Although sound and music are biologically heard and received by the ear in the same way; the vibration of waves at varying frequencies and their reception by the ear canal (http:new. Fractionation. Com, How We Hear, 28/10/02) they affect our consciousness in very different ways. Sound, by definition is: “mere noise, without meaning or sense or distinguished by sense… To resound… To be audible”. (Chambers 20th Century Dictionary, puppy). Another interpretation of this may be that is it the raw material that speech, music and song are made of- the building blocks of immunization.
One deflation of music Is: “The art of expression In sound, In melody, In harmony, Including both composition and execution… Not mere noise”. (Chambers 20th Century Dictionary, IPPP). The essential aspects of music are pitch, melody, rhythm and volume. All of these play an important role in the result of a piece of music, and each can vary in their effect on the listener. Arguably, rhythm has the most dramatic effect on the human nervous system. Scientists have suggested a variety of reasons for why this may be, and almost all agree that It Is connected to the heartbeat and to the cyclic functions of the body.
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Rhythm can also be a learning and remembering technique for individual sounds and an accessible way to connect one piece of information to another. In our modern world it is not Just dancers, musicians and artists whose actions are influenced by music and sound. Music is universally understood to often be the sum of more than its parts, and causes emotional and physical reactions from simply being heard. It is used In many aspects of society to persuade, to advertise, to heighten emotional tension, to Increase learning skills. To identify social groups and to Influence speed and muscle tension, for a few examples.
The effects of music can be conscious, subconscious and unconscious. The power of music, over any other art form, to penetrate people’s emotions is a widely recognized fact. ‘Music listening… Seems to encourage the release of endorphins, which in turn illicit emotional response’ (http:// vim. Tuberculosis. Co. UK, Neurological aspects of musical processing, accessed 23/10/02). Scientific studies that have Investigated this theory came to conclusion that ‘Both hemispheres of the brain are Involved because of the complexity of musical experiences which may involve auditory, visual, cognitive, affective and motor yester’ (towpath. Hypodermics. Co. UK, Neurological aspects of musical processing, accessed 23/10/02). Of the five senses, hearing connects us to the outside world more peripherally than any other sense and plays a large role in balance and directional shifts. Despite a general tendency In society to consciously rely on visual stimuli for Information and also entertainment, a lot of Information received and understood is either provided or enhanced by sound. This is a very predominant feature in television and film, and also in dance & theatre performance.
In television, one of the predominant and psychologically effective uses of music and sound is in advertising, yet this use of music often tries not to call attention upon itself as a separate entity. An advert is often a series of seemingly unrelated pictures. These pictures usually place the product In a more glamorous or excellent setting than the actual function of the product. In addition to this, the huge range of remarkably similar products in many areas of the consumer market means that advertising companies need to ‘portray a particular style or image which elicits strong consumer allegiances’ (David Huron, http://www. Sic-cog. Ohio-state. Du/Huron/ Publications/ Huron. Advertising. Text. HTML, Music in Advertising: An Analytic Paradigm, 17/12/02). Social class, age and environment often influence the type of music that a member of the public (and therefore a consumer) listens to. As sound is impossible to be physically ‘shut off by the body, it is a highly effective way of attracting attention and engaging interest of the correct consumer market. Music’s role in society is not, however, simply as a marketing tool. It is, in its purest form, an influence over the reaction of a variety of other art forms.
However the mixing of art and society can lead to certain Watering down’ of the original artistic intention. For example, whilst the creation of film is undoubtedly an art form, it is generally created for mass consumption. It appeals to a much wider range of society and has much more of a connection with advertising and brand names than other forms of more ‘exclusive’ art. Aside from the creation of music itself, dance, in all its forms, relies on music much more than any other form of art. From a dancer’s point of view at least, dance and music are inextricably intertwined.
Every movement created creates a pattern or rhythm within itself and when it is linked with other movements – dance involves both space and time in its execution. From the creation to the learning to the performance ‘music has allied itself with the dance, an alliance natural and inescapable since rhythm is a vital element common to both’ (Lang, 1941, puppy). Despite the fact that sound and music affects our minds and our bodies unconsciously in everyday life, outside of the world of dance, and other similar physical activities, few people, when placed in a social situation feel comfortable moving to music in public.
The growth of advertising and mass electronic media has given people more ideals that they feel compelled to live up to, and many people feel uncomfortable performing what is essentially a natural biological impulse. This syndrome is more common in westernizes society than anywhere else, possibly because of the sophistication of the technology-producing chart and popular music. Debatable, it has evolved past involving the human spirit within its creation. Globalization and the seizing of music by people using it for profit is a western symptom of our consumerist society.
The increasing blurring between the mandarins of why people create music can and has had serious consequences for the artists involved. In a society where art can be bought, motives will always be brought into question. Chapter One: Music & Development Music & myth: Historical development The effects of music and sound on humanity have been notable in many forms. Music has been used to tell stories, change moods, identify cultures, create both unity and division, enhance learning and inspire movement throughout history.
It has been used to conscious and subconscious effect, leaving impressions and evoking memories that can be re-lived and revisited throughout their lifetime. The incredibly influential power of music has been demonstrated in legend and myth by stories such as The Pied Piper of Hamlin (Browning, 1843) and the Greek myth of Orpheus tells the story of how he plays his lute and his voice to charm fellow mortals, wild beasts… [even] trees and rocks’ (Bullfinch, 1979, IPPP).
Using his powers of musical persuasion, he enters the underworld to rescue Eurydice, and his song is lyrically significant in creating the setting and the drama; I implore you by these abodes full of terror, these realms of silence and uncreated things, unite again the hared of Eurydice life’ (Bullfinch, 1979, IPPP). The distinction between the terror of silence’ and emphasis on the tender strains [that made] the very ghosts shed tears’ (Bullfinch, 1979, IPPP) highlights the music as a positive, uplifting force against the bleakness of silence.
In contrast, the story of The Pied Piper of Hamlin is a very chilling interpretation of the use of music to control. The result of this tale is that the children leave their parents and their homes to disappear into the mountains and their unknown fate, under the spell of the Piper melodies. The metaphor of music’s ability to ‘persuade and control in arousing and heightening the desired emotional effect’ (LOL Chi Huh, http://www. Teacher. Nuns. Du/arts/ sugars/better. HTML, Modernizing the Orpheus Myth: Music’s Power to Persuade and Control in Today’s Technological Context, 17/12/02) is evident in its potentially destructive form.
Whereas the myth of Orpheus is romantically tragic, this tale leaves the reader uneasy and frightened, and whilst it is unfathomable that music could really have this severe an effect on humans, it is ultimately still believable that it can infiltrate the mind in an almost mystical fashion. It may be notable that all of the children of the story disappear ‘save two: one blind, the other dumb or lame’ (Room, 1959, IPPP) as indication of differing musical influence on an already sensory challenged mind.
Music & Human Development: The benefits of musical interaction through childhood all the way into adulthood and old age may come down to one simple fact – ‘Most living organisms not only produce sound but respond to it’ (Brenner, 1962, pep). It is one of the most highly effective forms of communication, as it can express feelings, thoughts and mood without (always) requiring previous knowledge and understanding. With increased social conditioning, however, sound and music can come to enhance learning, knowledge and sensitivity in every day life.
The success of music lies in its accessibility on both a personal and a group level, with or without associated understanding of the mechanics of the musical compositional form. It is used from culture to culture with varying roles and significance, in commercial, educational and social roles. Its creation and effect is both scientific and artistic, as it can be constructed and tailor- made to have a specific effect, or created from love and passion to appeal to the appreciative and emotionally artistic nature of human understanding.
Sound, in its most common human-developed form is speech and its development and beginnings. As newborns, we first begin to distinguish rhythm, pitch and volume to identify persons around us. To very young children, before an understanding of language is formed, the role of speech has a much more musical quality in their perception of it. Emotions are conveyed from mother to child via tone of voice, often in a comforting, soothing manner, and this reflects on the child’s first speech; ‘ “cooing”, a quiet, pleasant, repetitive vocational’ (http:// www. hilddevelopmentinfo. Com on sound to communicate, to the extent that hand-held machines have been developed to recognize differing tones in a baby’s cry, and identify reasons and appropriate needs. Even before a baby is born, there is evidence to suggest that the appropriate music can stimulate and enhance neurological development. One study focused on the effect of music on unborn children. After the babies were born, their development was monitored during their first six months.
The study found ‘The exposed group were significantly more advanced in gross and fine motor activities, instincts development, some aspects of soma-sensory co-ordination and in some cognitive behaviors. ‘ (www. Tuberculosis. Co. UK/application. HTML) The style of music, the frequency and the duration are not specified. The use of violin suggests classical music, and a talented violinist can produce very emotionally charged and intricately balanced melodies.
The sound of a well-played violin is recognized by most to be sweet and harmonious, so the assumption is that the listening experience was supposed to be pleasant for both mother and baby. One highly controversial scientific exploration into music and development was that of the Mozart Effect. It was first discovered and explored by Gordon Shaw, a physicist at the University of California. He and Francis Archer, ‘a former concert cellist and an expert on cognitive development’ (http://www. Skeptic. Mom/Mozart. HTML, the Mozart Effect, 17/12/02). It concentrated on the theory that listening to Mozart could have temporarily positive effects on the brain’s ability to reason and process information. This idea is not specific to Mozart. The link between body and mind that music provides can influence a variety of reactions. Whether we like it or not, our bodies respond to music, slower music decreases the heart rate, whereas faster music increases our heart rate’ (http://www. FAA. Org. UK/music. HTML, University of the First Age – Music and Learning, 24/10/02). A slower heart rate automatically promotes a more relaxed state. Specifically making the decision to listen to music may also help the brain to focus and concentrate. Mozart music will encourage this further, as the lack of drum beat (the music used was the Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major) and the gentle rise and fall of melody promotes a serene atmosphere. The problem with Hess theories is that scientifically, it is impossible to produce consistent results.
Culture, mood and situation provoke different emotional responses. The changing nature of human existence means that no emotion is fixable and able to be exactly reproduced, even in the same person. Because music is the result of a single person’s reaction to an experience or feeling, the variety of responses can be as many as the number of people that hear it. The nature of music is that it expresses emotions and responses that cannot be fully captured in words. For this reason, it can be ultimately highly useful in child development.
Before we have the vocabulary or the maturity to express ourselves verbally, we still have a full range of senses that crave stimulation. It is the tone of voice/sound/music that conveys a huge part of the message. Music & messages: Case Study – Aloud Huxley Brave New World Much in the same genre as Rowel’s 1984, Brave New World was scathing dyspepsia science fiction. It provided a glimpse at a future society, evolved from our own, where people’s thoughts, feelings and social place were pre-defined.
Free speech could not really exist because there was so little opportunity for free thought. Whereas 1984 The use of sound and aural stimulation is highly important theme throughout. In his later commentary on the book, ‘Brave New World Revisited’, Huxley is very much preoccupied by the incredibly influential powers that aurally delivered messages can have on the psyche. ‘Music as propaganda’ is a theme used throughout the novel. One of the most sinister of Huxley interpretation on the power of voice and sound over human consciousness is that of ‘Hypermedia’.
It worked on the principals that the sleeping mind, like the hypnotic state leaves the brain more susceptible to suggestion. Huxley Hypermedia preached moral, not intellectual teachings, on the grounds that the mind was only successfully susceptible to the kind of words that require no analysis for their comprehension, but can be swallowed whole by the sleeping brain’ (Huxley, 1959, Pl 32). The method of delivery was also significant, in the form of an under-pillow speaker in a ‘soft but very distinct voice’ (Huxley, 1932, pep).
The softness appeals because it is gentle and non-invasive to the brain. In this dyspepsia world, there is no existence or sense of family, so the significance of a distinct’ voice is that it provides familiarity, and therefore comfort and reassurance. Another aspect of the effectiveness of Hypermedia and its success at social conditioning was the use of repetition, and the intensity at which it was done; “They’ll have that (a simple morally conditioning message) repeated forty or fifty times before they wake; and then again on Thursday, and again on Saturday.
A hundred and twenty times three times a week for thirty months (Huxley, 1932, pep). This was perhaps Huxley extreme prediction of how higher society can pressure the masses into believing whatever is force-fed to them. It also signifies how repetition and a sense of familiarity warms people to a certain system of thought. In our present society, these are techniques employed to a lesser level by our advertising media. Many television adverts use popular music and are shown throughout the day for a number of weeks.
Research shows that if a person feels a familiarity with a product, they are more likely to be drawn into choosing it over an unknown product. From a different perspective, Brave New World’s Hypermedia appeals to the brain in a similar way to our commercial Pop music – Unchallenged, repetitive and appealing to our emotions rather than our intelligence. Topics used in Pop songs generally do not require analysis or intellectual understanding to be enjoyed, in short – ‘can be swallowed whole by the sleeping (or in this case subconscious) brain’ (Huxley, 1959, IPPP).
One of Huxley highly effective tools to help create a sense of reality and believability is his use of childhood rhymes. Throughout our childhood, nursery rhymes and playground chants are passed on by word of mouth, as a rite of passage. Their ‘sing-along quality, teamed with the repetitiveness of the chant makes them ass to remember and entertaining to do. Huxley uses this to challenge the reader into reconsidering the social norm. The traditional rhyme of ‘Bye Baby Bunting, daddy’s gone ‘a hunting… ‘ (Traditional origin unknown) is ‘updated’ and translated to ‘Bye Baby Banging, soon you’ll need decanting… (Huxley, 1932, Pl 11). In the novel, the idea of the parent is obsolete, and has been replaced with what has become their ‘normal’ form of reproduction. ‘Decanting is Brave New World’s term for their system of growing all babies in bottles, so that their genetic future can be decided by society. Rods is an important part of all childhood development, from nursery rhymes, to Christmas and birthday songs. There are many more uses of music, sound and song in the creation of Huxley tale – music to persuade, to control and to manipulate.
But despite this abundance of noise designed to pacify and restore social order, it is an emotionally unchallenged society. The rhymes are simple, delivered by machines and designed to create particular impulses. It is not to enhance creativity but to stifle it. These people do not feel the need to create as they are conditioned to appreciate all hey receive and nothing more. The epitome of this is summarized by ‘The Controller’, the only person with full knowledge of the world before – what we would understand as ‘our world’; You’ve got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art.
We’ve sacrificed the high art. ‘ (Huxley, 1932, IPPP) ‘But they (the songs) don’t mean anything. ‘… ‘They mean themselves; they mean a lot of agreeable sensations to the audience. ‘ (Huxley, 1932, IPPP) Huxley & propaganda Just seven years after Brave New World was published, the Second World War broke UT, and Huxley began to realizes the accuracy of his predictions of the effects of aural propaganda. One of the policies of his fictitious’ society was to provide as much group-based interaction as possible and to discourage solidarity.
The theory behind this was that an individual has a greater ability to reason and philosophies then when part of a group. Reading and rational debate cannot be done in huge groups, and also inhibit the likelihood of blind trust in a higher power, be it religious or political. Crowd mentality can be irrational, impulsive and easily influenced. In the name strain of thought, this was why Huxley (and notably, Hitler) saw advantages in using music and sound to persuade and control, in preference to the written word. Music and the delivery of speech (sound) have the most dramatic effect in a crowd situation.
The instinct of the masses to ‘belong’ can be greatly enhanced by a feeling of interaction and clear communication between speaker and recipients. Hitler had a great understanding of how mass-media communication and crowd speaking could sway and define opinion. He treated the masses with utter contempt, seeing them as a single entity, and therefore ‘herd-like’. In what Huxley coined as ‘herd- poisoning (Huxley, 1959, pep), Hitler composed his own system of propaganda delivery – ‘Only constant repetition will finally succeed in imprinting an idea upon the memory of a crowd’ (Hitler, quoted in Huxley, 1959, pep).
Once assembled in a crowd, the individual is immediately subdued; he can become disorientated and loses the power to be heard as an individual. Therefore, it is in the speaker’s best interests to be loud and charismatic. The frustration created from the inability for a person within the crowd to express their own voice can be pacified by the provision of an overpowering and unifying sound – the main speaker. Part of Hitter’s success as a propagandist was his realization of the effects of en-mass delivery of sound to unify groups of people.
Sound is far more effective than writing because it can encourage a more emotional response. It is an idea employed by institutions that cannot always rely on the truth’ and logical reasoning to state their case. A prime example of this is in religion; an institution built on music, hymns and ceremonial chanting. ‘Amongst the masses instinct is supreme, and from instinct comes faith… ‘ (Hitler, quoted in ND morals because it is arguments based on opinion of facts rather than actual indisputable facts.
The corruption of mass media can lead to music and sound being used to persuade on these emotional grounds in many aspects of our lives today. From hymns, war and marching chants, to seemingly less sinister advertising jingles and background ‘mazurka, the effects of sound on human consciousness is far reaching, with serious consequences. Chapter Two: Music in a Popular Sociological Context Music & Advertising With the growth of technology and mass media, we now live in a sound and music ailed environment.
It is added as background music, in television & radio advertising and film (with the aim of subconscious influence), or foreground music, in dance & theatre performance (to consciously influence the listener and listener’s reactions). Music in advertising is used in preference to silence or mere speech because it distracts from a potentially more mundane reality. It engages a new interest and psychological connection by turning the presentation into a form of entertainment. As David Huron points out in his essay Music in Advertising: An Analytic Paradigm
The etymology of the word “entertain” means to engage the attention, or to draw interest” which suggests that the use of all music in a western sociological context is for underlying reasons and not “simple hedonistic enjoyment” (David Huron, http:// www. Music-cog. Ohio-state. Du/Huron/Publications /Huron. Advertising. Text. HTML, Music in Advertising: An Analytic Paradigm, 17/12/02) The origins of music in advertising lie in vaudeville, where ‘music served to candy coat a narrative sales pitch… And render the music less of an unwanted intrusion’ (David Huron, http:// www. Music-cog. Ohio-state. U/Huron/ Publications/Huron. Advertising. Text. HTML, Music in Advertising: An Analytic Paradigm, 17/12/02). This technique has been expanded and developed into the present day through media advertising. Here it has many roles – it provides a smooth linking of images, can provide meaning to these images, and can make the product easier to remember. Although advertising music is often chosen to appeal to a certain group, due to the centralizing and globalization of advertising agencies, marketing departments have to appeal to an increasingly impossibly large group of very different individuals.
Music is helpful in drawing attention, but advertisers want to attract the correct market with this technique. Often, instead of playing music that the whole group would actually listen to, because this is impossible, it is much more universally effective to find music that conveys a feeling, by playing on our preconceptions that certain types of music have already established. It is generally assumed, for example, that gentle, classical music will appeal to an older generation, and that rock music will convey a feeling of youth and aggression.
As Hellholes observed, the eye has a great advantage over the ear in Ewing able to survey a large extent of surface at the same moment’ (Hellholes, 1954, pep). The advantage in the use of music for advertisers is that while the eye can take in a variety of information simultaneously, the ear cannot perform this function with the same success. Therefore, a ‘catchy tune will be retained in the forefront of the brain much more than yet another mass of colors and pictures in our already visually animated society. The use of song can help to enforce the musical effect. If a be recreated not only in their memory but through speech as well.
The use of song alps to spread the words of the product even further and can reassure a positive affirmation as ‘real’ people and not Just faceless advertising companies are recommending it. A good example of this technique is the Christmas Coca-Cola advert. Aurally, the advert begins with a chorus of singers repeating the line “Holidays are coming, holidays are coming… ” On a single note. The repetition evokes feeling of anticipation in both delivery and wording. The word ‘holiday is one with very positive connotations to the public: those of freedom and relaxation.
As the use of the single note changes into a more complex melody, only now do the singers egging to mention the product. The music reaches its climax and ending with the words “… Always Coca-Cola”, using a series of notes and melody used on other Coca- Cola commercials, providing a sense of familiarity along with completion. The final note of this line (and of the advert) is lower than the rest of the notes in this melody, giving a feeling of resolution and satisfaction – we have received what we were promised through the earlier anticipation.
By promising something through the build-up of expectation and bringing in the product only at the moment of climax, the reduce has become the answer and solution to the expectancy. Visually, the product itself is not given so much attention, however. The name appears on lorries carrying the Coca-Cola, but the emphasis is on an idyllic Christmas scene, with snowy hills, Christmas trees and families sitting warm and comfy in their homes. The musical advertising techniques employed create the association with the images by entering the viewers’ consciousness’ at the same moment, forging links between these previously unrelated objects.
This advert has been repeated in an unchanged arm in the build-up to Christmas over several years, so the music is supplemented by the association of a happy time of year. Significantly, it is also being related to a time of year when the public increases it’s spending, especially on food and drink products. Music & Shopping In Western society it is arguable that almost all music we listen to (outside of our own music collections) in everyday life is for advertising means.
Television and commercial radio are our two main forms of mass communication, and even if the music played is not advertising another product, it remains as an advertisement for itself. In youth culture especially, the vast majority of radio stations focused on this group play exclusively commercially successful tunes, and much of the focus is on ‘Top 40’ songs – songs decided by sales figures. In reality, the music is advertising the radio station itself, increasing the ratings by attempting to appeal to the largest number of people possible.
Unfortunately, it is impossible for the radio station to have a play list that all the listeners will like all of the time, so their best option is to have a varied enough play list that all of the listeners will like some of the time. Maybe it is due to this sacrificing of specific tastes and opting towards a more general ‘spreading of taste that has led to music becoming commonplace in retail shops. Here, music is not to be listened to, for listening sake. Instead, marketing departs have realized that music can help the consumer to ‘energies and relax’ (http://www. FAA. Org. UK/music. HTML, University of the First Age – Music and Learning, 24/10/02). In a more energies and relaxed state, and therefore a happier ; Begin to create a mental connection between shopping and good moods, encouraging future visits. Our current ‘happiness through shopping’ is clearly demonstrated through what has been dubbed by the modern media as ‘retail therapy. And whilst music is not the main reason for a shopper to visit a particular store, the use of music to create an optimum buying environment where the consumer feels comfortable and accepted is all part of the experience.
Playing commercial music in young trendy clothing shops is an example of a technique used widely in television advertising; defining the target audience. Young, fashionable music is most likely to be the choice of people that want to appear young and seasonable themselves. Linking a clothing style with a type of music helps people to decide what style and subculture they belong to, or would like to belong to. As Firth points out, ‘Pop music is created… For a large audience and is marketed accordingly by the record industry (Firth, 1981, up).
Unlike other forms of music, Pop is not created to cater to the tastes of a more culturally defined listener. It is specifically designed to appeal to the largest number of people by embracing a style of composition & performance that is inoffensive by nature, usually in the form of a simple and repetitive tune. Because musical barriers and perceptions are not challenged or confronted, it is rarely taken seriously as an art form. This in itself can prove to be advantageous (to retailers and advertisers especially) because it much easier to mentally ‘switch off from.
Shoppers with more refined and sophisticated musical tastes can put the musical intrusion to the back of their consciousness, while the fans of Pop can listen to it without it interrupting their shopping routine. Personal research demonstrated that the majority of stores that used Pop as a dominant musical backdrop were clothing shops, ranging from teen-wear, ladies and men’s looting shops to sportswear shops. Bookshops and newsagents, for examples, rarely used music at all, or played it at a considerably lower level.
The conclusions drawn from this were that, on a regular basis, clothes are amongst the most frequently bought non-essential items. Pop music is likely to appeal to fashion-conscious people because both products are aimed at a consumer-driver market. Newsagents do not need a soundtrack for their customers because newspapers, bread and milk do not need to be advertised to the same extent, or turned into objects of desire, they are lily necessities. Clothes, very much like music, define part of our public identities.
The type of clothing sold in the shops that played current chart music was affordable, fashionable and likely to quickly go in and out of style. This purposefully short shelf life is because the record industry depends on constant consumer turnover and therefore exploits the notions of fashion and obsolescence to keep people buying (Firth, 1981, up). Here, the clothes, like the music are appealing to a trend and the subculture they define is one of constantly shifting and changing ideas. It is the lack of definition and the seizing and discarding of a continuous stream of styles that defines the nature of pop subculture itself.
Music & the definition of subcultures Belonging to a subculture, especially for teenagers and young adults can be a pathway to finding a form of personal expression within the safety of a larger group with pre-set outlines of ideas and style. Specific ways of dressing and music tastes are ways that younger people demonstrate developing personal tastes, ideas and demonstrated practice in our society; specialist music shops, the links between loathes shops and music styles, and very importantly, night clubs and bars. Here, there is a unity created between people with similar tastes coming together to drink, socialist and dance.
The use of alcohol and dim lighting can act as a relaxant to inhibitions, providing the ideal environment for people to feel free to express themselves. As Firth remarks, ‘The most obvious feature of dancing as an activity is its sexually-institutionalized dancing, a peculiarly constrained form of physical interaction, is redolent with sexual tensions and possibilities, as private desires get public display, as repressed needs are proudly shared’. (Firth, 1981, pep) Early adulthood is a significant time for releasing and exploring sexuality, which can often be one of the most confusing developments for people of this age.
That night clubs are usually filled with younger people follows hand-in-hand with a tendency of uncertainty and inhibition in the discovery of sexuality. It is a natural human trait to look for a mate who has shared interests and ideologies. The night club atmosphere can become a parade of sexuality; music and style tastes (indicators of interests) come linked with the perception of the body in a potentially sexual form. There are few other places in western society where such a blatant view of sexuality can be performed within a relatively safe and non-judgmental environment.
However, not all teen and youth-based subcultures are defined by the nature of how they broadcast their sexuality. Subcultures are more than Just a means to finding a mate. They can also form from political and social beliefs and mutual feelings of separation from mainstream culture. One such example is that of the Punk rebellion of the ass, up to the growth of Punk Rock in the ass and today. Despite its various influences, some hailed Punk as a reaction to what people saw as the superficiality and commercialism of Pop and even Rock music.
Whilst the artificiality of Pop was blatant (a simple backing track accompanied by a singer repeating clickd phrases written by an unseen individual), the rebellion against Rock was a less obvious choice. The music was noisier (excess noise being a sign of musical rebellion), the topics were more risqué and the musicians often wrote and performed the tracks themselves. However, the performers and especially the lead singers became famous for their kooks and charisma, and the lifestyle was as notorious as the music. The ‘shock factor’ was a large part of what was seen as ‘Rocks rebellion’.
But it is questionable if it really was a rebellion at all. The ‘Rock stars’ still became sex symbols, made mass- produced music and the shock factor was a marketing tool in itself: listeners of Rock were able to live the lifestyle through the music, without ever having the rebel or shock themselves. The Rock phenomenon is a contradiction in terms, as Firth remarks; ‘Rock is mass-produced music that carries a critique of its own means of reduction; it is a mass-consumed music that constructs its own “authentic” audience’ (Firth, 1981, Pl) Punk was a very different type of opposing stance to either of these subcultures.
There was no hint of sexuality or good looks to entice people to the music. It stood for a very different set of values – those of politics and real social issues. Also, from a financial perspective, Rock and Punk were very different. Rock stars were depicted living a life of excess, and alcohol, drugs and women were all part of an expensive lifestyle to uphold the rebellious image of Rock.