Monday, November 26, 2012

POS: Backmasking and Reverse Speech in Music

Backward messaging in music (commonly known as backmasking) has been a controversy ever since the late 1960s, when messages were found backwards on some Beatles' albums, hinting that Paul McCartney had died. Some of these subliminal messages have been identified as purposeful while some are apparently inadvertent. Some believe that many of these backward messages were in fact examples of "Reverse Speech" in music. Speech reversals occur naturally in all forms of speech, sung or spoken. Explore some of the links and sites regarding this subject and offer your opinion on at least 10 specific examples. Do you buy into the theory of Reverse Speech or is it all a bunch of hogwash?


(1) Human speech has two distinctive yet complementary functions and modes. The Overt mode is spoken forwards and is primarily under conscious control. The Covert mode is spoken backward and is not under conscious control. The backward mode of speech occurs simultaneously with the forward mode and is a reversal of the forward speech sounds.

(2) These two modes of speech, forward and backward, are dependent upon each other and form an integral part of human communication. One mode cannot be fully understood without the other mode. In the dynamics of interpersonal communication, both modes of speech combined communicate the total psyche of the person, conscious as well as unconscious.

(3) Covert speech develops before overt speech. Children speak backwards before they do forwards. Then, as forward speech commences, the two modes of speech gradually combine into one, forming an overall bi-level communication process.

List of Backmasked/Reverse Speech Songs

Jeff Milner's Site

Reverse Speech Site

Click here to hear a well known sample of backmasking from Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven". This audio file will play both forward (original context) and backward (backmasking revealed).

Post a reflection that a) discusses your opinion of backmasking and reverse speech, b) assesses the validity of the examples you experienced. I expect direct, specific references to songs, artists and lyrics. Be sure to demonstrate the level of your investigation by being precise and thorough. (3-5 paragraphs)

AP Seniors: COW work for 11-27

Good morning.

1. Click here to view an RSA animate lecture from Ken Robinson. Leave comment (short paragraph) highlighting any takeaways.

2. Click here to view an RSA animate lecture regarding language. Consider the links between language, as presented here, and Newspeak, as presented in 1984. Leave comment (short paragraph) highlighting any takeaways.

3. On Thursday, I will check for your customized word bank. Use the existing files (Edline) and any other online or binder resources to build your own bank. A) First, group your terms and devices into 3 categories: own it; know it; need it, or some analogous form. Leave space for notes or amendments. B) Develop a bank of verbs for academic discourse. C) Begin a bank of "go-to" words.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

POS: Friday Cow Work

PART I: Your first task for today is to revisit the allegory lesson from Wednesday. Compose a "thesis-like" statement for each song that reveals the relationships between the superficial and allegorical representations of each song. Then, select your favorite and complete that paragraph (3 statements; 1 paragraph). 

PART II: Musical plagiarism is complex, subjective, and a bit confusing. For decades, blues musicians have covered or restructured older songs as homage to past musicians. An artist may borrow lines, make allusions, or sample. Occasionally, artists take issue with this "borrowing" and sue. 

For blog-work this week, research and listen to some examples of musical plagiarism. Identify: 1) the definition of plagiarism 2) at least one example of a truly plagiarized song (paragraph explanation) and 3) at least one example of a coincidental relationship between 2 songs(paragraph explanation). Discuss your findings here. In the spirit of avoiding plagiarism and associated transgressions, you must cite (MLA format) at least 3 sources for each argument. Citations will also allow you to incorporate periodicals and other resources that may offer some direct evidence to support your claims. On the left side of this blog, you will find some of the many useful citation tools available to you. 

Some notable instances include (listed as original/supposed plagiarism): Chiffon's "He's So Fine"/George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord"; Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance"/The Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Dani California;" Queen's "Under Pressure"/Vanilla Ice's "Ice, Ice Baby;"  Joe Satriani's "If I Could Fly"/Coldplay's "Viva La Vida;" Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven"/The Black Keys' "Little Black Submarines;" Fleet Foxes' "Lorelai"/Bob Dylan's "Fourth Time Around;" Pink Floyd's "Speak to Me/Breathe"/Dave Matthews Band's "Drunken Soldier." You are not limited to these examples, so feel free to find your own.

PART III: Click here to read a short article from Note your impression here. What claims resonate as accurate from your perspective?

Finished early? Please visit your peers' blogs and offer comments for any missing term 1 work.