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Exam 2 Question 1.a: Recording technology is one of the things people use in participation.

The way that different groups of people use recording technology varies. Mediation is culturally variable and linked to creating and maintaining an identity. In addition, technology is not as universal as it may seem. A Texan identity may be formed in part by the Austin sound. This is evident in Thomas Porcello’s essay on the Austin sound versus the Memphis sound and how they use mediation and technology to stay sincere to their respective sound. The Austin sound is a “live” sound, which has echo and distortion because it is loud, live and free. When Austin musicians want to mediate their music by recording it in the studio, sound engineers must manipulate the sound that is recorded to maintain an authenticity in the finished product. The desired finished product is culturally specific. Participants through participatory discrepancies determine the sound. In the same recording studio, a Memphis musician would not think the same kind of sound and manipulation of the sound by engineers would sound authentic. Austin musicians like “roominess” that is the sound when microphones record the drums from a distance while Memphis musicians like a “tight” and cool sound, with the microphones on the drums, called “close-milking”. So the mediated sound created and manipulated through studio technology with sound engineers is a way that the musicians create and maintain their identity. In Austin, they then use this identity to promote tourism, and build the economy. This identity is regional, and is located through a cultural discourse. In this case, the discourse is a live and sincere Austin sound.

Uses, social functions and understandings of mediation are culturally variable. This can be seen in the way musicians of the Austin sound and of the Memphis sound use the studio technology differently to mediate an authentic sound. Austin musicians have to manipulate studio recordings in certain ways to mediate their music correctly. For example, Austin musicians often record in “multiple takes” (Porcello, 72) so that the instrument sounds can be laid in the right place. This shows that it is culturally variable because Memphis musicians manipulate the sound of their music differently, and each culture mediates in the way that seems right. Social functions of mediation in Austin are to promote the city, “The city of Austin, Texas has actively traded upon this sound in promoting a civic identity and building an associated local economy” (Porcello, 69). Another example of recording technology and the participatory discrepancies of mediation can be seen in Paul Simon’s Graceland. In this album he somewhat appropriated South African music. There were a few factors that he had constructed in his mind that allowed him to do this. One thing is that he had an elitist point of view because his music is more well known that it is better than these more primitive African musicians. He also believed he was incorporating completely foreign and exotic sounds into his music, while he didn’t realize that through mediation of earlier rock n roll, jazz, blues and gospel, South African musicians appropriated and integrated these sounds into their own mediated sounds.

Question 2. b: A large part of the reason music is so powerful and feelingful is because it contains cross-modal icons. This means music is metaphorical of aspects of natural or

social life that at first appear to have little to do with sound. As discussed in the Beckers article, the gamelan is played with the understanding that time is circular as opposed to linear as we in the West understand time. First, this idea of incorporating a certain concept of time into a type of music is a cross-modal icon because it fits within the definition. A cross modal icon is something, in this case music, of human creation that is related to something outside human creation, in this case time, but constructed from the universe. The concept of time is arbitrary and culturally variable. How we understand time affects the process of discourse in our everyday lives. As we learned in lecture, David Coplan discusses four principles of music. One is that all people have a cultural and historically contingent way of understanding music. This means that aspects of life that don’t seem to be directly related to music do affect it because cultural discourse affects the way a person perceives the world and thus affects how a person musics. Another principle of music is that sound structure, feeling, and action resonate and shape participants ultimate values and universe and vice versa. The way a participant perceives the music and it’s sound reflects how they perceive life and the world right now. If the participant is from Memphis and he wants to listen to the Austin sound, what he thinks sounds like Austin music, but it is not ‘authentic’ sound, might be different from a participant from Austin hears the sound. So the way the gamelan bell patterns fit together based on the Indonesian concepts of time is iconic because it resembles Indonesian system of time. This is important because it shows how music is constructed relatively and in relationship to people and life. Discourse is what people in a culture are immersed in and what shapes the way they perceive the world. Discourse is a reflection of a certain context that one lives in. It is important to understand the context of a culture and

discourse when attempting to understand music. Metadiscourse and semiotics are tools for this.

Question 3. C: The lines between both social groups and musical genres are unstable, strategic and relative. Apaches can relate to and feel how Apaches felt in the past through Bob Marley’s music, not just traditional Apache music. Their feeling and participation is not limited to the traditional music genre that was contemporary to Apaches in the past. Samuels says that culture is not a unit or set essence, although it is often defined this way. Culture is fluid, changing and in the here and now. Culture is discourse. People in a culture are immersed in a certain discourse that shapes their worldview. The relationship between an ethnic group and genre is slippery, shifting and relative. Genre is the resources and discourses for categorizing kinds of participation. Categories are determined by a set of discourses. Because of this fluidity of discourses and cultural variation, what people say about how they relate to the music is the most determining factor of identity. 2. Mediated sounds can be understood, felt and used in unpredictable ways. It can be used to relate to people of the past, whether or not you share a history.