The Avid Listener: Video

3 posts categorized "Video"

November 4, 2014

Hip-Hop Diplomacy, Part 1

Felicia Miyakawa (Austin, TX)

Earlier this year, Hisham Aidi published a book (Rebel Music: Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture, Pantheon) that drew public attention to a new phenomenon: U.S. cultural diplomacy that uses Hip-hop as a “weapon.” Cultural diplomacy is not new, of course. During the Cold War, for example, famed jazz musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, and Dave Brubeck traveled to various hot spots in Europe and Asia as part of a U.S. State Department agenda to spread American goodwill. More recently, Wynton Marsalis has informally joined the Jazz Ambassadors bandwagon, touring London and Havana with his Jazz at Lincoln Center orchestra in 2010. What’s new in cultural diplomacy is the use of Hip-hop music and culture as the weapon of choice.

Whereas jazz diplomacy during the Cold War was about proving to the Soviets that American culture was viable and healthy, Aidi reveals that Hip-hop diplomacy has an entirely different purpose: to prevent the rise of Islamic militants.

Continue reading "Hip-Hop Diplomacy, Part 1" »

October 16, 2014

Rewind: Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough

Music video by Michael Jackson performing Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough. (C) 2001 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

Michael Jackson released his first music video, "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," in 1979two years before MTV would go on the air with "Video Killed the Radio Star." "In 2014, it really doesn't look like much," writes Adam Clark Estes over at Gizmodo. "MJ's dancing like a champ while wearing a huge bow tie and cropped tuxedo, sleeves pulled up above the elbow. His socks are white. And that background. Wow. It starts strong with a hyperspace effect and transforms into what appear to be orange Jell-O cubes."

For The Avid Listener's first Rewind, watch MJ dance in front of gelatin; check out the rest of "Michael Jackson's First Music Video and the Birth of Green Screen"learn how to use a green screen for your own music video; and watch New York and San Francisco slide in and out of television and movie scenes in the segment below.



Stargate Studios 2009 Virtual Backlot Demo from Stargate Studios on Vimeo.

October 6, 2014

Avid Listening

Andrew Dell'Antonio (University of Texas, Austin)

Our bodies hunger for sound. Listening is so important to our self-definition that American Deaf culture has developed the concept LISTEN-EYES to describe the process of receiving and interpreting through sight information that would otherwise be acquired through sound. The rhythm of a song and its flow of emotional intensity, for example, can be conveyed both by musicians and by trained interpreters through a wide variety of physical gestures and facial/bodily expressions, allowing Deaf audiences to view and join in the physical manifestation and understanding of music. This kind of listening is a point of cultural pride among those who might be thought of as “unable” to enjoy sound—those, in other words, who have been disabled by mainstream assumptions about what “normal” listening might look (!) like.

By examining the way musical performance and listening are conceived in Deaf communities, and considering how American Sign Language is used not just to translate song texts for those who are Deaf or hard of hearing but as a way to convey the expressive qualities of music, scholars are helping those of us who have “normal” hearing (but what is that, really?) think more broadly about the way those who have less sensitive ears also relish the power of music.

Continue reading "Avid Listening" »

Dedicated to the idea that music criticism can be literate and fun to read, The Avid Listener fosters weekly discussions between scholars and novices alike.

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Norton Music

A History of Western Music

J. Peter Burkholder, Donald Jay Grout, and Claude V. Palisca

The Enjoyment of Music

Kristine Forney, Andrew Dell’Antonio, and Joseph Machlis