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Analysing Popular Music

Analysing Popular Music
Image, Sound and Text

March 2010 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Popular music is far more than just songs we listen to; its meanings are also in album covers, lyrics, subcultures, voices and video soundscapes. Like language these elements can be used to communicate complex cultural ideas, values, concepts and identities.

Analysing Popular Music is a lively look at the semiotic resources found in the sounds, visuals and words that comprise the 'code book' of popular music. It explains exactly how popular music comes to mean so much. Packed with examples, exercises and a glossary, this book provides the reader with the knowledge and skills they need to carry out their own analyses of songs, soundtracks, lyrics and album covers.

Written for students with no prior musical knowledge, Analysing Popular Music is the perfect toolkit for students in sociology, media and communication studies to analyse, understand - and celebrate - popular music.

Discourses of Popular Music
Album Iconography: Postures, Objects, Settings
Visual Composition: Typeface and Colour
Analyzing Lyrics: Values, Participants, Agency
Semiotic Resources in Sound: Pitch, Melody and Phrasing
Sound Qualities: Arrangement and Rhythm
Analyzing Genre: The Sounds of Britpop
Analyzing Music in Film
Analyzing Music in Video and Television

This book is engaging and informative, and should provide students with an analytical 'tool-kit' to improve their understanding of the complexities of popular music.

Dr Lyvinia Elleschild
School of Sociology and Law, university of plymouth
August 16, 2010

Recommended for the following modules:

BA - 2nd year Marcoms
BA - 3rd year Advertising
BA - 3rd year Branding

MA - Marcoms, Branding and Advertising

An interesting and insightful book, which will help students to consider the role of music in depth. Of particular use to dissertation students

Dr Jonathan Wilson
Marketing, Greenwich University
August 10, 2010

This textbook covers a very contentious debate about the relationship between: (a) popular music &; (b) youth issues. It clearly exposes the strength of such a relationship & discusses ways in which popular music can play a highly positive role in addressing (& overcoming) many problems which many young people can encounter throughout their adolescence,

Dr John Stitt
Youth & Community Dev., University of Cumbria
July 23, 2010

Just perfect on every level but particularly well broken down and accessible

Ms Paula Hearsum
Faculty of Arts & Architecture, Brighton University
July 22, 2010

This is an accessible and informative text, which introduces students to key concepts through the use of varied and relevant contemporary examples.

Mr David Surridge
Sociology , Sheffield Hallam University
July 12, 2010

Clear and accessible introduction to approaches and methods for the analysis of popular music.

Mr Anders Hansen
Department of Media and Communication, University of Leicester
July 12, 2010

fine for beginners!

Professor Dr. Christoph Jacke
Popular Music and Media, University of Paderborn
June 8, 2010

This is a well informed and clearly structured book with some useful insights that could act as a springboard for further classroom discussions. A really useful book that combines both the musicological and cultural aspects of popular music to enable a well rounded analysis of the form.

Mr Matt Grimes
Birmingham School of Media, Birmingham City University
June 6, 2010

I consider this to be an original and useful text for the study of popular music. It is written in a language that is easy to understand (for both musicians and non musicians alike) and has many incredibly useful concepts to inspire future research. I will be asking my library to include the text as supplementary reading on the course, and I will certainly be using the text in my lecture series next semester.

Dr Paul Carr
Creative and Cultural Industries, Glamorgan University
May 10, 2010

The book seems to fit perfectly into our course "The Aesthetics of Popular Culture in the 20th Century" (undergraduate course for international students); we are, however, planning to construct a new course with special focus on music and popular culture in intermedia studies (also for international students). The new course is due spring 2011. Intermedia studies focus on how meaning is constructed, which means that in order to analyse e.g. musical meaning one has to consider the way music is presented to us (the context); music is almost always multi- and intermedial (even so-called instrumental classical music). That's why Analysing Popular Music: Image, Sound and Text is a book fits into intermedia studies.

Dr Mats Arvidson
Arts and Cultural Sciences, Lund University
April 9, 2010

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter One



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