How Music Works is David Byrne’s incisive and enthusiastic look at the musical art form, from its very inceptions to the influences that shape it, whether acoustical, economic, social or technological. Utilizing his incomparable career and inspired collaborations with Talking Heads, Brian Eno, and many others, Byrne taps deeply into his lifetime of knowledge to explore the panoptic elements of music, how it shapes the human experience, and reveals the impetus behind how we create, consume, distribute, and enjoy the songs, symphonies, and rhythms that provide the backbeat of life. Byrne’s magnum opus uncovers ever-new and thrilling realizations about the redemptive liberation that music brings us all.
It’s a sad fact: hip-hop album liners have always been reduced to a list of producer and sample credits, a publicity photo or two, and some hastily composed shout-outs. That’s a damn shame, because few outside the game know about the true creative forces behind influential masterpieces like PE’s It Takes a Nation of Millions. . ., De La’s 3 Feet High and Rising, and Wu-Tang’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). A longtime scribe for the hip-hop nation, Brian Coleman fills this void, and delivers a thrilling, knockout oral history of the albums that define this dynamic and iconoclastic art form.
The format: One chapter, one artist, one album, blow-by-blow and track-by-track, delivered straight from the original sources. Performers, producers, DJs, and b-boys–including Big Daddy Kane, Muggs and B-Real, Biz Markie, RZA, Ice-T, and Wyclef–step to the mic to talk about the influences, environment, equipment, samples, beats, beefs, and surprises that went into making each classic record. Studio craft and street smarts, sonic inspiration and skate ramps, triumph, tragedy, and take-out food–all played their part in creating these essential albums of the hip-hop canon.
Insightful, raucous, and addictive, Check the Technique transports you back to hip-hop’s golden age with the greatest artists of the ’80s and ’90s. This is the book that belongs on the stacks next to your wax.
“Brian Coleman’s writing is a lot like the albums he covers: direct, uproarious, and more than six-fifths genius.”
–Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop
“All producers and hip-hop fans must read this book. It really shows how these albums were made and touches the music fiend in everyone.”
–DJ Evil Dee of Black Moon and Da Beatminerz
“A rarity in mainstream publishing: a truly essential rap history.”
–Ronin Ro, author of Have Gun Will Travel
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Born in a small mountain village near the intersection of the Great Wall and the Yellow River in a border region with a rich history of migration, Wang Xiangrong was exposed to a wide range of songs as a child. The songs of Wang’s youth prepared him to create a repertoire of region-representing pieces and mediate between regions, nations, and multinational corporations in national and international performances. During the course of a career that included meeting Deng Xiaoping in 1980 and running with the Olympic torch in 2008, Wang’s life, songs, and performances have come to highlight various facets of social identity in contemporary China. Drawing on extensive fieldwork with Wang and other professional folksingers from northern Shaanxi province at weddings, Chinese New Year galas, business openings, and Christmas concerts, Song King argues that songs act as public conversations people can join in on. As song kings and queens fuse personal and collective narratives in performances of iconic songs, they provide audiences with compelling models for socializing personal experience, negotiating a sense of self and group in an ever-changing world.
Deep River elucidates how spirituals, African American concert music, the blues, and jazz became symbolic sites of social memory and anticipation during the Harlem Renaissance. Anderson traces the roots of this period’s debates about music to the American and European tours of the Fisk Jubilee Singers in the 1870s and to W. E. B. Du Bois’s influential writings at the turn of the century about folk culture and its bearing on racial progress and national identity. He details how musical idioms spoke to contrasting visions of New Negro art, folk authenticity, and modernist cosmopolitanism in the works of Du Bois, Alain Locke, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Sterling Brown, Roland Hayes, Paul Robeson, Carl Van Vechten, and others. In addition to revisiting the place of music in the culture wars of the 1920s, Deep River provides fresh perspectives on the aesthetics of race and the politics of music in Popular Front and Swing Era music criticism, African American critical theory, and contemporary musicology.
Deep River offers a sophisticated historical account of American racial ideologies and their function in music criticism and modernist thought. It will interest general readers as well as students of African American studies, American studies, intellectual history, musicology, and literature.
Focusing on a group of musicians from Bahia, an impoverished state in northeastern Brazil noted for its vibrant Afro-Brazilian culture, Christopher Dunn reveals how artists including Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, and Tom Ze created this movement together with the musical and poetic vanguards of Sao Paulo, Brazil's most modern and industrialized city. He shows how the tropicalists selectively appropriated and parodied cultural practices from Brazil and abroad in order to expose the fissure between their nation's idealized image as a peaceful tropical "garden" and the daily brutality visited upon its citizens.
Danielson examines the careful construction of Umm Kulthum's phenomenal popularity and success in a society that discouraged women from public performance. From childhood, her mentors honed her exceptional abilities to accord with Arab and Muslim practice, and as her stature grew, she remained attentive to her audience and the public reception of her work. Ultimately, she created from local precendents and traditions her own unique idiom and developed original song styles from both populist and neo-classical inspirations. These were enthusiastically received, heralded as crowning examples of a new, yet authentically Arab-Egyptian, culture. Danielson shows how Umm Kulthum's music and public personality helped form popular culture and contributed to the broader artistic, societal, and political forces that surrounded her.
This richly descriptive account joins biography with social theory to explore the impact of the individual virtuoso on both music and society at large while telling the compelling story of one of the most famous musicians of all time.
"She is born again every morning in the heart of 120 million beings. In the East a day without Umm Kulthum would have no color."—Omar Sharif
Drawing on over a decade of fieldwork in the Dominican Republic and New York among musicians, fans, and patrons of merengue típico—not to mention her own experiences as a female instrumentalist—Hutchinson details a complex nexus of class, race, and artistic tradition that unsettles the typical binary between the masculine and feminine. She sketches the portrait of the classic male figure of the tíguere, a dandified but sexually aggressive and street-smart “tiger,” and she shows how female musicians have developed a feminine counterpart: the tíguera, an assertive, sensual, and respected female figure who looks like a woman but often plays and even sings like a man. Through these musical figures and studies of both straight and queer performers, she unveils rich ambiguities in gender construction in the Dominican Republic and the long history of a unique form of Caribbean feminism.
Founded in Hungary in 1975 and now based in Boulder, Colorado, the Takács is one of the world’s preeminent string quartets, and performances of Beethoven have been at the center of their work together for over forty years. Using the history of both the Takács Quartet and the Beethoven quartets as a foundation, Beethoven for a Later Age provides a backstage look at the daily life of a quartet, showing the necessary creative tension between individual and group and how four people can at the same time forge a lasting artistic connection and enjoy making music together over decades. The key, Dusinberre reveals, to a quartet crafting its own sound is in balancing continuity with change and experimentation—a theme that lies at the heart of Beethoven’s remarkable compositions. In an accessible style, suitable for novices and chamber music enthusiasts alike, Dusinberre illuminates the variety and contradictions of Beethoven's quartets, which were composed against the turbulent backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars and their aftermath, and he brings the technical aspects of the music to life.
Beethoven for a Later Age vividly shows that creative engagement with Beethoven’s radical and brilliant quartets continues to be as stimulating now as it was for its first performers and audiences. Musicians and music lovers will be intrigued by Dusinberre’s exploration of the close collaboration at the heart of any great performance.
This revised and expanded version features:
* Twenty-seven new illustrations
* Recent developments in the region's music, such as the emergence of reggaetón and timba
* A new and extensive study of Jamaican dancehall
Part One provides an in-depth introduction to the area of Latin America and describes the history, geography, demography, and cultural settings of the regions that comprise Latin America. It also explores the many ways to research Latin American music, including archaeology, iconography, mythology, history, ethnography, and practice. Part Two focuses on issues and processes, such as history, politics, geography, and immigration, which are responsible for the similarities and the differences of each region’s uniqueness and individuality. Part Three focuses on the different regions, countries, and cultures of Caribbean Latin America, Middle Latin America, and South America with selected regional case studies.
The second edition has been expanded to cover Haiti, Panama, several more Amerindian musical cultures, and Afro-Peru. Questions for Critical Thinking at the end of each major section guide focus attention on what musical and cultural issues arise when one studies the music of Latin America -- issues that might not occur in the study of other musics of the world. Two audio compact discs offer musical examples of some of the music of Latin America.
Wirtz analyzes a variety of performances and the ways they construct Cuban racial and historical imaginations. She offers a sophisticated view of performance as enacting diverse revolutionary ideals, religious notions, and racial identity politics, and she outlines how these concepts play out in the ongoing institutionalization of folklore as an official, even state-sponsored, category. Employing Bakhtin’s concept of “chronotopes”—the semiotic construction of space-time—she examines the roles of voice, temporality, embodiment, imagery, and memory in the racializing process. The result is a deftly balanced study that marries racial studies, performance studies, anthropology, and semiotics to explore the nature of race as a cultural sign, one that is always in process, always shifting.
Rommen sets his investigation against a concisely drawn, richly historical narrative and introduces a theoretical approach which he calls the "ethics of style"—a model that privileges the convictions embedded in this context and that emphasizes their role in shaping the terms upon which identity is continually being constructed in Trinidad. The result is an extended meditation on the convictions that lie behind the creation and reception of style in Full Gospel Trinidad.
Copub: Center for Black Music Research
Cathy Ragland, an ethnomusicologist and former music critic, serves up the fascinating fifty-year story of música norteña, enlivened by interviews with important musicians and her own first-hand observations of live musical performances. Beyond calling our attention to musical influences, Ragland shows readers the social and economic forces at work behind the music. By comparing música norteña with other popular musical forms, including conjunto tejano, she helps us understand and appreciate the musical ties that bind the Mexican diaspora.
Have you ever wanted to host a full evening of Indian food, culture, and music? How about preparing a traditional Balinese banquet? Or take a trip to Cairo and enjoy an Egyptian feast? The Ethnomusicologists' Cookbook takes you around the world on a culinary journey that is also a cultural and social odyssey.
Many cookbooks offer a snapshot of individual recipes from different parts of the world, but do nothing to tell the reader how different foods are presented together, or how to relate these foods to other cultural practices. For years, ethnomusicologists have visited the four corners of the earth to collect the music and culture of native peoples, from Africa to the Azores, from Zanzibar to New Zealand. Along the way, they've observed how music is an integral part of social interaction, particularly when it's time for a lavish banquet or celebration. Foodways and cultural expression are not separate; this book emphasizes this connection through offering over thirty-five complete meals, from appetizers to entrees to side dishes to desserts and drinks. A list of recommended CDs fills out the culinary experience, along with hints on how to present each dish and to organize the overall meal.
The Ethnomusicologists' Cookbook combines scholarship with a unique and fun approach to the study of the world's foods, musics, and cultures. More than just a cookbook, it is an excellent companion for anyone embarking on a cultural-culinary journey.
Goertzen traces fiddling and fiddle contests from mid-eighteenth-century Scotland to the modern United States. He takes the reader on journeys to the important large contests, such as those in Hallettville, Texas; Galax, Virginia; Weiser, Idaho; and also to smaller ones, including his favorite in Athens, Alabama. He reveals what happens on stage and during such off-stage activities as camping, jamming, and socializing, which many fiddlers consider much more important than the competition.
Through multiple interviews, Goertzen also reveals the fiddlers' lives as told in their own words. The reader learns how and in what environments these fiddlers started playing, where they perform today, how they teach, what they think of contests, and what values they believe fiddling supports. Southern Fiddlers and Fiddle Contests shows how such contests have become living embodiments of American nostalgia.
Politicians and cultural critics have long criticized kwaito for failing to provide any meaningful contribution to a society that desperately needs direction. As Steingo shows, however, these criticisms are built on problematic assumptions about the political function of music. Interacting with kwaito artists and fans, he shows that youth aren’t escaping their social condition through kwaito but rather using it to expand their sensory realities and generate new possibilities. Resisting the truism that “music is always political,” Steingo elucidates a music that thrives on its radically ambiguous relationship with politics, power, and the state.
With rare and captivating eloquence, Narayan portrays Kangra songs about difficulties on the lives of goddesses and female saints as a path to well-being. Like the intricate geometries of mandalu patterns drawn in courtyards or the subtle balance of flavors in a meal, well-crafted songs offer a variety of deeply meaningful benefits: as a way of making something of value, as a means of establishing a community of shared pleasure and skill, as a path through hardships and limitations, and as an arena of renewed possibility. Everyday Creativity makes big the small world of Kangra song and opens up new ways of thinking about what creativity is to us and why we are so compelled to engage it.
The text assumes no prior musical knowledge and emphasizes listening as a pathway to learning about music and culture. The subject matter fulfills core, general education requirements found today in the university curriculum. The salient musical and cultural features associated with each example are discussed in detail to increase appreciation of the music, its history, and meaning to its primary audience.
NEW to this edition
Updates to content to reflect recent developments in resources and popular music trends.
Contributing authors in additional areas, including Folk Metal, Chinese Ethnic Minority Rock, and Trinidadian Steel Drum and Soca.
"Artist Spotlight" sections highlighting important artists, such as Mary J. Blige, Bob Marley, Tito Puente, Enya, Umm Kulthum and more.
"Ad-lib Afterthought" sections and "Questions to Consider" to prompt further discussion of each chapter.
Lots of new photos!
Updated and additional website materials for students and instructors.