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The Words and Music of Paul Simon


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Examines the songs, albums, and compositions of one of America's most prominent singer-songwriters.

About the Author

James Bennighof is Professor of Music Theory and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Policy at Baylor University. His articles and essays on twentieth-century music theory and composition, and on the analysis of American popular, ragtime, and blues music have appeared in journals such as American Music and the Journal of Music Theory. His choral compositions have been published by Oxford University Press and Heritage Music Press.


"Released in The Praeger Singer-Songwriter Collection, this volume focuses on how Simon relayed his life through his music. Bennighof looks at important influences and events in the musician's personal history, but only as they relate to his musical production. The coverage of Simon's recording career is well balanced....the volume includes a thorough discography and annotated bibliography. Since no biography of Simon has as yet been published, this book will be an important resource for those interested in Simon and popular music in general. Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above; general readers." - Choice
"Bennighof (music theory, Baylor U.) analyzes the music of singer- songwriter Paul Simon, discussing each song and album chronologically within the context of Simon's personal life and the musical and cultural setting. He considers how each song integrates text and music, specifically how the musical setting relates the text through form, style, harmonic structure, or other elements. He concludes with a brief analysis of Simon's creative identity, aesthetic perspective, and compositional methods. Both general readers and musicians could find the book accessible; an explanation of the musical elements the author refers to in the text is included in the appendix." - SciTech Book News

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