Presentation Title

For Those About To Rock: Aesthetics and Rhetoric in 20th-Century American Popular Music

Presenter Status

Graduate Student, Department of Music

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Session

History and Music

Location

Buller Hall Room 108

Start Date

6-5-2016 3:15 PM

End Date

6-5-2016 3:35 PM

Presentation Abstract

Popular music has been slowly growing in popularity among professional and academic musicians, but popular music lacks much of the aesthetic writings that classical music has. The purpose of this presentation is to show that popular music, from 1890’s blues and ragtime to present day rap and pop, has a place in many areas of today’s academic world by discussing classical aesthetic philosophies and rhetoric shown in popular music.

By utilizing classical rhetoric and classical aesthetic theories, popular music can be shown to have great artistic and literary value. In discussing the lyrics and musicality of popular music, we can display the aesthetic philosophies of philosophers like Kant, Schopenhauer, Baumgartner, and others to great effect. This presentation will draw from specific songs to fully illustrate the qualities and values presented.

Biographical Sketch

Zach Harris was has lived in Niles, MI for nearly all of his short life, and has long been passionate about music. During his undergrad and graduate work, he developed a love for philosophy, specifically ethics and aesthetics. For his project he was fortunate enough to combine the two. Zach has been completing a Masters of Arts in Music, specializing in popular musicology. Between this and his love of comic books, it has been an interesting path for his instructors and colleagues to say the least. If you see them, condolences would surely be appreciated.

Acknowledgements

Zach would like to thank the following people:

His parents, Mike and Meg, for their endless love and support, despite not completely understanding what I prattle on about.

His brother, Cody, for being my sounding board and participating in philosophical discussions/sparing matches long into the night, or at least until Taco Bell closes.

Cory and Alisha for dealing with me when I've been feeling rough about my progress and distracting me with YouTube videos, video games, movies, and comic books when I need it.

Gabby, for being a continuous source of humor in his life, without which I would probably look like a lunatic.

Dr. Lilianne Doukhan, for pushing me to be better and for her constant belief in me, even when I didn't believe in myself.

Marianne Kordas, for being the best boss, nay, leader, I have ever had. You have been supportive, a sympathetic ear, a sounding board, and understanding to a fault.

And to all of my MMC colleagues: you guys are awesome, and have helped me reach new understandings and listened to me when I needed to express an exciting new idea I had. You guys deserve medals. Or at least cake. Or pie, for Kathe.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
May 6th, 3:15 PM May 6th, 3:35 PM

For Those About To Rock: Aesthetics and Rhetoric in 20th-Century American Popular Music

Buller Hall Room 108

Popular music has been slowly growing in popularity among professional and academic musicians, but popular music lacks much of the aesthetic writings that classical music has. The purpose of this presentation is to show that popular music, from 1890’s blues and ragtime to present day rap and pop, has a place in many areas of today’s academic world by discussing classical aesthetic philosophies and rhetoric shown in popular music.

By utilizing classical rhetoric and classical aesthetic theories, popular music can be shown to have great artistic and literary value. In discussing the lyrics and musicality of popular music, we can display the aesthetic philosophies of philosophers like Kant, Schopenhauer, Baumgartner, and others to great effect. This presentation will draw from specific songs to fully illustrate the qualities and values presented.