New World Music

New World Music is a hybrid between African and European music, so it’s basically the music I grew up on. I think the best representation of New World Beats is Latin music, because it’s a perfect mixture and most of it contains the misplaced beat that we discussed in class.


Actually, I find that most music that we deem “dance-able” contain that misplaced beat, such as samba, swing (obviously), cha-cha, salsa, and hip hop, reggaeton, etc. Many of these forms of dance have that “Habanera” beat as many have no veered far from their origins. It’s fascinating how these different genres are so closely related, although some produce completely different vibes.



Boundary Transgression

Boundary Transgression honestly sounds like some passive aggressive nonsense to explain racism. Boundary transgression is always either a monstrosity or sacred as we discussed in class. American pop culture is just a mixing of cultures, but there are quite a few times where it is deemed unacceptable. In the 50’s, for a white person to buy a race record was unacceptable. Just as it was strange for a black singer to perform opera, it was boundary transgression that was not okay to the public eye.

In class we discussed the concept of American political culture instilling segregation, even with the mixing found in pop culture. This is how we get cultural appropriation and minstrel shows. The idea that black people listen to or create music that is beneath a white audience, for a then, white entertainer to take that same musical, entertaining or culture concept and profit from it is boundary transgression. For example, Elvis with “Hound Dog” originally sung by Big Mama Thornton or Pat Boone “Tutti Frutti” (a version I’ve never heard before until someone told me) originally sung by Little Richard. However, cultural appropriation is a complex topic as some cultural appropriation is derived from stereotyping, such as Miley Cyrus and her performances in 2014 and Gwen Stefani in the 2000’s. It’s a hard factor that is prevalent in today’s society but has been happening for decades.

American Popular Music: Minstrel Shows??

I didn’t think that we would be talking about minstrel shows as American popular music, but since we’re here…WHY NOT!

The minstrel show, to me, is one of the darkest points in American pop culture. It seen as almost a national treasure and it’s everywhere…

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And I mean EVERYWHERE! Even children have seen reminiscence of the minstrel shows.

We’re told that the minstrels lead to the separation of whiteness vs. blackness, but it feels so much bigger than that. The minstrel show is more like a separation of blackness from the rest of the world. To many people, it is just entertainment, using blackface and minstrel songs about slavery and laziness to get laughs; however, it is humiliating among the black community. The mass production and spreading of the minstrel shows makes it worse as it lead to stereotyping and more discrimination against black people that still happens today.

We also talked about black people today who use the minstrel show concepts for laughs, like Dave Chappelle, or who use a form of blackface as a persona, like 50 cent. It’s something I never thought about, but it’s probably because it’s an idea that is so entrenched in pop culture that even people within the black community don’t see or realize it. However, I do hold the argument that although people like 50 cent dress like thugs for their careers, they’re also the products of their surroundings. I know many people who dressed and acted like 50 cent did when he was a rapper, but that was the environment that they knew. Kendrick Lamar is an artist that is sometimes consider too “black”.


Does Kendrick use minstrel concepts for his music because he is a “hoodlum” from Compton? Some people would argue yes, but I believe there is a difference between using blackness for entertainment value, and being a product of your environment. I would argue that more black entertainers are more likely to be products of their environment than certain white entertainers who use black culture as marketing opportunity.


Signal to Noise Ratio/Analog Computers: The world may never know


I have no idea what this has to do with anything. I was generally confused for half of class and just wrote a bunch of notes that probably don’t make sense.


Mostly because signal to noise ratio is boring and I’m not sure if we talked about analog computers or not, but it is interesting that signal to noise ratio can be analyzed through everyday concepts.  When I think of signal vs. noise, I think electrical signal you hear vs. everything that’s not the signal. As we learned, noise is a general deterioration of signal as its traveled. But, anything you don’t like can be deemed noise. It reminds me of anytime you see a TV show and the kid is playing music, the mom always says,”Turn that noise off!” The idea that outside sound or noise disconnects the natural order.



So, how you determine what is signal and what is noise? When we ask questions like this class, the first idea is: it depends on the person, but why is that? It can’t possibly be true, because there has to be some way to determine non electrical signal and noise.

Week 3: Socratic Method

This week in class confused me at first. I wasn’t sure if I was understanding the message.

(Get it!)
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The quote,”A self created in Literacy is a lesser self” is interesting, because the idea that not being able to read makes you smarter because all the knowledge you need to know is memorized. Whereas, literate persons will look up said knowledge. I believe that literacy can limit our abilities, because we spend more time researching than discussing and discovering. However, just because someone is illiterate does not mean they are smarter. We discussed “The medium is the message”, and if the information or message you receive from the medium is only partially true, and you teach or argue off of those facts, one can still create a lesser self. Illiteracy can sometimes be based in ignorance or false information.

We also discussed the idea of writing created two selves, the “writing self” and the “reading self” and we posed the question:

“When you are reading to yourself, who are you reading to?”

When reading to yourself, you are not necessarily reading as much as comprehending and taking in information, compared to reading aloud where you are not really taking in information. If “the medium is the message” and the message is whatever knowledge you receive from literature, does literacy actually create a lesser self (as literacy is democratizing access to knowledge)?

Week 2: Is the Internet destroying our brains?

I believe that the internet is an extremely powerful tool in the modern age. Having the internet available at our fingertips is convenient, but we memorize less. However, it gives us access to more information faster than before. Although, some argue that the internet is making everyone dumber, because we can look things up; we are actually getting smarter. Older people who grew up without the internet feel as though we are dumber because we don’t memorize as everyone’s birthdays and small facts. However, younger people feel as though the memorization of small facts is unimportant in the grand scheme of knowledge. The ideas and concepts that I learned in 2008 are much harder than they were in 1978 and the concepts in 2018 are harder than they were in 2008. The influence of the internet as made education more complex; meaning five-year-olds are more advanced now than I was at age 5. The internet is making the world more educated at a younger age and the rest of the older world is trying to catch up. When I was young, my father tried to teach me the Greek alphabet; it took me 25 minutes to memorize it. When he was young, it took him almost an hour. My nieces learned the Greek alphabet last year within 5 minutes, because of the videos available to make it easier to learn.

In class, the argument that the internet is destroying our brains doesn’t hold up for this reason. The technological world is all that some 20-year-olds and everyone younger know, but its not destroying our brains. It’s making everything harder now that knowledge is available at our fingertips.

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Week 1 of Digital Past

During the first week of History 390, we talked about the idea of modern music being compressed. When music is compressed, it fails to be anything more than background noise. It was argued that music is compressed because we tend to spend a lot of time listening to music while doing other tasks, and we can’t be bothered with adjusting the volume. Professor O’Malley argued that we shouldn’t be listening to music while multitasking, as it prevents us from doing a thoroughly good job, because all of our focus is not whatever assignment or task we’re supposed to do. Also, he argued the fact that music today is practically sub-par when compared to music of the 60’s, 70’s, etc.

The song he used to make that argument was “Havana” by Camila Cabello which, in my mind, is a terrible example of music today. Pop music today is terrible in comparison to pop music of the 50’s and 60’s and so forth. Popular pop music today is very basic and only really popular because of how catchy it is, which is why it is played so often.

Genres such: R & B, Blues, and even Hip-Hop & Rap consist of some compressed music but not as much as pop music. Genres like these are less compressed and very dependent of the vocalist and or lyricist. Even though some could argue that newer rap or “trap music” in the 2010’s is compressed, which it is, I believe the majority is not.

I believe that compressed music exists in most popularized, highly marketed music and/or musicians. Pop music and artists like, Taylor Swift and sometimes Beyoncé have compressed music, in which their vocals will lack dynamics.