The Primary Text

By Mike Furry, Guitar, Instructor at The Lesson Studio

ImageRock is a term that has a lot of ambiguity. In his book, The Primary Text, author Allan Moore refers to the music as the primary text. He also argues that musicologists are too busy looking at social factors to determine the validity of a composition. The focus should be on the music itself.

There are several conflicting definitions of what rock means. Some say rock music is a rebellion against pop music. Some say it is pop music itself. Instead of trying to define rock music, it’s best to focus on the stylistic conventions in order to understand it. The techniques that are used to analyze classical music should also be used to study the music of popular society. Unique terms are essential in order to draw parallels between classical analysis and rock analysis. Historical, political, and sociological factors are also relevant in understanding music.

Rock has its own unique style. The music can be identified through specific techniques, such as electric instrumentation, guitar solos, and studio sound production. Because it is always progressing and changing with the times, ultimately there can be no definitive definition of rock, and there are many ways of articulating that musical sound. Finally, remember to always keep an open mind when listening!


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