Sara Anderson

“In the Pines”, “Black Girl”, or “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” is an excellent example of a song that has been recorded in many different genres. It’s my focus this time around because of it's an American Folk song with a bluesy sound, and because the two primary versions were recorded in different generations. Lead Belly’s 1940 version of the song, which was goes back to at least the 1870s, had an entirely different primary audience than Kurt Cobain’s. There are bluegrass and country versions as well, but Cobain’s most closely resembles Lead Belly’s.

Nirvana’s popularity popularized “alt rock”, specifically grunge. Because their music was so iconic to Generation X, it really impacted more than just the music that came after them. The way Americans consumed music developed into an issue of identity, which people were quite proud of. Since one version of the song was released posthumously, it only added to the impact of that song and the sound Cobain gave it.


Paulina Johnson

This song, originally by Arcade Fire, was meant to comment on life in the suburbs display the “dark side of the suburbs.”

If you listen to this song and watch its accompanying video, you will understand the mood that the artists intended for the track.

Their song was remixed and redone by an artist called Mr. Little Jeans. Her name is Monica Birkenes and she is an artist originally from Norway, known for her electro-pop style of music. She apparently is also a traveling DJ and has done shows in New York and Los Angeles, as well as abroad, to name a few examples.

Though an official video by the artist has not been produced, several videographers have taken it upon themselves to create short music videos for her version of the song.

Her soundcloud: __
Her facebook page: __

According to DJ Spooky, "the mixes created by a DJ to be mood sculptures operating in a recombinant fashion. Based on the notion that all sonic material can be manipulated with the same ease that computers now generate composite images, the DJ combines the musical expression of other musicians with their own and in the process creates a seamless flow of music. In this light, the sample operates as a kind of synecdoche - a focal/coordinate points in the dramaturgical grid of life. Call the mixes and songs generated by the assembly process of DJ'ing and sequencing etc. the social construction of memory. ..A mix, for me, is a way of providing a rare and intimate glimpse into the process of cultural production in the late 20th Century (Miller)."

“From turntables to samplers, technology helped bring this "mix mind" into being. But the mix also prepares us for the world of technology, a world where everything is interconnected, where every sound, image, and word imaginable can be translated into the universal lingo of the bit -- and then spliced anew. Indeed, music's role in the future of consciousness is hard to separate from technology's role in the future of consciousness -- not to mention technology's role in the future of music. At the most basic level, the emotions and desires of human beings probably do not change all that much, but you'd have to be a knucklehead not to see how email, brain drugs, and genetic engineering are changing our contemporary sense of self. And though you wouldn't know about it from reading Wired magazine, music technology has bred and continues to breed many of new mutations of the virtual age (Techgnosis)."

This excerpt from the techgnosis article highlights the blend of music and technology, and whether the result of this mixing sounds like Mr. Little Jeans, or more like T-Pain's auto-tuned voice, it is evident that music and technology are intermixed and will continue to be into the future.

Ellie Goulding is another artist whose music can be described as one of the “new mutations of the virtual age” as the Techgnosis article states.

works cited:


Stevie Chancellor - Week 12
Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Identity of a Band/Artist

I wanted to take this week's readings to explore what I am hoping will be my final paper topic - that is, the notion of authorship and ownership of music in the modern day. Since we are examining different forms of music, I thought about the chameleon-like quality of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (RHCP). They are chameleons in that they often times switch between genres even within an album but maintain the pieces of their band that makes them a "rock" band. What genres are they appropriating in their music? How do they maintain the coherence of being a rock band that plays with so many different forms?

"Cabron" - Red Hot Chili Peppers - From By The Way

"Sir Psycho Sexy" - Red Hot Chili Peppers - From Blood Sugar Sex Magik - (Lyrics are NSFW)

"Turn it Again"- Red Hot Chili Peppers - From Stadium Arcadium

Here are three examples of RHCP's music across the last 20 years. One of my favorite things about RHCP is that they combine influences from a variety of different genres into one album.

This combination of different pieces of the proverbial musical puzzle goes back to our discussions earlier in the semester about dialogic culture from Bakhtin and postmodernist understandings of identity from Hassan. Postmodernism is the vehicle that allows musicians to borrow and mash ideas together to produce new forms of understanding. Hassan characterized this as the idea of indeterminancy, that of "openness, fragmentation, ambiguity, discontinuity, decenterment, heterodoxy, pluralism."

RHCP's identity as a band is shaped by the music that they play, the styles they incorporate, the instruments they use, and the mixing technologies and studio equipment that they implement. For example, in "Sir Psycho Sexy", RHCP grounds their song in a thick bass intro with a slow rhythm. Anthony Kiedes, the lead vocalist, speaks the lyrics rather than singing them throughout the song. However, on "Cabron", RHCP goes in a different direction with its upbeat, happy guitar and complementart lyrics. They still rely on the elements from psychedelic and funk rock in many of their tracks, but the flavor of many songs is happier, almost Latin-inspired. Then we get "Turn It Again", which is what most people would associate with typical mainstream Chili Peppers - alternative rock with a strong guitar, deep bass by Flea, and catchy. How can they move across so many genres and still maintain continuity not only as a marketable entity but as a musical band? They have some many pieces that they like!

Stuart Hall discusses musical identity, saying that "...first, that identity is mobile, a process not a thing, a becoming not a being; second, that our experience of music - of music making and music listening - is best understood as an experience of this self-in-process" (Hall) RHCP maintains the same elements across most, if not all, of their songs - one lead vocalist, one guitarist, one bassist, and one drummer. Aside from a very recent change in guitarist, RHCP has maintained continuity with the members of its band across its widespread success. The mobile identity of RHCP, therefore, has some stable elements that we as listeners can recognize to connect it to a particular genre. Fans understand. Perhaps this stability is what allows them to be experiemental across forms of alternative rock?

Erik Davis argues that, "In turn this produces permanent conversations or cross-patterns between each drum, a dialogue which is also a complex dimension of difference introduced between elements that are themselves often quite repetetive and simple." The "complex dimension of difference" in the elements that RHCP pulls into its music are simple and unite together well. One could argue that psychedelic and funk rock favor heavy bass beats - RHCP's bassist is fairly accomplished and is featured on many songs. RHCP's authorship, even if it is fluid across several genres, favors concrete pieces of musicality across its history to unite it together. The expression may be novel but the ideas we hear are, as in Davis's words, "repetitive and simple."

Questions to consider: Does creating an identity for an author involve always keeping something the same? If we believe this, does the notion of identity as fluid fall if identity is the "core" of what some musician/person/society is? Can postmodernism accomodate this view of identity and authorship?

Works Cited

Erik Davis, "Roots and Wires: Polyrhythmic Cyberspace and the Black Electronic"
Ihab Hassan, "Postmodernism to Postmodernity?"" (excerpt from his book, The Postmodern Turn [1987])
Simon Frith, "Music and Identity" (from Stuart Hall and Paul Du Gay, eds., Questions of Cultural Identity, London: Sage, 1996).

Arielle Orem- Week 12 Wiki
Ima Read

I was introduced to this music video in another CCT class; it reminded me of a number of topics that we have discussed in this course such as dialogism/intertextuality, globalization, postmodernism and the breakdown of master racial narratives.

This video is dialogic in that it relies on the audience member to have knowledge of other cultural texts in order to interpret the video’s meaning. For example, the video is intertextual from the beginning as the cast and scene (two identical girls standing side by side in dimly lit corridors) reference scenes from the popular horror film The Shining. The haunting sound of the vocal introduction of the artists names adds to this intertextual reference. What may be implied by these references is the sense of being trapped: the audience is meant to understand that, similar to the girls in The Shining, these girls are being held captive by unseen (social) forces.

The next theme that emerges in the video is that of education. The setting for the video is a public school, indicated by the background scenes of library shelves, the uniforms worn by the cast, and the action scenes of classroom instruction and grading papers. The title and lyrics of the song discuss “reading” which has a dual meaning in this case: the first is the academic connotation in which reading is a way to access information/education/power, the second is a slang connotation in which reading is a way of telling another person something about herself. This music video is the artist’s medium for telling the audience about contemporary culture. By calling attention to racial tensions (the wearing of white masks as an inverted “blackface” and/or as the need for assuming whiteness in order to succeed), the artist is reading the audience and attempting to breakdown these racial narratives.

The musical accompaniment and the dancing shown in the video are an example of globalization and cultural hybridity. The influences of African song and dance are evident in the rhythm of the single drum and the movements of the dancing girls. These traditional African elements are combined with contemporary spoken word/rap stylings to create a unique sound.

Week 12: What's Your Take?
Elizabeth-Burton Jones

After many years of studying Ella Fitzgerald and the depth of her voice, I have been inspired to start singing more jazz. This change was pertinent when I recently performed at a gala and there were very strict music song choice regulations. My options were jazz, Broadway, or Barbara Streisand (I included Coldplay to this list). That being said, I began to look at a few different songs. In the end, I chose “The Boy from Ipanema”. One thing I noticed when studying the music, was the endless possibilities in note construction. Typically, it is expected that a singer follows the notes and follows the strict guidelines of the music. But what about the notes that an artists feels that cannot be written down. This can be observed through the jazz music and looking at the different spins on the same songs. After listening to the music it is up to the person to decide which song he or she likes the most. In a contemporary sense, we can look at the hybridity of contemporary jazz and then complex cultures.

Different variations of the same song:

The Contemporary Jazz Artist

The Contemporary Hybrids:

So what does this mean?
I included the different versions to further examine the way that music can change and have variety. Then I placed a few hybrid songs that I think exemplify the concept of "mashup".

I am still trying to find why this is pertinent. I think the changing notes and musical construction is very important because of the history of music. Also, they are very important in the realm of musical theory. For instance, when studying music, you are trained. You are formed. Deviating from the music is bad. I know this because I usually add grace notes (extra notes). Depending on the crowd, grace notes appear to be very rebellious and not true to the author. These notes reflect a new "remix" of the song. These grace notes are very brief, yet are very important to the butterfly effect of the remix. It is in these brief remixes that are seen all over the globe, that classical music is being washed away. Is this positive? It means that the music is evolving, but how much is too much? They become a part of the cultural history.

Quotes from the readings:
These new social and psychic morphologies demand that we reimagine space itself.”
"as long as you know where home is"
“…..There will be fewer chords but infinite possibilities as to what to do with them."
Works Cited:

Week 12: Music, Video, Media Remix (Continued)
Ain't gonna Study War No Mo'

While finishing this week’s reading I noticed the trend of focusing on the hybridization in musical genres slowly forming from the social implications of certain ages and/or eras. The best example I could express was gospel music, which is a genre that has been remixed and made new in numerous of ways. The song that I will focus on is “Down by the Riverside”.

“This great old spiritual has a long history that has seen it popular in a number of styles and… Today it is alive as a favorite gospel tune, an anti-war anthem that has evolved for more than a century of wars,… it is ideal for the study of spirituals and for a celebration of African American History Month”, according to

Multiple arrangements have used instruments such as screaming wind section, blues guitar, gospel organ and countless others. The hybridization has not stopped and the influence of culture affects the gospel genre today.

Below you find a video of Mahalia Jackson singing the popular song, staying true the original melodies and lyrics. Next you will find a version of the song where it has been remixed and changed to suit the needs of today’s culture. The remix was done in the movie Fighting Temptations, where the singers turn the song into a rap song adding beats, fast paced rhythms and new semantics geared to attracting younger listeners. The song originally discussed no more war in the country and living in peace and the new song discussed personal wars and issues young people struggle with today (e.g. drugs, liquor, crime, excessive partying). The style of music and words has changed so other audiences can relate to the music during a time change within the culture.

Meggie Schmidt

This weeks readings focused on the changes in music that are viewed as innovations in modern society and culture. Changes in music not only create new and different sounds, but they look to past musician, combining different genres, and providing a new source of entertainment that generates discussion. For this weeks readings on remixing music I chose to continue to discuss the regional location of New Orleans, Louisiana. The area is dense with new and old musicians who continue to bridge the gap between different genres and are thus a hybridization of many musical forms.

Amanda Shaw, a local New Orleans musician, is known as a singer and as a Cajun fiddler. “The New Orleans native is a pioneer of the new breed of young, roots-based musicians who have embraced both the traditional sounds of Louisiana and the pop sounds of the mainstream” ( She was classically trained as a violinist and then became exposed to many other forms of music. She incorporates the sounds of her roots into mainstream music, making her not only unique but appealing to a vast majority of people locally as well as internationally.

Around 4:45

Another hybridization of music from the regional location of New Orleans comes from the Rebirth Brass Band. They have become known for their use traditional brass music along with other New Orleans genres such as funk, jazz, soul, and hip hop, as well as some modern components. Their music is known as “heavy funk” and is different from mainstream music in that it incorporates so many different forms of music into one distinctive sound that has often been called “the soundtrack to an entire city” (

Rebirth Brass Band from Wax Poetics on Vimeo.

Lastly, another regional music example from New Orleans is Flow Tribe. They are known as a funk rock band. The group came together in 2004, making them fairly new to the music scene. “They create “backbone cracking music”, a soul shaking mixture of styles and sounds guaranteed to drive you wild. A relentlessly touring band that plays major venues and festivals around the country bringing with them a heat and passion best described as “bizarrely irresistible”” (

Through these musicians, all from the regional location of New Orleans, hybridization has become defined in terms of culture and specific impacts on their creation of music. Many have chosen to reflect on other retro forms of music and incorporate it into contemporary culture while others have taken distinct New Orleans genres such as jazz, brass, Cajun, and blues to tie into their music. Despite their tools use to create music or their interpretation of music, they all have in common the culture of New Orleans. It is unique and I believe that the cities diverse cultural history has really been a major component in each musician or band creating a sound different from mainstream music.


Instrument Identities
Lauren Jones

This weeks readings in class focused on the social implications brought on by musical genres of the age and/or era i.e. The British Invasion, The Jass/Jazz Age, Psychadellic Rock, etc. It’s true, music defines a generation and a generation (the history) defines its music. In essence, people within various cultures and eras build their worlds around music.

Yes, music helps us maintain and bolster our identities; however, what of the identities of the instruments themselves? What stereotypes and personal characteristics do we, as listeners, lay on our instruments and the musical genre of which we appropriate them.

Take for instance the ukelele. The ukelele is the traditional instrument of Hawaii and as such is present in every island-themed, sunshine-y, beachside song in most of musical history.

At present, the ukelele has begun to make a bit of a comeback. Perhaps, in these economically depressed times, it exists as a cheaper option for musicians. Or, maybe, it’s the fact that it is so easy to learn. Whatever the reason, the ukelele’s identity is becoming more and more versatile in modernity.

Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra: Punk Rock

Danielle At The Sandwich: Signer/Songwriter

Tina & Her Pony: Country

Jake Shimabukuro: "Uke God"

Swallow Hill Music’s Ukefest is the bomb dot com! For serious!

And, because I love Paper Bird: Paper Bird is one of my favorite bands. They are comprised of three female harmonic voices, a guitar/steel guitar, standing bass, trombone (formally), trumpet and banjo (and, recently added, drums). The sound follows that of country, bluegrass, swing and jazz influences. And, they wrote a ballet! Rad!


Elisabet Diaz

“La Rumba Catalana” is a music genre that bloomed during the 50’s in Barcelona and it is still very active in the Spanish pop music scene. Referring to this genre one of its figures, El Gato Pérez stated once “The Rumba (Catalana) was born in the streets, daughter of Cuba and a Gypsy, and its sister is the Habanera which lives among sailors.” The Afro-Cuban sounds pervaded deep into flamenco during the first half of the twentieth century. Flamenco is divided by “Palos” (different categories or styles within flamenco) depending on rhythm pattern, mode, stanza among others features. One of this “palos” is the tango and within this category we find the Rumba. The most significant figures of Flamenco, Paco de Lucía and Camarón de la Isla experimented with rumba style in some of their most famous singles.

In 1898, after the Spanish-American War, Spain lost the two last colonies in American Territory, Cuba and Puerto Rico. Ironically, they were the first lands conquered by Colón almost five hundred years before. During all these years Cuba shaped a unique personality created by the Cuban creoles (born in Cuba of European descents) in which the secular African Music was the pillar in the construction of the actual Afro-Cuban Music. The rumba is one of the most popular genres in Afro-Cuban music, a synchrony between the African rythms and flamenco style.

Guaguancó Rumba

Flamenco’s adoption of rumba style was a natural expression. First, Flamenco music and dance was born from the amalgamation of rythms and emotions of the Spanish outcast population (gipsys, muslims, jews and Spanish). Second, as stated before, Flamenco was already part of of the Cuban Rumba. However, today’s Rumba Flamenca greately differs from the Cuban Rumba but it preserve two characteristics; first, is based rhythmically on a modified tresillo rythm (an Afro-Cuban rythm) that groups eight beats into a repeating pattern of 3+3+2” (Dumas) and secondly, it holds the Cuban feature of singing in return song style.

During the 50’s, La Rumba Flamenca became popular in Barcelona creating a subgenre named “Rumba Catalana”. Its festivity, popularity and hybrid style has been very influential in contemporary Spanish music. One example is the music of Manu Chao, a Barcelona based French musician that gain international diffusion at the end of the nineteenth with the album, Clandestino. Manu Chao mixes Reggae, Rumba and Ska rythms, with lyrics in Spanish, French and Arabic. The combination is a lively, energetic and engaging music.

“This is Ska”

Manu Chao, Song: "La Rumba de Barcelona."

Maybe the most famous International song with Rumba Flamenca was La Macarena
during the Clinton Campaign, a song that reflects how rumba can be used in Pop Music for commercial purposes.

Tony Dumas: (Re)Locating Flamenco: Bohemian Traditions and Cosmopolitan Styles in Northern California.

Referencia del flamenco
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Sagorika Sen

This week's reading on the creation of new musical genres thanks to western influences made me think about bollywood music and the sub cultures formed as a result of it. Bollywood releases close to 1000 films a year and every film has a musical soundtrack. To say that all of these songs are original would be a blatant lie. So Bollywood copies and how :

Bollywood music videos are that perfect example of genre mixing in terms of visuals as well.

At 2:10 the similarities between the two start to seep in.
Contemporary music is now global, international, and transcultural, most often involving creative adaptations and new fusions of the US-European musical archive with other cultural sources. AR Rahman's Jai ho was given it's own interpretation by the Pussycat Dolls. I feel that music genres are losing their distinct identity with cultures transcending borders to find new styles of music.
New contemporary bollywood music has a very Rock and alternative feel to it.
Bollywood is becoming more adventurous and exploring global styles to feed it's audiences.