An Analysis of Virtuality in the Creation and Reception of the Music of Frank Zappa

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

My chapter in the book discusses the creation and reception of the music of Frank Zappa, who overtly and purposively positioned his creative output in a virtual, often teleological dimension. Through the analysis of Zappa’s music, use of the recording studio and personal philosophies such as Xenochrony, Project/Object and Big Note, the chapter draws on the work of a range of scholars from Hanslick, Hagel, Nietzsche, Heidegger and Schopenhauer, to Bernard Russell, Jennifer Robertson and Leo Treitler, ultimately examining the broader question regarding the extent to which music has the capacity to be representational and/or ‘virtual’– what is it that makes it “be”?.

These factors are pertinent when considering the music of Frank Zappa, as his ‘songs’ can often be considered as parts of multiple instances – which include live performances, recorded rearrangements, album artwork, even bootleg recordings and on-going performances by tribute artists. These philosophies and compositional techniques are considered alongside the medium through which we all engage with music analysis – written language, by considering the extent to which words influence our documentation, interpretation and clarity of musical meaning.

The talk I will give today is a condensation of an 8000 word chapter, so I have decided to focus on the background philosophies and wider debates – as opposed to outlining the analysis of Zappa’s music – that can be found in the book!
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016
EventThe International Association for the Study of Popular Music (UK & Ireland) Biennial Conference: Popular Music: Creativity, Practice and Praxis - University of Sussex and the British and Irish Modern Music Institute (Brighton), Brighton, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Sep 201610 Sep 2016
http://www.iaspm.org.uk/conference2016/

Conference

ConferenceThe International Association for the Study of Popular Music (UK & Ireland) Biennial Conference
Abbreviated titleIASPM UK and Ireland Biennial Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityBrighton
Period8/09/1610/09/16
Internet address

Keywords

  • Frank Zappa
  • Xenochrony Project
  • Big Note

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