ya don’t stop!
Give it up Y’all! Ya don’t stop! Give it up Y’all! Ya don’t stop!
Give it up Y’all! Ya don’t stop! Give it up Y’all! Ya don’t stop!

1:17        EXPOSITION:  Repeats
From: Understanding Music: Past and Present

Attachments area
Preview YouTube video Hit the road Jack!

Preview YouTube video In The Stone – Earth Wind And Fire(1979)

Preview YouTube video Rock’n’ Roll Music

Preview YouTube video Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Hotel (Official Audio)

Preview YouTube video The Beatles – I Want To Hold Your Hand – Performed Live On The Ed Sullivan Show 2/9/64

Preview YouTube video Kurtis Blow-The Breaks

Preview YouTube video A Tribe Called Quest – Can I Kick It? (Official HD Video)

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