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° Rubrique About The World


ABOUT The World ...  

Par Claude Chastagner, professeur d'anglais à l'Université Paul Valéry à Montpellier.

"The Song Remains the Same".

On creativity in popular music.aniviolo.gif (8222 octets)Clic and Listen to music.mid 
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  "The Song Remains the Same".

However intellectually satisfactory, this theory, developed by white theoreticians, has obvious shortcomings. For instance, it posits black music as the essence of popular music, as the original form, free from any vile attempt at commercialisation. But this is simply not true. Many black genres developed because a market had been created, for example by technological innovations. Let us consider the case of blues music. 

It is the invention of the record that fueled a specific demand for a style which had to be more or less created, or at least customized, to fit the new requests. Recordings came to define the public's taste and consequently the whole genre. Besides, to describe black music as the only authentic, unspoiled source is naively romantic.


One may welcome the effort at political correctness and at re-establishing the value of African-American culture but the danger is to lapse into a Rousseauistic vision, ultimately leading to a truly racist position (what Derrida describes as "the remorse that produces anthropology", 114).

Moreover, the so-called authenticity of black music is an extremely ambiguous notion, which relies on myths and ready-made ideological categories. Frith and Horne explain that "in mass cultural theory, the separation of high and low culture really means different critical terms: high art is good or bad, low art is authentic or inauthentic. 

Rock & roll has conventionally been discussed in terms of its truth value, as a struggle between a spontaneous expression and the falsifying moves of the music industry" (147).

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° Rubrique About The World