Analysing Popular Music: Image, Sound and Text by David Machin

By David Machin

Popular track is much greater than simply songs we hearken to; its meanings also are in album covers, lyrics, subcultures, voices and video soundscapes. Like language those parts can be utilized to speak complicated cultural rules, values, options and identities.

Analysing well known track is a full of life examine the semiotic assets present in the sounds, visuals and phrases that contain the ‘code ebook’ of well known tune. It explains precisely how renowned track involves suggest rather a lot. choked with examples, routines and a word list, this booklet offers the reader with the data and talents they should perform their very own analyses of songs, soundtracks, lyrics and album covers.


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Example text

In British punk culture this symbol was worn out of irony and a sense of disrespect. One of the McFly members wears half-length trousers connoting skater culture. Bands are able to build up a sense of their identity by using such symbols. Panofsky (1970) emphasised the way that such symbols could come to mean a set of attitudes. Often, however, the origins of these meanings become obscured by history so that they simply appear as natural. For example, he describes the gesture of lifting one’s hat as a form of greeting.

In real life we know how we should respond when someone smiles at us. We must smile back or offend. In the case of images while we know that there will not be the same kind of consequences if we don’t respond appropriately, we still recognise the demand. Where the artists do not look out at the view there is a different kind of effect. Here there is no demand made on the viewer. No response is expected. This is what Kress and van Leeuwen (1996: 124) call an ‘offer image’. Here the viewer is offered the image as information available for scrutiny and consideration.

Salience refers to a set of basic principles whereby we identify which elements and features are the most important carriers of meaning. Modality, drawing on the work of Hodge and Kress (1989) and Kress and van Leeuwen (1996) is the analysis of the extent to which images or the elements in them resemble or are different to naturalistic truth. Modality has been shown to be important in the way that discourses can be assembled by conveniently concealing certain features and highlighting others (Machin and Thornborrow, 2003).

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