ERIC Number: ED238082
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Nov
Reference Count: 0
The Rhetorical Dimensions of Popular Song.
Winebrenner, T. C.
Communication scholars have recently focused attention on songs as artifacts of popular culture. Current literature implies that the contexts of music communication are defined by the relationships that songs establish between artists and their audience: persuasive, expressive, and commercial. As the commercialization of music is an inherently rhetorical process, it is in this commercial context that rhetorical theory and popular song must find union. The appeal of popular songs can be explained through Kenneth Burke's concept of identification with others, an essentially rhetorical process. Thus, a song that begins as an artist's personal expression becomes, through identification, a vicarious expression by the listener. Music serves as a repository for the concerns of the society in which it is found, both communicating and reflecting normative values. It is also the nature of the music itself, and not the vocal or lyrical aspects alone, that accounts for its popularity. Thus a rhetoric of popular song would be incomplete if it failed to address the rhetorical implications of music style. Audiences either relate or fail to relate to music according to their ability to identify with the particular style. Taken as a whole, the social theory of music suggests that popular songs function as communicative events. In addition to serving the ends of persuasion and artistic expression, music is a medium of vicarious expression for audiences as collectives and as individuals. (HTH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Audience Response; Burke (Kenneth); Songs
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (69th, Washington, DC, November 10-13, 1983).