2002 Abstracts Stage 2

A Study of the Rise of Twentieth Century Popular Music and its Subsequent Relationship with the Public Consciousness

Mark Watson, 2002, Stage 2

Project Title: ‘A Study of the Rise of Twentieth Century Popular Music, And its Subsequent Relationship with the Public Consciousness’. Concepts and Key Words: Music as Entertainment vs Music as Education. Music Defining Morality. Music as a Political Power. Generation Gaps. Music as a Conspiracy of Hope. The Decline in Instruments and the Rise of Machines. Music Reinventing itself. Objectives: 1. To view the effect that music has had on determining the public consciousness from before the Second World War throughout the following decades to today, and vice versa. 2. To understand why popular music has changed so much in such a relatively short period of time, and to establish the influence of world events (such as the Vietnam War) and cultural variations in light of these changes. How music reflects the changing nature of humanity and different times in a postmodern age. 3. To study how music has become more universal since the 1950s. For example, to view not only how has music become less specialised for each listener, but how different genres of music have merged to create new styles altogether, becoming universally popular in the process. Of course, in the midst of all this, we have the effect and the parallels of the public consciousness running alongside these changes. 4. To estimate how the relationship between music and the public consciousness will develop in the twenty first century, based on the signs of today. Will there be another select group of individuals who will be capable of changing popular music as we know it, reflecting again immense change in the world, or will the predictable rise in technology simply overtake man’s capacity to create music in an original way to mirror these developments? Sources: Assorted books and magazines from personal collection, as well as extensive material from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne library. In addition to this, research has and will be taken from the internet (individual group and general websites), as well as video and newspapers. Project Territory/ Field of Exploration: With such a broad and worldwide study area, it is difficult to locate a precise territory, but the focus shall primarily be on the contrasting and comparable changes and effects of/on music between Great Britain and the United States. The Gap Between Humans and Things: A distinction will be made throughout the project between humans and the outside events that influence and determine their lives. It is music here that is often able to bridge that gap; it is able to play such a large part in the life of the individual that it creates a route to a better one. While humans have remained the same in the years covered by the project, the changes seen in the life of popular music are quite dramatic.

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