Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Poetry of Song: Plagiarism in Music

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" and, most recently, Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven"/The Black Keys' "Little Black Submarines". Tyler Robidoux found an interesting one, so feel free to consult him as well. You are not limited to these examples, so feel free to find your own.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Poetry of Song: Reflections of Popular Culture in Music

"As the music is, so are the people of the country."

        Turkish Proverb

Type your response to the following prompt as a Word document and be sure to proofread and edit before you paste and post. Check either Billboard or Rolling Stone for the current list of America's top 50 songs. Choose at least 3 songs; avoid any songs you are very familiar with. Listen/study the lyrics to the selected songs.

Consider the subject matter, content and point of view of today's top songs and identify lines which contain poetic merit. What do these songs, as a whole, say about our modern American culture? In particular, what do these songs say about your generation as the greatest consumers of music media? How are gender roles represented in popular music? How is success measured?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Comic Spirit: Thursday

Good day. I am (probably) down at the middle school right now; I should be back shortly. Today, I have arranged a hodge-podge of comedy-centered tasks for you to complete. This work is due by the end of the period. When I return, I will be calling you up to my desk to check-in, one last time, regarding term 3 grades and any missing assignments.

1. Once again, be sure that your blog is up to date and includes all completed work.

2. Visit at least 10 peer blogs and offer some feedback regarding their strongest work. Copy and paste your comments as #2 here to aid in accounting for them.

Intermission: If you have headphones, proceed to step 3. If you do not, proceed to step 5 and (hopefully) borrow some headphones toward the end of the period. I do not want audio playing out loud; it's too distracting.

3. If you have headphones, view clips from The Colbert Report (a television show and a favorite of Mr. Grasso). Write a concise paragraph analyzing Colbert's brand of comedy. Describe his brand of satire and the persona he uses to achieve it. What other tools or devices does he use to produce this satire? Cite specific examples.

4. Find the "Lazy Sunday" music video from Saturday Night Live. View it and construct a brief paragraph analyzing its satirical effect. Hint: it appears to satirize at least two different entities. What other tools or devices does he use to produce this satire? Cite specific examples.

5. Click here to read a clever and comedic approach to the college entrance essay. Write a thesis statement for it.

6. I'm a visual learner, and so are many of you. We all know that "pictures are worth a thousand words"; let's prove this hypothesis. Click here and peruse the images. Then construct a 1000 word (just kidding; let's aim for 100-word) analysis of what precisely is so awkward and comedic about your favorite snapshot among these images. Can you actually pinpoint and articulate the precise visual elements that contribute to such awkwardness? Don't get too distracted- this website is addictive.

7. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will revisit and steer our journal-writing in the direction of a 5-minute stand-up comedy routine. You may choose to write this routine and submit it for a quiz grade (wimpy, boring) or perform it for a test grade (awesome). Take some time to browse the web for some tips on constructing such a routine. Note the valuable tips and give credit to the sites.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday: POS Class-work

Hello. I am a bit under the weather today. Don't worry- just like Bob Dylan- when you think I'm out of the game, I return from the ashes with another timeless gem. I hope to be back on stage tomorrow. We'll pick up with the syllabus when I return. For today, I would like you to complete the following tasks as a posted comment here. I've graded your "Monsoon" Analyses- please email me if you submitted your work under the name "illbethereforyou". I can't identify this author.
Mr. Kefor's Virus

1. Yesterday we discussed tone. Pinpoint the tone of each song (the 2 from yesterday) with one word.
2. Identify 3 devices that serve to support the style of tone you have identified for "Rock and Roll Band". For each device, cite at least 3 quotes that represent it.
3. Identify 3 devices that serve to support the style of tone you have identified for "Have a Cigar". For each device, cite at least 3 quotes that represent it.
4. The "cigar" appears in both songs. Is the cigar functioning as a symbol or a motif? Revisit the definitions, make a decision and defend your designation.
5. Click here to visit the Poetry Foundation. Browse the poems and find one that you like. Examine the tone of the poem and the devices used to achieve it. Construct a thesis statement that includes these 3 devices and a recognition of tone (as the introductory phrase).
6. If you have extra time on your hands, "congratulations for being so efficient" or "shame on you for your haphazard approach". Seriously- be sure that your blog contains all of your recent work- we will be sharing our writing and music soon after term 3 concludes.