chapter  13
13 Pages

Do the stars know why they shine?

An argument for including cultural theory in popular music programmes
ByEmma Hooper

This chapter argues that cultural, critical and, therein, sociological, theory are important and necessary components of any popular music programme and discusses the inextricable links between contemporaneous culture and context, for contextualizing, therefore, both the art and the artist. It describes the importance of including cultural theory, in its many guises, as an integral part of higher education popular music programmes, highlighting the importance of arming graduates with the tools to be sociologically active and aware as commentators, consumers and creators. The chapter focuses on how and why the situation can and arguably should differ in popular music schools, departments and programmes. "The relationship between classical musicology and popular music was fraught with difficulty and has been much commented upon"; features such as texture and production-as-art-form begged exploration and emphasis, and the hegemony of things such as melody and pitch in traditional musicological methods was called into question.