Music, Sound, and the Moving Image

Look! It's Rock'n'roll!: How television participated in shaping the visual genre conventions of popular music

Music, Sound, and the Moving Image (2007), 1, (2), 141–159.

Abstract

On the basis of an analysis of musical performances on the popular Danish entertainment show The Record Parade (Pladeparade, 1957–63), I investigate how musical genre and visual presentation intersect in early Danish television. Using a distinction between acting and posing taken from Simon Frith's analysis of popular music performance (1996: 205ff), I suggest that it is possible to distinguish between three basic modes of musical performances on television, namely acting, posing, and playing. Visual presentation in the first mode renders the lyrics; in the second, the performer as idol; and in the third, the musicianship. I argue that television helped shape a heightened awareness of genre distinction within the field of popular music by emphasizing differences in visual impressions and performance attitudes, even before an awareness of genre became manifest stylistically in the music itself.

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Lindelof, Anja Mølle