Frank Zappa: A Study In Gesture

Paul Carr just posted slides from his talk on Frank Zappa & Gesture.

Here is a powerpoint presentation which looks at an approach to using an artist as a musicological case study. After explaining some potential generic approaches, it looks at Frank Zappa as a case study.

10 Responses to “Frank Zappa: A Study In Gesture”

  1. urbangraffito says:

    Barry, I get the feeling I’ve heard all this before. As a case study in musical research, Dr. Carr does a fine job outlining and covering all the bases, yet what has he added to the overall discussion with this powerpoint presentation? I direct you to the previous post, “Cheaper the Better – Lyrically Zappa”. Dr. Carr barely skims over Zappa’s work as a songwriter, as though it were something of an aberration of his overall thesis.

    I would argue that Zappa’s work as a Rock artist is just as valuable as his work as a composer (and not merely a means to an end). Wherever Zappa applied himself – classically, lyrically – excellence was always the outcome.

    I find it a danger to attempt to classify Zappa too much – the result almost always is the subjective application of our own biases. One must always allow enough room for the chicken to measure it, methinks.

  2. Dark Clothes says:

    I found ithe PP presentation valuable for certain purposes. I took me about three minutes to digest it, which suggests that it isn’t exactly groundbreaking or deep (or alternatively that I’m impatient and superficial).

  3. P-Rip says:

    Bad PowerPoint should never substitute for critical analysis and proper analytical design. As a huge fan of Edward Tufte (the modern guru of analytical design), This kind of “bullet point grunt” presentation just makes my eyes roll.

    See: “The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within”.

    http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0000qY&topic_id=1

  4. ABOOK says:

    most of all zappa related music is as i found out a programming like many other artist are doing DZ said in an interview that there was a hoog
    drive programming in zappa mothers roxy and elsewhere.
    most of all you will find when you have understood the power of the word. Zappa knew all of that and he knew, reading between the lines
    the energy of men and the diffrent faiths. If you have an open eye you can find it. Its not all about music and zappas records are books.
    dont look in to things like playing the song backward to fins a message.
    study the word id you know what i mean. Then you would have to understand the blueprint of the mind wich we are all having oh what the fulgger i said to much and then you find the direction of men. Oh you said you where programmed and didnt know it maybe . what carr is doing with gesture is waht is called gestalt modeling today.
    Oh you thought zappa was dead only because you learnd it that way.
    no you been listening to zappa to long and havent gotten it. well if i told you how i found it you said i be a fool in the village of the sun.
    for reasons unkown i want disclose more to you grab a zappa posture and give it a try. or maybe what he shown you in his posture cleared your mind of garbage. Zappa music clears you every thing is healing nicely………………………….the mind dental hygiene or mental hygine.
    maybe zappa was your own reflection. goood is that guy stupid !
    write me please to the village idiot or aka firehorseusa @ yahoo.com i love to get some good conversations going.

  5. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Dark Clothes:

    I found ithe PP presentation valuable for certain purposes. I took me about three minutes to digest it, which suggests that it isn’t exactly groundbreaking or deep (or alternatively that I’m impatient and superficial).

    As I stated, Dr. Carr’s purpose wasn’t to add anything to the Zappa discussion, but to use him and his music as an example for “a case study in musical research”. And at that he does very well hitting all the points with his power point presentation. I can well imagine this being used in a large university auditorium to an large group of undergraduates. I still recall my experience of us being treated like cattle in the university auditoriums I was forced to sit in for many undergraduate courses while professors made presentations on large screens (if I could see the professor at all).

    I think we can all agree that such a presentation is really just a starting point when discussing Zappa’s multitude of complexities. Just when one thinks one has a full handle on Zappa’s work, some other angle pops up to throw you a curve. Even after 40 years, his work never fails to excite me…

  6. Dark Clothes says:

    Interesting stuff on the cognitive style of PPP, P-Rip!

  7. Alex says:

    A quote from ABOOK:

    most of all zappa related music is as i found out a programming like many other artist are doing DZ said in an interview that there was a hoog…Oh you said you where programmed and didnt know it maybe . what carr is doing with gesture is waht is called gestalt

    TOTALLY!!!

  8. ABOOK says:

    zappa is very exciting on all fronts to point the way i think a cheap intro book in linguistigs will point you in the right direction there was a highly master of mind at work a genius bigger then what you can imagin
    many of you have only scratched the surface of his genius.
    you think its music with great guitar play there is a whole lot a more in zappas music then you know. when i went to a gestalt thereapy intro at an nlp center the use the poster gesture idea to model you. they show you your self so you can let go of a limitation. so maybe to put the genius zappa in the right light he has the effect on me that he and his music had some waht a clearing effect and some waht an limitation
    breaker.He was also a trend setter and the beginning or new beginning of progressive music compsition. when we all saw picasso paint in the beginning you saw a men painting like we where used to at the end picasso painted in many ways painting wich where hard to understand
    since he had grown past the limitations of the normal bearing person.
    in the music of zappa you see a movment that is now starting that people with out degrees in music compose and his style of music is traveling from mind to mind awekening in people what is called a motor i can on my own . his own compostions are not really understood buy the so called laymen or normal people. till the normal will get there to expand the mind to such musical creation and accept it. then there is a new zappa some where. So you can see for his music or his impact on society at large and waht he influenced and how the rippels in the waters are still moving. it be up to us to get it going. i wondred a while a go when i listened to leather with the cow on the cover if it may was more then just songs or things that look like meat. maybe he wanted to tell something. The use of the cow for leather maybe eat your greens your word is your religon so maybe there was or is a covert driver or a cover message in his works . there is more then one picture in hironimus boch pictures maybe his music made some where a movie in your mind. stay away from hironimus boch pictures there are nasty same the austrian painter helwien. so the gesture tell you something maybe a key give everything a shoot its more then just a posture.
    pls keep the planet clean and green and buy simple shoes !

  9. Birdman! says:

    I think you’re wrong, ABOOK. Zappa is merely music with great guitar play and that’s all.

  10. urbangraffito says:

    Zappa a trend setter? I’m still waiting to see that trend fulfilled, myself. It seems like everyone attempts to redraw Zappa into their own image – whether they be “high brow” or “low brow” fans of his music. Zappa was who he was, nothing more, nothing less. He stood apart from all groups and classifications – which, perhaps, was his greatest appeal of all.

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