The country aspect in popular music

It is very well known that there are many different varieties of music today. Popular music is a huge part of today?s world. It can easily be broken down into categories. Pop music as a whole includes dance, hip-hop, rap, R&B, pop rock, pop country, etc. But have you ever taken a closer look at a specific genre? Look at country music for an example; so many things come along with the history of country music. Country music was founded in the Southern United States and the Appalachian Mountains. It is a mixture of different popular music forms. These include and date back to traditional folk music, Celtic music, gospel music, and old-time music. Country music became extremely popular in the 1920s. Throughout the years, country music has evolved and become more well known with artists such as Shania Twain, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, and so on. In conclusion, this research paper will focus on the genre of popular focusing in on country aspect of it and its history. As well as how African American people would write songs, but white people would publish them since they were unable to themselves.

You can get a good overview of any musical topic by reading entries in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Originally, this encyclopedia was the comprehensive collection of English language knowledge about Western Art Music, i.e. ?classical? music. It is found under the Oxford Dictionaries Online link. There is also a version for American Music, which would be useful to many of your projects. Each entry contains key dates and a bibliography of key sources. The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music offers overviews of music that is either folk or ?non-Western? i.e. not of the Western Art Music tradition. It is also available online.

There are several other resources. The Smithsonian Global Sounds is an ongoing effort to make available music and video from the Smithsonian?s collection of ethnographic recordings.

The final resource is RILM. It is a comprehensive database of scholarly and journalistic writing on music. Many of the articles in the database while be available online. Now I don?t expect you to read a lot of scholarship, but you might give a few a shot. There is also J-Stor, and Project Muse, two other databases to writing in the humanities that may be a resource for you. Your work, of course, will be to deftly use the online guides to ferret out a few of the best resources for your projects. Of course, on the way, you?ll learn a great deal about your topic.

These are just a few of the standard online scholarly resources, there are others on the site, so feel free to browse.

A word on INTERNET RESOURCES. As you?ve no doubt been made aware, one must be critical of the information found online. The difference between scholarship and journalism and opinion and rumor is one of verifiable veracity.

Citing sources is simple, any thought that is not your own, and is thus taken from somewhere else, must be credited to its author. Unlike musical copyright, there?s no money at stake, just the integrity of writing (and your grade!). Many topics may benefit from using journalism as well: The Rolling Stone, New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper?s and other weeklies and monthly often have excellent writing on music and culture. You can also dig into a newspaper?s archives for historical accounts of your work. This is called ?reception studies,? an attempt made by scholars to understand how a work was received by its contemporary public and the world.

There are two ways to use SOURCES. The first is when directly quoting another source (writer, etc). You might do this to support your argument, state someone?s opinion or to offer their own experience (as in an interview or oral history) as part of your research. A quote should never stand alone; that is, be it?s own independent sentence. It should be introduced and contextualized by you.

For example:
As Mitchell has argued in his work on hip hop around the world, ?[a]fter more than two decades, rap and hip-hop have moved far beyond any perceived ?local? U.S. origins in the South Bronx (or South Central Los Angeles)? (Mitchell 2001, 33).

Here the complete citation would appear in your bibliography (which is not included in the page count!) One usually only quotes a written source, when what has been written is said much better and more concisely than you might say it yourself.

The other primary time you cite a source is when you paraphrase someone?s argument or writing. With the above quote, it would look like this:

As Mitchell has amply demonstrated in his work, by the turn of the millennium, hip hop had become a global phenomenon (Mitchell 2001).

Here I am summarizing the argument of a book.

In the bibliography the entry would read:

Mitchell, Tony (ed.). 2001. Global Noise: Rap and Hip-Hop Outside the USA. Wesleyan University Press: Middletown, CT.

There are many ways to cite sources, just be consistent.

If you have any questions, ask! Librarians are also by profession great people to speak with about questions of how to do a research project or cite sources.

Finally, a few words on METHODOLOGY.

Most of you have experience doing book research, conventional scholarly work. As I?ve said in class, there are many more methods for doing research, chief among which are social science methodologies that involve interviews and fieldwork?talking to people rather than consulting historic, written and/or secondary sources. You are welcome to use such methods. Now field work is distinguished by an extended (months to years) spent immersed in another cultural context. You?ve not time for this. But you can speak to others and try and learn their perspectives and understandings of the phenomenon (music) which you are researching. Their voices added richness and authority to your writing as well as I think make it more interesting and relevant.

Oral history is another method for talking to people in service of doing research to understand something. Studs Terkel is the US?s great oral historian who, in collecting the stories of US inhabitants around their experiences of war, work, race, baseball, etc, offers a collective idea of some social, cultural and historical phenomenon. Check his work out here:

Listen to some of his interviews made over the course of the 20th century. They make history real in a way that writing cannot. They also are models of interviewing technique.


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