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Session 7 Zappa Presentation 1

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Dr Paul Carr   Zappa Talk
Dr Paul Carr Zappa Talk
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Session 7 Zappa Presentation 1

  1. 1. Frank Zappa – A Case Study In Musical Research Dr Paul Carr Research Skills Musicology
  2. 2. Current Zappa Based Publications <ul><li>Carr, P. and Hand, R. (2006) ‘An Experiment in Interdisciplinary Teaching: The Music Theatre of Frank Zappa’. Palatine, http://www.lancs.ac.uk/palatine/dev-awards/carr-hand-report.pdf </li></ul><ul><li>Carr, P and Hand, R.J. (2007) ‘Frank Zappa and musical Theatre: ugly ugly o’phan Annie and really deep intense, thought-provoking Broadway symbolism’. Studies in Musical Theatre 1:1, pp.41 – 56, dol: 10.1386/smt.1.1.41/1 </li></ul><ul><li>Carr, P and Hand, R.J. (2008)’Twist n’ frugg in an arrogant gesture: Frank Zappa and the musical-theatrical gesture’ Popular Musicology Online (March 2008). http://www.popular-musicology-online.com/issues/05/carr.html </li></ul><ul><li>Carr, P and Delville, M. (2009) ‘King Kong: a conversational analysis’. The Rondo Hatton Report, http://www.rhreport.net/current.html </li></ul><ul><li>Carr, P (2009) ‘An Autocratic Approach to Music Copyright? The means through which Frank Zappa translated and adapted both his own and other composers’ music’. Encontros de Investigação em Performance . Universidade de Aveiro. ISBN: 978-972-789-209-7 (Conference Proceedings) </li></ul><ul><li>Carr, P (2010) An Autocratic Approach to Music Copyright?: The potential negative impacts of restrictive rights on a composers legacy – The case of the Zappa Family Trust. Contemporary Theatre Review . Forthcoming 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  3. 3. Zappa Focused Conferences <ul><li>Fair Use, Grand Rights and the Zappa Family Trust: A legal and ethical examination of the enforcement of restrictive rights by a copyright holder. The IASPM-Norden 2010 Conference on MUSIC, LAW AND BUSINESS. Helsinki, November 2010. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Dickie’s Such An Asshole”: Frank Zappa, Popular Music and Politics . 20 th Century Music and Politics Conference. Bristol University. Bristol. April 2010. </li></ul><ul><li>The Big Note: The Ultimate Gesture: The incorporation of time and space in performing, composing, arranging and producing Frank Zappa’s music. The Fifth Annual Art of Record Production Conference . University of Glamorgan, Cardiff. November 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>“ Make a Sex Noise Here”: Frank Zappa, Sex and Popular Music. Sex und populäre Musik . Halle an der Saale, Germany. September 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>An Autocratic Approach to Music Copyright?: The means through which Frank Zappa translated and adapted both his own and other composers’ music . Performa 09 Encontros de Investigação em Performance . University of Evora, Portugal. May 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Frank Zappa: Researching a Musical Legend, The 20 th Zappanale Music Festival, Bad Doberan, Germany, August 2009 </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Locating Frank Zappa in a Multidisciplinary Context: An Introduction. Aalborg University, Denmark, March 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Frank Zappa: A Case Study in Musical Research . Trinity College, Carmarthen, October 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Twist n’ frugg in an arrogant gesture: Frank Zappa and the musical-theatrical gesture. Second International Conference on Music and Gesture . Royal Northern College of Music and Drama, July 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Ugly Orphan Annie and Really Deep, Intense, Thought-Provoking Broadway Symbolism. Song, Stage & Screen – Interdisciplinary approaches to the stage and Screen. University of Portsmouth, April 2006 </li></ul>
  5. 5. Why Frank Zappa (1940 – 1993)? <ul><li>A fascinating case study in intertextuality. </li></ul><ul><li>Represented a point of interest from both a musical and ‘extra-musical’ perspective . </li></ul><ul><li>Work includes ‘embodied’ and ‘designated’ meaning. </li></ul><ul><li>Interesting relationship between the ‘Song’ and the ‘Track’ </li></ul><ul><li>Interesting ‘Immediate’/’Hypermediate’ relationships in music </li></ul><ul><li>Polysemic </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Often very low ‘convention probability’ (unexpected happenings) </li></ul><ul><li>Interesting mix of ‘intentional’ and ‘extensional’ meaning </li></ul><ul><li>Interesting use of the recording studio </li></ul><ul><li>Zappa’s work not only represents an extraordinary confluence of styles , but a prolonged and considered interchange of musical t raditions </li></ul><ul><li>His constant, often simultaneous engagement with both high and low culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Etc, Etc </li></ul>
  7. 7. 1) Frank Zappa and Gesture: Principal Research Questions <ul><li>How do musical, physical and other gestures influence the implementation and interpretation of his music? </li></ul><ul><li>How/Why was Zappa’s music described as rock despite its numerous incongruous influences? </li></ul><ul><li>How/Why were the more “serious” aspects of his music usually juxtaposed with humour and frivolity? </li></ul><ul><li>Overall intention was to begin to explain the processes that underlie his multifaceted performances and recordings </li></ul>
  8. 8. Who is Frank Zappa?
  9. 19. The Effect Of Zappa’s Sustained But Uneasy Interface With High And Low Culture <ul><li>‘ Rock Star’ persona played a substantial part in informing his audience how to categorise his work </li></ul><ul><li>Utilised the archetypal clichés of the Rock tradition to compartmentalise his work into as lucrative a direction as possible. For Example: </li></ul>
  10. 20. Instrumentation of Live Band
  11. 21. Guitar Solos
  12. 22. Image, performance practices and stage presence
  13. 23. Stylistic Features of music (often)
  14. 24. Some Compositional Techniques (Band as compositional tool)
  15. 25. Album Packaging and publicity.
  16. 27. Example of some of these processes in practice (Peaches and Regalia) <ul><li>Play Video </li></ul>
  17. 28. Examples of continuous and progressive contradictions against the rock aesthetic
  18. 29. Musical/Stylistic Features <ul><li>‘ The The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet’ and </li></ul><ul><li>‘ It Can’t Happen Here’. ( Freak Out, 1966) </li></ul><ul><li>Who Are The Brain Police. ( Freak Out , 1966) </li></ul>
  19. 30. Composed 2 Film Scores in early 60’s ( The Worlds Greatest Sinner and Run Home Slow)
  20. 31. 200 Motels (1971)
  21. 32. Numerous orchestral albums
  22. 33. Pioneering jazz/rock albums
  23. 34. Radio Plays – ‘The Adventures of Gregory Peccary’, ‘Billy the Mountain’
  24. 35. Computer based albums
  25. 36. Image, Performance Practices and Stage Presence ( Conducting) <ul><li>Conducting band since mid 1950’s – entitled it ‘Conduction’ </li></ul><ul><li>Gave instructions (specific and improvisatory) to band and sometimes audiences! </li></ul><ul><li>Alluded subliminal messages regarding his dominant hierarchical position and musical merit </li></ul>
  26. 37. Dichotomies instigated in the mindset of audiences <ul><li>Is the music Rock, Jazz or Classical? </li></ul><ul><li>High or low art? </li></ul><ul><li>Controlled or open? </li></ul><ul><li>Improvisatory or notated? </li></ul><ul><li>Serious or frivolous? </li></ul><ul><li>Complex or simple? </li></ul><ul><li>Elitist or vernacular? </li></ul>
  27. 38. Complexity Of Style and Integration Of Tradition <ul><li>Rock founded style/genre usually present, but his constant interface with other styles and genres make describing his music unusually problematic. </li></ul><ul><li>Can be described with Bakhtin’s notion of centripetal and centrifugal forces. </li></ul><ul><li>In Zappa’s case, Rock is the centripetal force, with other other sub styles/traditions (Doo- wop, Reggae, Blues, etc) acting as centrifugal “destabilising forces”. </li></ul><ul><li>However - Zappa’s use of music, and involvement with music outside of the tradition has a more profound effect on the stylistic balance and ultimate reception of his music. </li></ul><ul><li>Zappa’s long-term relationship with contemporary classical music represents not just a juxtaposition of style, but a confluence of traditions </li></ul>
  28. 39. Rock Blues Jazz CLASSICAL Reggae Doo Wop 'Low' Art 'High' Art
  29. 40. <ul><li>Zappa’s long term incorporation of classical music was intentionally progressive – he stated in 1968: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Stravinsky in rock n’ roll is like a get-acquainted offer… It’s a gradual progression to bring in my own ‘serious’ music” </li></ul><ul><li>Explicitly but subtly integrated classical gestures into his early portfolio, gradually increasing the propensity of the statements in individual compositions, and eventually albums </li></ul>
  30. 41. <ul><li>Early examples include: </li></ul><ul><li>Puns that allude to classical titles (EG – ‘Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask’) </li></ul><ul><li>Direct quotations from the canon (EG ‘Fountain of Love’) </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledgement of relevant influences </li></ul><ul><li>Compositional Intent </li></ul>
  31. 42. <ul><li>In 1967 Zappa took this process a stage further, by interspersing an entire album Lumpy Gravy (1967) – which makes extensive use of an orchestra – between the more centripetal rock forces of Absolutely Free (1967) and We’re Only in it for the Money (1968) </li></ul><ul><li>A process he repeated with Orchestral Favourites (1979) ( Between Sheik Yerbouti (1979) and Joe’s Garage Act I (1979)). </li></ul><ul><li>And later - London Symphony Orchestra Volume 1 (1983) (Between The Man from Utopia (1983) and Them or Us (1984)). </li></ul><ul><li>Towards end of life recorded three orchestral albums – a profound centrifugal gesture. </li></ul>
  32. 43. The impact of musical ‘tradition’ on the interpretation of the work. <ul><li>Song For My Father (Horace Silver) </li></ul>
  33. 44. Steely Dan <ul><li>Ricky Don’t Lose That Number </li></ul>
  34. 45. Art Music related philosophical concepts - ‘The ‘Big Note’ <ul><li>“ All the material in the albums is organically related and if I had all the master tapes and I could take a razor blade and cut them apart and put it together again in a different order, it still would make one piece of music you can listen too”. </li></ul><ul><li>Constantly rearranged earlier compositions as outlined above </li></ul><ul><li>Constantly included recorded samples of earlier recordings in ‘new’ works. </li></ul><ul><li>Aligned the old with the new. </li></ul><ul><li>Self Plagiarism?? – He commented: </li></ul>
  35. 46. <ul><li>“ When a novelist invents a character. If the character is a good one, he takes on a life of his own. Why should he get to go to only one party?” </li></ul>
  36. 47. <ul><li>Implemented this philosophy principally via three techniques that were diachronic and synchronic in nature. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Project/Object’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Conceptual Continuity’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Xenochrony’ </li></ul>
  37. 48. Project/Object <ul><li>Perceived a difference between the completed work of art in a recording (Object), and the ongoing process of redefining it (Project) </li></ul><ul><li>Many Zappa compositions are recomposed and defined over many years. </li></ul>
  38. 49. Examples of Project/Object <ul><li>Strictly Genteel </li></ul><ul><li>The Torture Never Stops </li></ul>
  39. 50. Conceptual Continuity <ul><li>Musical and non musical ‘Conceptual Continuity’ gestures were embedded into his entire creative output. </li></ul><ul><li>For example: </li></ul>
  40. 51. Examples Francesco Zappa (1984)
  41. 52. Them or Us (1984)
  42. 53. The Perfect Stranger (1984)
  43. 54. <ul><li>This ‘canine conceptual continuity’ was extended in his music with compositions such as: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Dirty Love” (1974) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Stinkfoot” (1974) </li></ul><ul><li>“ The Poodle Lecture” (1974) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Cheepnis” (1974) </li></ul>
  44. 55. Louie Louie <ul><li>Fragments of this track are found throughout his compositional portfolio. </li></ul><ul><li>For example: </li></ul>
  45. 56. Examples of incorporation of “Louis Louis” <ul><li>Original Track The Kingsman </li></ul><ul><li>“ Plastic People” ( Absolutely Free ) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Son of Suzy Cream cheese” ( Absolutely Free ) 1967 </li></ul><ul><li>“ Florentine Pogen” ( One Size Fits All ) 1974 </li></ul><ul><li>“ Jesus Thinks You’re A Jerk” ( Broadway The Hard Way ) 1984 </li></ul>
  46. 57. Xenochrony <ul><li>“ This collection is not chronological”, - any band from any year can be (and often is) edited to the performance of any other band from any other year – sometimes in the middle of a song” (Taken from YCDTOSA Volume 4, 1988) </li></ul><ul><li>Procedure that fuses music, performances and musicians from different time, spaces and places. </li></ul>
  47. 58. Examples <ul><li>“ Friendly Little Finger” ( Zoot Allures 1974) Bass and guitar recorded together, and combined with drums from another track (“The Ocean Is The Ultimate Solution” from Sleep Dirt ) </li></ul>
  48. 59. Rubber Shirt ( Sheik Yerbouti 1979)
  49. 60. Examples of painters who have employed similar techniques
  50. 61. René Magritte The Man With The Bowler Hat (1964)
  51. 62. The Son of Man (1964)
  52. 63. Golconda (1953)
  53. 64. Mysteries of the Horizon (1955)
  54. 65. Salvador Dali -Anthromomorphic bread (1932)
  55. 66. The Persistence of Memory (1931)
  56. 67. Disintegration of the Persistence of memory (1954)
  57. 68. Soft watch at the moment of explosion (1954)
  58. 69. The ghost of Vermeer Van Delft which can be used as a table (1934)
  59. 70. The weaning of furniture nutrition (1934)
  60. 71. Autumn Cannibalism (1936)
  61. 72. Sleep (1937)
  62. 73. The Burning Giraffe (1937)
  63. 74. Warrior (1982) Conceptual Continuity?
  64. 75. Examples of musicians who have incorporated similar processes <ul><li>Monteverdi - incorporating material from L’Orfeo in the 1610 Vespers </li></ul><ul><li>Prokoviev’s 3 rd Symphony - instrumental version of his opera Fiery An gel </li></ul><ul><li>Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Save The Life Of My Child’ ( Bookends 1968) - ‘samples’ part of ‘The Sound of Silence’ </li></ul><ul><li>Buffalo Springfield’s live version of ‘Broken Arrow’ incorporates a direct recording of their ‘Mr Soul’ </li></ul><ul><li>Pervasive throughout Hip Hop and some dance music. </li></ul>
  65. 76. Ontological Interest
  66. 77. Questions
  67. 78. Palatine Project <ul><li>Investigate viabilities of interdisciplinary teaching between Drama and Music </li></ul><ul><li>Proposed an ‘experiment’ – and documented a report demonstrating its effectiveness. </li></ul>
  68. 79. Project Aims <ul><li>Enable Staff from Drama and Music to work together </li></ul><ul><li>Assist the assimilation and awareness of sister disciplines </li></ul><ul><li>Assist a challenge for teaching staff who have little experience in other discipline </li></ul><ul><li>Consider other interdisciplinary units, and ultimately degree programmes. </li></ul>
  69. 80. The Process <ul><li>Students from both disciplines worked on – Zappa Fish – An Anti Off Off Off Broadway Musical . </li></ul><ul><li>Music and text of piece influenced by “Thing Fish”, and the Zappa portfolio in general. </li></ul><ul><li>Students worked in drama/music groups, prior to coming together toward the end (similar methodology to what Zappa himself employed) </li></ul><ul><li>Music/Drama staff – Transcribed the music in lead sheet form, documented the script, led rehearsals, and researched everything related to Zappa! </li></ul>
  70. 81. <ul><li>Once working together – students explored: </li></ul><ul><li>Musicological and dramatic challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Bilateral potential for integration into each others contexts </li></ul><ul><li>How can one art form substantiate the meaning of the other? </li></ul><ul><li>How Zappa’s philosophical approaches to art can be incorporated. </li></ul>
  71. 82. Potential Future Pedagogical Projects <ul><li>Interdisciplinary work exploring one or more of Zappa’s characters (Billy the Mountain, Gregory Peccary, ETC) </li></ul><ul><li>Interdisciplinary work exploring techniques such as Big Note, Conceptual Continuity, Archetypal American Music Icons, etc. </li></ul>
  72. 83. <ul><li>Academic text discussing his personal characteristics, political views, manipulation of the media, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Compositional work incorporating his concepts. </li></ul><ul><li>Could begin with either a musical or dramatic starting point </li></ul>
  73. 84. <ul><li>Critical discussion of the process. </li></ul><ul><li>Use of space between music and narrative </li></ul><ul><li>Potential for improvisation </li></ul><ul><li>Acting is good for popular music performers – taking on a character seems to be liberating. </li></ul>

Hinweis der Redaktion

  • Several of his works were conceptualised as musical theatre: Thing Fish (1984), Joe’s Garage (1979), ‘Billy the Mountain’ (Just Another Band from L.A. (1972)), as ‘The Adventures of Greggery Peccary’ (Studio Tan (1978))
  • How/Why did “non musical” gestures such as comic and absurdist theatricality in performance, dress code, album packaging, concert promotion, and political views influence the way his music was received?
  • Emerged in mid 1960’s – professional musician since leaving high school in late 50’s Gained experience as a jobbing musician, film composer, studio owner, and songwriter prior to mothers musician heavily influenced by the blues, doo-wop, orchestral arranging, and comedy theatre Almost developing an alter ego compulsion for twentieth-century classical music, especially the work of Edgard Varèse Freak Out in 1966 - Stylistic gestures such as sarcastic anti establishment lyrics, tape splicing, doo-wop influenced vocals, classical orchestration, rhythm and blues influence, and humorous complex material – all apparent. Artist who never compromised
  • Mention Game shows Performance detracts from seriousness of genre Pete Townsend arm spin followed by conducting gesture – alludes the the high art perspective of his music – appeals to both Juxtaposition of musical and performance based gestures conveys important social and cultural messages to audience – mixing low and high culture. Considered the composer superior to the band
  • Echard’s description of tradition as “a complex discursive category which correlates bundles of generic and stylistic features with specific social groups, places and histories”
  • For example “Invocation and Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin” ( Absolutely Free, 1967), and “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask” ( Weasels Ripped My Flesh, 1970). For example “Fountain of Love” ( Crusin’ with Ruben and the Jets, 1968) includes a quote from the opening theme of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. His first album Freak Out (1966) includes a substantive list of his major influences, which include Boulez, Kagel, Schoenberg, Varèse, and Stravinsky amongst many others. For example Absolutely Free (1967) was considered to be two oratorios, and included a “mini rock opera” – “Brown Shoes Don”t Make It”.
  • Between The Man from Utopia (1983) and Them or Us (1984).
  • P
  • For example The Perfect Stranger (1984), Franceseco Zappa, (1992) and Them or Us (1984) all featured Patricia the dog on their covers. This “canine conceptual continuation” can be also be found in musical form on “Dirty Love” (Overnite Sensationn,1973), “Stink foot” (Apostrophe, 1974) and &amp;quot;Cheepnis” (Roxy and Elsewhere, 1974).
  • This was exclusively a studio based technique that enabled him to horizontally fuse disparate recordings from unrelated time and places, consequently enabling him to superimpose “unrelated” guitar solos, usually from live recordings, into his studio projects aligning musical structures from completely incongruous composition The effect of this angular gesture often has a profound effect on the listener, in effect accentuating the disparate locations and spaces the tracks were originally recording in Research has indicated that if performers are sensitive to the gestural codes emanating from their audiences, it has a direct positive effect on their creative output
  • Like Zappa, he clearly regards aspects of his work not as finished products, but as part of an ongoing process which can be developed over many years. without an overarching gesture such as the Big Note , it would be easy to interpret Zappa’s “sampling” practices as at best self-plagiarism, but individuals taking this view are missing the profound conceptual continuity gesture which is so integral to his work
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 Zappa – scientifically recontextualised his life&apos;s work. Has been a major influence regarding broadening the stylistic pre-requisites of the Rock genre he has increasingly been accepted as a composer of concert music The Yellow Shark (1993) with the Ensemble Modern, has resulted in numerous concert and radio performances Ensemble Modern Plays Frank Zappa: Greggery Peccary and other persuasions (2004) Not the only artist operating on the boarders of high and low art forms during the late 1960’s – early 1970’s Deep Purple ( Concerto for Group and Orchestra, 1969), ELP ( Pictures at am Exhibition, 1971), Yes , The Moody Blues ( Days of Future Passed , 1967 Zappa – music for entertainment, although some had greater commercial success Few however engaged with the long term consistency, unpretentious complexity, and detached irony/strategic anti essentialism Zappa’s
  • Discuss how the above paradigms combined with his orchestral exploits make his music interesting from both perspectives. Allan Moore calls analysis of record the primary text Traditional musicology – based on rhythm and pitch Zappa’s holistic portfolio consequently has what Gracyk describes as ontological “thickness” in both areas