A witty and astute reference book on popular music


 

Sound Tracks

A Musical ABC, Volumes 1-3

Michael Jarrett

cloth EAN: 978-1-56639-641-7 (ISBN: 1-56639-641-7)
$34.50, Oct 98, Available
Electronic Book EAN: 978-1-43990-566-1 (ISBN: 1-43990-566-5)
$34.50
304 pp 5.5x9 86 halftones


"I can think of no better introduction to the critical theory that is now at the heart of popular music studies. Jarrett's book is erudite, enlightening, and consistently enjoyable."
Krin Gabbard, author of Jammin' at the Margins: Jazz and the American Cinema

From ambient music to "Dixie" and Zulu Nation, from Sonny Rollins to the Beastie Boys and Elvis's tailor, Sound Tracks quick-shuttles like a jukebox on Saturday night. Alphabetically ordered, this collection of pithy definitions and extended meditations most resembles a boxed set of anthologized sounds compiled by an omnivore of music.

Spinning off from the "Definition of Sound" column he wrote for Pulse! magazine, Michael Jarrett mixes astute music criticism, an engaging writing style, and a wicked sense of humor to produce three alphabets that will provoke readers to rethink all sorts of popular music. Inventive and whimsical, these small essays coalesce around a serious purpose-writing about contemporary culture in a way that is meaningful to electronic-age readers and listeners.

Take, for example, the entry on ambient music: like all of the entries in the book, it is preceded by evocative album art and followed by lists of readings and recordings that amplify the definition; this one lists related videos as well. But it also presents an interview with Carla Bley and Steve Swallow on the influential music of Erik Satie. Under the ls, producer George Avakian talks about how the technology that made LPs possible changed the music industry, and Pat Metheny talks about the challenges of sequencing an LP from a musician's point of view. The entry for Carol (as in traditional songs for Christmas and the Middle Age dance craze) opens into a riff on cultural roots and survivals that invokes Chuck Berry's classic song.

Whether it is read start to finish or sampled, Sound Tracks is a book that music lovers and students of contemporary culture will applaud.


Excerpt

Excerpt available at www.temple.edu/tempress


Reviews

"Jarrett makes many valid points... Sound Tracks is profitable reading that is...always informative."
The Ozarks Mountaineer


Contents

Introduction

Volume 1
ambient music
bolton
cool
cool jazz
"Dixie"
EOM
funk
Genesis 11:1-9
hyperacusis
implied grunge
jukebox
Kasenetz & Katz
LP
muso
Nudie
old school
pop vs. rock
Quem quaeritis
reverb
soul music
tarantella
ukulele
virginal
Whitney Houston syndrome
X [Christ]
Young, Neil
zymo-xyl

Volume 2
album
alternative
bebop chess
Carol
dancehall
EML
flamenco
groove
harmolodies
importance
improvise
Jubal
krautrock
Leslie
mbaqanga
Mekons
nigger
Orpheus
pedal steel
quiz
rockability
ska
trope
urbane
verity
wah-wah pedal
X [border radio]
"Yodeling Cowboy"
Zulu Nation

Volume 3
authenticity
bossa nova
brush arbor
croon
DIDs
doo-wop
electromagnetic tape
engineer
falsetto
gospel
hard bop
ictus
jazz
kick
Leno, Jay
minstrel cycle
Nashville sound
obbligato
punk
Qiana
rhapsody
shivaree
soul jazz
trainspotter
Ursonate
"venerable Frog"
watusi
X [variable]
Yardbird
zine

Appendix: CD Covers


 

About the Author(s)

Michael Jarrett is Associate Professor of English, Pennsylvania State University, York, and the author of Drifting on a Read: Jazz as a Model for Writing (forthcoming).


Subject Categories

General Interest
Music and Dance


In the series

Sound Matters, edited by Michael Jarrett.

Using music as the entry point for cultural analysis, books in the series Sound Matters, edited by Michael Jarrett, seek to articulate the values, beliefs, and dreams of the societies that create it. This series invites project proposals whose interdisciplinary approaches to music and cultural analysis will result in innovative, provocative, and accessible results.

 

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