Analysing Popular Music: Theory, Method and Practise Essay

2544 Words 11 Pages
‘Analysing popular music: theory, method and practise’ (Tagg, 1982) is an article that illustrates brilliantly the issues and nuances of analysing and discussing popular music. It lays out a scientific method for achieving analytical goals, using some of Tagg’s previous work to help explain his methodology and process. In the first part of this essay, I will discuss the analysis of ‘Kojak Theme’ (Goldenberg, 1973) and ABBA’s ‘Fernando’ (ABBA, 1976) that Tagg writes about in his work.

Tagg’s method on analysis is based on hypothetical subsitition of musical material to provide a background to make an analysis. An example of this is when applies his model for analysis of museme stacks on page 89 to the ‘Kojak Theme’. He seperates the
…show more content…
His main argument through altering the real melody is to show that different esthesic meanings can be drawn from a melody that has the same musical material, with the structure of the material being the variable that alters the meaning we draw from it.

Tagg goes on to use ABBA’s ‘Fernando’ to help explain his methodology to analysising a larger musical set. He summeraises that there are three main processes taking part throughout the song, based around the ‘verse verse chorus verse chorus chorus’ structure of the piece. The first and third processes are the movement from verse to chorus, with the second being chorus to verse. Both sets of these are the same apart from the oppisite motion. Tagg ponders that the verse conjours an image of a ‘young European woman’, who is remenising about a previous conflict that she took part in with Fernando, who she is worried about. This extraction of meaning is created by several different factors; the lyric content ‘none of us prepared to die’ sung by a female vocalist; the lack of bass or drums implying sincerity; the angelic quality of the harmonies in the verse. The chorus provides us with a different image, with Tagg describing it as ‘here-and-now-at-home in pleasant, comfortable surroundings, reminising with relief’. The most interesting analysis Tagg provides of this piece is of the

Related Documents