Weeks 10–12: Traditional Theory and Pop Music

April 1: Form in pop music

Be sure you know how pop music formal terminology is used in academic settings, which can differ a little from vernacular settings. Read quickly through these two chapters in the new version of Open Music Theory: AABA and Strophic Form and Verse-Chorus Form.

Read .

Due Monday at noon

In Slack, find your thread in #partner-responses. Discuss one or more of de Clercq’s examples of ambiguity. State the formal label you would give this section and discuss the degree to which you agree with de Clercq that it is ambiguous. Has your opinion changed before/after reading?

Due Wednesday at noon

Respond to your partners’ essay with a statement of about 100 words.


April 8: Harmony

Even though most pop harmony is triadic, and is “simple” in that sense, its unique treatment of harmony can provide analytical interest.

Reading: . I will summarize in class if we have time.

Due Monday at noon

Find your thread in #partner-responses and post a response essay, about 500 words long.

More on response essays
A response essay is your personal take on the readings, and thus you shouldn’t be trying to write the “right answer,” but rather your opinion and reaction to what you’ve read. Remember that these are graded pass/fail, so anything you write is valuable in that sense. Feel free to use I/me pronouns and to freely express yourself (while remaining professional) and your opinion of the reading.

Due Wednesday at noon

Respond to your partners’ essay with a statement of about 100 words.


April 15: Rhythm

Rhythm is one of the ways in which pop music regularly offers greater complexity than art music.

Reading: .

Due Monday at noon

Find your thread in #partner-responses and post a response essay, about 500 words long.

More on response essays
A response essay is your personal take on the readings, and thus you shouldn’t be trying to write the “right answer,” but rather your opinion and reaction to what you’ve read. Remember that these are graded pass/fail, so anything you write is valuable in that sense. Feel free to use I/me pronouns and to freely express yourself (while remaining professional) and your opinion of the reading.

Due Wednesday at noon

Respond to your partners’ essay with a statement of about 100 words.


Bibliography

Readings are either in the Readings folder or are available online through the library.

Biamonte, Nicole. 2010. “Triadic Modal and Pentatonic Patterns in Rock Music.” Music Theory Spectrum 32 (2): 95–110. https://doi.org/10.1525/mts.2010.32.2.95.
Biamonte, Nicole. 2014. “Formal Functions of Metric Dissonance in Rock Music.” Music Theory Online 20 (2). http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.14.20.2/mto.14.20.2.biamonte.html.
Clercq, Trevor de. 2017. “Embracing Ambiguity in the Analysis of Form in Pop/Rock Music, 1982–1991.” Music Theory Online 23 (3). https://mtosmt.org/issues/mto.17.23.3/mto.17.23.3.de_clercq.html.
Nobile, Drew F. 2015. “Counterpoint in Rock Music: Unpacking the ‘Melodic-Harmonic Divorce.’” Music Theory Spectrum 37 (2): 189–203. https://academic.oup.com/mts/article-abstract/37/2/189/1083396.