Beyond Verse and Chorus: Experimental Formal Structures in Post-Millennial Rock Music

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Beyond Verse and Chorus: Experimental Formal Structures in Post-Millennial Rock Music

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Title: Beyond Verse and Chorus: Experimental Formal Structures in Post-Millennial Rock Music
Author: Osborn, Brad
Abstract: Rock songs are generally considered formally simplistic, based around alternation of verse and chorus, the latter functioning as the song’s selling point—an easily identifiable advertisement for the song-as-commodity. However, many rock songs composed in the last ten to fifteen years are not structured in this way. Pieces composed by artists in the genres known as “post-rock,” “art rock,” “math-metal,” and “neo-prog” often feature forms that, instead of treating a repeated chorus as the dramatic high point, emphasize a single moment of climactic material at the end; and some present new material from beginning to end, resulting in an entirely through-composed formal structure. This dissertation explores the link between these post-millennial experimental rock genres and the experimental song forms used by artists in those genres. Chapter One includes a literature review, identifies a mode of thought I call the “Verse/Chorus Paradigm,” and then presents a concise rock historiography that casts certain artists and genres on either side of that paradigm, either as conventional or experimental. In Chapter Two, I suggest revisionist theories of conventional rock form, present new models of climaxes and endings, and define experimental formal structures that will be used throughout the analyses in later chapters. “Terminally-Climactic Form”—a formal type I have identified throughout post-millennial rock music—is the topic of Chapter Three. In this form, a single moment of new material at the end acts as the song’s focal point, rather than the chorus, the de facto focal point in conventional rock. I construct archetypes and provide analyzed examples for three classifications of Terminally-Climactic Form: two-part, three-part, and extended. In Chapter Four, I explore the more radical departure from conventional rock forms made possible by through-composition. Toward this aim, I construct a genetic taxonomy of four through-composed types based on an analogy to formal alleles; just as in Chapter Three, each of these types is supported with analyzed examples from the post-millennial experimental rock corpus. My dissertation concludes by considering some formally ambiguous pieces, and suggests how my formal theories might be adapted to analysis of more familiar, conventional rock music.

Files in this item

Files Size Format View Description
01 1.1 airbag intro.mp3 765.9Kb Unknown View/Open
02 1.2 paranoid android chorale.mp3 1.050Mb Unknown View/Open
Brad Osborn—Beyond Verse and Chorus.pdf 8.551Mb PDF View/Open Dissertation, full-text (.pdf)
03 1.3 cygnus groove.mp3 327.9Kb Unknown View/Open
04 2.1 truth rpc.mp3 741.4Kb Unknown View/Open
05 2.2 truth chorus.mp3 999.4Kb Unknown View/Open
06 2.3 black tie independent chorus.mp3 707.1Kb Unknown View/Open
07 2.4 knives out end verse.mp3 923.5Kb Unknown View/Open
08 2.5 table verse-dep outro.mp3 482.6Kb Unknown View/Open
09 3.1 Under the Bridge climax.mp3 765.1Kb Unknown View/Open
10 3.2 Duane Joseph Climax.mp3 852.4Kb Unknown View/Open
11 3.3 Rocks Tonic Climax.mp3 856.5Kb Unknown View/Open
12 3.4 hands down climax.mp3 2.227Mb Unknown View/Open
13 3.5 Seven Swans TC.mp3 650.0Kb Unknown View/Open
14 3.6 3 Libras Intro.mp3 863.9Kb Unknown View/Open
15 3.7 Freedom Tattoo.mp3 880.2Kb Unknown View/Open
16 3.8 Hooker With A Penis Hook B.mp3 451.6Kb Unknown View/Open
17 3.9 The Crane Wife Choruses.mp3 1.230Mb Unknown View/Open
18 3.10 Faust Arp intro.mp3 514.5Kb Unknown View/Open
19 3.11 Faust Arp chorus.mp3 403.5Kb Unknown View/Open
20 3.12 Faust Arp Climax.mp3 327.6Kb Unknown View/Open
21 3.13 Crowing verse intro.mp3 336.5Kb Unknown View/Open
22 3.14 Crowing bridges.mp3 1.248Mb Unknown View/Open
23 3.15 The Crowing Climax.mp3 800.2Kb Unknown View/Open
24 3.16 Pushit Verse groove.mp3 484.3Kb Unknown View/Open
25 3.17 Pushit change bass.mp3 454.9Kb Unknown View/Open
26 3.18 Pushit bass drums groove.mp3 417.3Kb Unknown View/Open
27 3.19 Pushit climactic section A.mp3 1.078Mb Unknown View/Open
28 3.20 Pushit climactic section C.mp3 1.542Mb Unknown View/Open
30 4.3 and 4.4 #..mp3 1.490Mb Unknown View/Open
31 4.5a Chinaberry Tree A melody.mp3 585.5Kb Unknown View/Open
32 4.5b Chinaberry Tree b melody.mp3 531.6Kb Unknown View/Open
33 4.6 all is full of love canon.mp3 694.1Kb Unknown View/Open
34 4.7 Back To Back 17_16.mp3 387.1Kb Unknown View/Open
35 4.8 Black-Tie Knife-Fight opening.mp3 636.9Kb Unknown View/Open
36 4.9a Dead In Magazines dark chorus.mp3 541.4Kb Unknown View/Open
37 4.9b Dead In Magazines bright chorus.mp3 761.0Kb Unknown View/Open
38 4.10 I Guess I'll Forget the Sound Climax.mp3 741.4Kb Unknown View/Open
39 4.11a The End Of An Era riff a.mp3 410.8Kb Unknown View/Open
40 4.11b The End Of An Era riff b.mp3 428.0Kb Unknown View/Open
41 4.12 The End Of An Era drums.mp3 1.118Mb Unknown View/Open
42 4.13 The End Of An Era climax.mp3 1.124Mb Unknown View/Open
29 4.1 and 4.2 Mean Time Till Failure.mp3 2.128Mb Unknown View/Open

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