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The Musical Language of Rock


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Table of Contents

Preface About the Companion Website 1. Introduction 1.1 The music of rock 1.2 What is rock? 1.3 Controversial issues 1.4 The corpus 2. Scales and Key 2.1 Scales in rock: Previous views 2.2 A corpus approach to scales in rock 2.3 Key-finding 3. Harmony 3.1 The chordal vocabulary 3.2 Harmonic progression 3.3 The Line-of-fifths Axis 3.4 Common harmonic schemata 3.5 Linear and common-tone logic 3.6 Tonicization, cadences, and pedal points 4. Rhythm and Meter 4.1 Meter in rock 4.2 Syncopation and cross-rhythm 4.3 Harmonic rhythm 4.4 Hypermeter 4.5 Irregular meter 5. Melody 5.1 Melodic grouping 5.2 Motive, repetition, and rhyme 5.3 "Melodic-harmonic divorce" 5.4 Mediant mixture and "blue notes" 6. Timbre and Instrumentation 6.1 Approaches to timbre 6.2 Guitar 6.3 Drums 6.4 Other instruments 6.5 The recording process 7. Emotion and Tension 7.1 The valence dimension 7.2 The energy dimension 7.3 Complexity and tension 7.4 Groove 8. Form 8.1 Basic formal types 8.2 The blues progression 8.3 Verse and chorus 8.4 Other section types 8.5 Ambiguous and unusual cases 9. Strategies 9.1 The VCU boundary 9.2 The cadential IV 9.3 Tensional curves 9.4 Shaping a song 9.5 Scalar and tonal shift 10. Analyses 10.1 Marvin Gaye, "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" 10.2 Elton John, "Philadelphia Freedom" 10.3 Fleetwood Mac, "Landslide" 10.4 U2, "Sunday Bloody Sunday" 10.5 Alanis Morrisette, "You Oughta Know" 10.6 Destiny's Child, "Jumpin' Jumpin'" 11. Rock in Broader Context 11.1 The roots of rock 11.2 Stylistic distinctions and changes within rock 11.3 Interactions and fusions 11.4 Rock after 2000 References Index

About the Author

David Temperley is Professor of Music Theory at Eastman School of Music. He has published extensively in the fields of music cognition, music theory, and linguistics. His first book, The Cognition of Basic Musical Structures, won the Society for Music Theory's Emerging Scholar Award. He is also a composer and songwriter.


" . . . [T]he best book I know of on the subject. Prof. Temperley brings to bear his expertise in musical structure, statistical analysis, and cognition theory to music that he clearly loves, resulting in a thorough foundation covering everything from harmony to emotional content. A tour de force!" --Ken Stephenson, author of What to Listen for in Rock "This impressive book will be crucial reading for anyone interested in the theory and analysis of rock, and especially those seeking new and better ways to describe the 'aha' moments in the songs they love." --Mark Spicer, Professor of Music, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York

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