The word 'genre' refers to a style or category so in music where
there are a range of different types of music it is a way putting
them all into individual categories due to their conventions and
similarities in musical style, clothing and attitudes. Genre’s usually
turn into a stereotype as it becomes an ideology of what the
audience expect to see however this is beneficial because it
allows the audience’s needs to be fulfilled, leading to more
satisfaction. This is why if bands or artists follow a popular genre,
it will lead to more popularity on their behalf as they are
following the needs of society. In this presentation I will be
focusing on the conventions and mise-en-scene within rock music
and how I will represent it in my print.
INSTITUTIONS AND GENRE
Institutions follow the conventions of genre’s to set up businesses,
events or films to suit people who admire the genre. This links the
Uses and Gratifications Theory that the purpose of genre is to
selectively group people of the same interests and hopefully build a
level of social solidarity however this can cause rivalry within groups if
not careful, for example, when Eminem ( a rap artist) performed at
Reading/Leeds in 2013 ( which is an alternative rock festival) , he was
criticised by audiences, leading to ‘booing’ from the audience, this
suggests that audiences did not appreciate the convergence of two
opposite genres. Furthermore, iconography could be responsible for
genre as it depends on the shared values and beliefs from individuals
which allows them to idolise figures.
EXAMPLES OF MUSIC GENRE’S
Pop R n B Classical
The genre I will focus on
in my feature.
THE BIRTH OF ROCK MUSIC
Rock Music came from the evolution of rock n roll in
the USA in the late 1960’s; inspired by artists such as
the Beatles, it became popular among young people.
This is why I am focusing my target audience at 16-
25 as it is representative of where rock began and I
want to make it popular among young people again
to create more variety in the music industry
compared to the similarities in the charts today.
There is evidence of this in the UK top 40 charts ( on
the left) where pop and club music appear to be the
domination. I want people to appreciate again the
talent of manual musicians instead of technologically
created sounds as this could encourage young
people to begin playing instruments, leading to
more creativity in our society.
It was a time of experimenting with new instruments such as electric guitars and this
encouraged institutions to make business out of the genre, for example, in 1954, the
Gibson Les Paul guitar was released and this is still used today by many famous artists
such as ‘Slash’ from Guns n Roses. This is why in my print I would like to feature artists
using this famous guitar because it is a stereotypical feature of rock and people admire
the legacy of Gibson Les Paul’s creation so it leads to more audience satisfaction.
David Duff once said: ‘Each genre has it’s own conventions
which evolve over time’ this suggests that genre changes
due to social advances in technology, fashion and even
events. For example, the popularity of music festivals has
allowed this to be a convention of rock music. This is
beneficial because if there are more conventions, the genre
will have more audience recognition. This is why in my print
I will try to feature as many conventions as I can, to suit the
expectations of my younger audience and bring back the
popularity of rock music!
The most common
conventions in rock
Tattoos and Piercings and Colorful Hair - These link to
the image of rebellion and how they connote creativity,
which can represent what rock music is (experimenting
with instruments) this is why I will feature artists with
these features because they are stereotypical. This
means that when people pick up my magazine they will
be easily able to identify that this is a rock magazine.
Colorful hair on artists also contrasts against the dark
clothing to make them stand out and become more
recognizable by audiences and this is why I will have
color on my masthead as it is more eye catching and the
benefits of this is that it will make the name stand out
so people will remember it more and it may remind
them to purchase another edition, therefore increasing
Electric Guitars and Drums- The most
common instruments used in rock music.
Drums connote the liveliness and enthusiasm
in rock to connote its impact. Guitars; mainly
for the range of sounds they can produce
which can create emotion through their
uitar solo’s are very common as this shows
rock music as an art and encourages an
appreciation for the music. An example of this
is Slash from Guns n Roses in November Rain.
An idea I have considered to show the talent in
guitarists is a ‘ top 10 best guitar solo’s of all
time’ , a countdown will create curiosity which
will encourage people to read on. Following
from this number 1 will have a single page on
its own to symbolise its success. It could also
feature a ‘give us your opinion?’ question
followed by a twitter hashtag to promote the
magazine on social media, which will invite a
larger target audience.
The famous rock hand symbol; Ronnie James Dio was known for popularising the sign and it was a gesture
Used in India to signify the removal of obstacles or negative thoughts, this could link to rock because this could be the target
incentive for audiences to feel when they listen to rock music, this could relate to The Uses and Gratifications Theory suggesting
people will use this symbol to express their escape from reality. It is also conventional which means when we see it we instantly
associate it with rock which creates audience recognition, therefore, this is why I will use this on the cover of my magazine so it
makes people aware of the genre.
Makeup- It is conventional of rock artists to wear makeup on stage,
this is because it is a way of giving them a different identity on
stage which makes them stand out among other artists. In fact his
eyeliner now has a net worth, which shows its incredible impact. In
my print, I will not feature artists with guy liner on because it will
make it appear unoriginal and a copy of Billy Joe Armstrong's style.
SHOT CONVENTIONS IN MUSIC VIDEOS• Most rock videos focus the band themselves along side a story or journey that they are on. Most of
the special effects link to the lyrics, for example in You Me At Six- Lived A Lie, they use fire to show
they want to forget the past, this is also used in Kings Of Leon- Notion, showing this is a common
convention used in rock. Using fire gives the video more meaning and builds more empathy for the
audience; leading to social solidarity alongside the Uses and Gratifications Theory. The special
effects also move to the beat of the music in most music videos and this allows the editing to flow
more when we view it.
• In many rock music videos they use long shots of the band, to allow us to identify who they are, this
will make it more memorable if they are involved, it also shows they are dedicated which creates
more audience recognition.
• A common convention is using close up shots of the instruments being played so we can learn more
about the band and who plays what instrument. Linking to the Dyer Star Theory that we want to
learn more about the artists to become more personal ( this is part of Hegemony). There are also
close up shots of their facial expressions, allowing us to read the plot of the video and understand
more meaning from the song, creating a personal link with the audience. This is why in my print,
there will be close up shots in the content page of artists faces so we can instantly recognise who
will be featured in the print.
• They use low angle shots to connote their dominance which is symbolises the success of the bands,
promoting respect for them in the industry and by other institutions.
LIGHTING IN ROCK MUSIC VIDEOS
Most of the lighting depends on the video in rock music videos but mostly they are dark or
gloomy to express the conventional colours of the genre, hence, many rock videos are filmed
at night or in the darkness, for example The Kings Of Leon ‘Notion’ and Thirty Seconds To
Mars ‘Kings and Queens’. Filming in the night creates a rebellious feeling of being young
which is why the photo shoot for my main image on my front cover may be at night as it
could even have intertextuality to the music videos I have just mentioned. This will make the
magazine cover more memorable, making people more likely to read it. IN close up shots,
they mainly use low key lighting to create a shadow effect, for example, in Muse’s ‘Mercy’
video. When they zoom in on the lead singers face the lighting creates shadows to connote
mystery; this is because we cannot see his whole face, it also signifies his success as we can
already recognise who it is. This is why in my print I will object against this most likely
because I will feature upcoming bands and if the lighting is too dark you will not recognise
their face, therefore the band will remain unknown. Therefore I will use more of a high key
light on my images to allow us to see peoples faces clearly.
Usually in rock, artists usually wear dark colours to represent the lyrics of their songs which are usually
about love, drugs and rebellion, so wearing dark colours is a way of exaggerating these symbols, connoting
a loss of innocence and this is why it suits a youthful target audience because rock is about experimenting,
not only with music but your individuality which allows them to break from the moulds in society, making
youth feel valued. I think a reason why they wear black is to allow us to focus on the music so we value and
feel it more which gives a personal incentive to the audience, which encourages them to attend concerts
and music festivals as it makes them feel exclusive. The band: Thirty Seconds To Mars emphasize my point
as in their concerts they pull audience members on stage which is another way of getting them involved.
This creates a exciting atmosphere and allows them to meet their idols ( see in the link below).
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Even in rock magazines such as Kerrang they use a dark colour scheme, to make the genre
relatable. It links to the Dyer Star Theory because people will associate rock stars through their
clothing and style, so using this colour palette is a way of suiting the audiences needs. In my
print, I intend to use dark colours to maintain the common convention which will meet the
audiences expectations, however I will use small essences of bright colours on the masthead for
example to make it stand out and grab the readers attention.
MORAL PANIC WITH ROCK MUSIC
There are negative stereotypes which people and the media associate with rock music and that is
that they are drug and alcohol abusers. This could be because when rock music began it was
popular among young people and this was a time when they would experiment with anti-social
behaviour and this had led to stigma on rock music that it influences these actions. It became
frowned upon, for example ‘The Beatles’ song ‘Lucy in the sky with diamonds’ refers to the drug
LSD and this song was banned from being played numerously on the radio because it was said to
encourage radical behaviour, this led to a moral panic, which is why so many rock songs were
banned at this time however this was also a time when hippy culture became popular so rock
music is not ultimately to blame.
Kurt Cobain was the lead singer of Nirvana and fought with alcoholism for many years which lead
to him being manically depressed and eventually committing suicide. This created a negative
perception of rock music at this time as this was associated with hard times and repelled against
the ‘Dyer Star Theory’. This is because Kurt Cobains actions contrasted with what audiences
expected of their idol, which led to a controversy, for example, parents discouraging their children
from listening to Nirvana, despite this, alternative rock was the most popular genre of the 1990s.
This could be because discouraging their parents views allowed them to embrace rebellion even
more. This idea that all rock stars are alcoholics is wrong because many have chosen to be sober,
for example, the lead singer of The Killers. This creates a positive and clean image of rock which
makes it more likely to be published in magazines. This is why in my print I will not mention alcohol
as it is very controversial and could possibly lead to opposes, preventing ultimate sales.