An examination of 'new weird America' folk-derived music's authenticity through Theodor Adorno's theory on 'popular' music and the culture industry

Kelly, Rosanna (2011) An examination of 'new weird America' folk-derived music's authenticity through Theodor Adorno's theory on 'popular' music and the culture industry. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    This thesis explores the high art versus low culture dichotomy regarding a specific form of folk-derived music. Through examining three particular artists at the forefront of the "New Weird America" movement, this thesis aims to analyse their levels of authenticity through their commercial relationship with the Culture Industry, their use of technology within their music and how it mediates the artist's connection with their audience and lastly, exploring the idea of authorship and who holds creative control over the music. This thesis aims to uncover the difficulty with the labelling of this contemporary music as it incorporates elements of high and low forms of art and whether their music is authentic or not.

    It is clear from studying this topic that no final declaration may be taken as absolute; there will always be an inconclusive argument when considering the placing of contemporary genres of music within either a high or low culture category.

    This thesis aims to cover these points by applying Theodor Adorno's concepts regarding the inauthenticity of "popular" music and how it is used as a device to blind the mass population from rebelling against the monotony of their day-to-day lives and the regime constructed to keep them trapped inside the banal cycle of endlessly consuming and producing. By employing the theoretical approach of Adorno's fellow Frankfurt School thinker, Walter Benjamin, more accessible forms of art may be defended as credible. By utilizing Benjamin‟s works regarding the technological replication of high art, it may be proven that despite this contemporary form of art being more easily accessible than classical art, it can still be regarded as sincere, authentic and requires its audience to become active in order to fully comprehend its narrative.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2012 09:14
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:58
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/7002

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