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Analysis questions

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Analysis questions

  1. 1. Album Covers analysis Look at a selection of album covers 1. What are the typical features that an album cover has? Make a list of all the elements they have in common. 2. How would you categorise the covers in front of you? Are there any other ways of distinguishing between them other than generically? 3. Album covers serve many different functions. What do you think these are (ie what is their purpose?) Choose one album cover out of your selection. It might be a particular favourite, or one that is particularly visually interesting. Prepare deconstruction notes of the cover (back, front, inside sleeve). Post notes and album cover on blog. For the deconstruction you will need to explore the following: • images used (layout, colour, style etc) • text (fonts, size, positioning, colour etc) • The relationship between text and images - how do they work together ie anchorage • Differing functions of the front, back, inside sleeve • how the iconography represents the band, the genre of music and their overall image. • Are there any signifiers exclusive to the band/ genre • what the cover says about the institutional context of the music ie the label, • mainstream, underground, first album etc • what can we learn about the potential/target audience from the cover ie specialist, • niche, familiarity with the band, compilation, mainstream etc. • and anything else of relevance.
  2. 2. Thinking about the Audience Take your track selection one stage further by developing your ideas on the audience for this kind of music. Answer the following questions: 1. How would you describe the target audience for this kind of music? Is there a core and secondary audience? 2. How would you describe the tastes and attitudes of the target audience? What other media do are they likely to consume? Outline their media consumption profile 3. What function does this kind of music serve to its audience (uses and gratifications)? 4. Music fans often use music to help them construct their own cultural and visual identity – how do fans of your artist or band do this? 5. How/ when/ where is this kind of music consumed?
  3. 3. Key features of music video  Music Videos work around 3 codes – music, lyrics and iconography. The relationship between these codes is key to understanding how music videos work.  They are designed to provide pleasure in order to keep the viewer watching, and to encourage repeat viewings  The starting point for analysis is to explore whether the video is primarily performance-based, narrative-based or concept-based and how elements of each are used in it. The following questions are worth asking of any Music Video: Question: Do the visuals illustrate, amplify or offer disjuncture with the lyrics? Question: Do the visuals illustrate, amplify or offer disjuncture with the music? Key terms: Illustration: not always literal Amplification: new layers of meaning added to the song Disjuncture: contradiction between lyrics and image Adapted from Fraser, P: Teaching Music Video
  4. 4. TEXTUAL ANALYSIS OF MUSIC VIDEOS Title of track: Artist: Year: Features Observations Examples Genre Characteristics Relationship between lyrics and visuals? Relationship between music and visuals? Are there close-ups of the artist and star image motifs? Is there reference to the notion of looking? Are there intertextual references? Is the video performance, narrative or concept based? How much of each?
  5. 5. Adapted from Fraser, P: Teaching Music Video Music Video Research/Analysis Watch a variety of music videos, and make notes using these questions: 1. Does the song belong to a particular genre? 2. Do the images illustrate, amplify or contradict the lyrics? 3. Do the images illustrate, amplify or contradict the music? 4. How are the performers shown?
  6. 6. 5. Does the video present a voyeuristic view of women? 6. What other texts does the video refer to/ draw upon? Summarise findings/compare and contrast/apply theory. Considerations of genre, audience appeal, form and style should underpin your notes. Adapted from Fraser, P: Teaching Music Video TEXTUAL ANALYSIS OF MUSIC VIDEOS – ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS 1. Institutional/ reference information ● Which video are you analysing, who is it by and, if you know, who directed it? ● What genre does the music belong to and what broad characteristics of that genre does the video have? 2. What is the relationship between lyrics and visuals?
  7. 7. ● Work through the song and identify ways in which the lyrics are illustrated or amplified or even contradicted by the visuals. ● Pick out some specific examples to back up your argument. 3. What is the relationship between music and visuals? ● Does the video cut to the beat? ● Are solo instrumental bits illustrated by the video? ● Does the video change pace with the music? ● Give examples to support your points. 4. Are there close-ups of the artist and star image motifs? ● How is the record company looking to sell this track? ● What image of the artist/band is being offered? ● How does this video relate to previous videos by the artist? ● Arethere motifs which have been used previously? Or does this video represent a change of image? 5. Is there reference to the notion of looking? ● Do you get the sense that the artist is on sexual display or that other people in the video are used in this way? ● Does camerawork, costume, dance or something else imply sexualised display? ● Arethere other references to ‘looking’ such as screens within screens or binoculars, cameras, etc? ● Give examples and consider why these features have been chosen. 6. Are there intertextual references? ● Do these relate to other music videos, to aspects of the star’s image or to completely separate texts such as TV programmes or films? ● How are they used? 7. Is the music video performance-based, narrative-based or concept-based? ● How much of each? Fraser, P: Teaching Music Video