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Shaping popular music

Prior, Helen; Greasley, Alinka


Alinka Greasley


Much of the research on musical shaping in performance focuses on Western classical music. Although this provides scope for interesting work, the extent to which its findings are applicable to Western popular music is unclear: what different conceptions of musical shaping might this broad genre engender? This chapter explores notions of musical shaping from the perspectives of popular musicians performing with various purposes in mind. First, we examine the performer’s role in shaping music in live performance, drawing on recent survey research and existing work in the field. Second, the roles of performer, producer and technology in shaping music in the recording studio are examined, including an investigation of the ways in which popular music recordings are shaped by technological practices more broadly. Third, we discuss ways in which popular music recordings may be used in performance, with a focus on DJs using the idea of musical shaping in their work. A final section summarizes the varied notions of musical shaping that arise from these different perspectives and explores their implications, as well as the limitations of exploring a flexible and widely-applicable metaphor such as shape in a genre as diverse as popular music within a single chapter.


Prior, H., & Greasley, A. Shaping popular music.

Deposit Date May 15, 2017
Journal Music and shape
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords Popular music
Public URL