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“How long to sing this song?” The rhetorical vision of U2's “Holy” community

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The corpus of Bob Dylan's work poses interesting theoretical questions for rhetorical critics. Critical studies in the rhetoric of song have neglected to examine the suasory potentiality of the musical elements of songs, having dealt almost exclusively with lyrical content. This study utilizes rhetorical ascription to unite the lyrical and the musical features of song in an analysis of Bob Dylan's gospel performances.
Employing a dramatistic system based upon the critical frameworks of Kenneth Burke and Northrop Frye, a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the fifteen most popular recorded single records each year between 1955 and 1982 is presented. Popular music is conceptually defined as a nondiscursive epideictic mode of communication and operationally defined as Billboard's top fifteen “hit” single records each year between 1955 and 1982. A total of 392 songs are classified as either ironic, mimetic, leader‐centered, romantic, or mythical and then examined by thematic content, decade, musical era, and with some attention to these patterns as long‐term musical trends. It is concluded that popular music is a reflection of younger American's changing attitudes which have displayed an increasingly ironic perspective of human relationships.
This essay examines Stevie Wonder's ethical reputation, lyrical corpus, and musical style. The ethical appraisal considers such classical virtues as liberality, humility, and piety; the lyrical analysis draws on Plato's six hierarchical levels of love; and the analysis of Wonder's musical style applies Marshall McLuhan's notion of electric technology and the restoration of tribal involvement. Both the reinforcing and the message‐conveying aspects of Wonder's style are examined. Though the essay is grounded in fact, the evaluation is unavoidably subjective. The overall assessment of Wonder is one of virtually unqualified praise. Wonder is viewed as a creative messenger of love and goodness.
Discusses the amplificative meaning of music in terms of the combination of familiar and unfamiliar musical patterns in the minds of the composer and the listener. Variables which can have a rhetorical impact are reputation of the artist or source, type of instrument, lyrical structure, melodic structure, nature of chord structure and progression, the type of listening situation, and rhythm. The perception of music by artists and listeners is examined in terms of factors which affect whether a piece will be favorably or unfavorably received. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Beginning to look alot like radio. Paper presented at the Speech Communication Association Convention
  • J Haney
  • Mtv
The rhetorical criticism of song: Studying both words and music. Paper presented at the Eastern Communication Association Convention
  • J Gow