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Experiencing Music Video Aesthetics and Cultural Context by Carol Vernallis

Experiencing Music Video Aesthetics and Cultural Context


Experiencing Music Video Aesthetics and Cultural Context by Carol Vernallis

Music videos have ranged from simple tableaux of a band playing its instruments to multimillion dollar, high-concept extravaganzas. Born of a sudden expansion in new broadcast channels, music videos continue to exert an enormous influence on popular music. They help to create an artist's identity, to affect a song's mood, to determine chart success: the music video has changed our idea of the popular song. Here at last is a study that treats music video as a distinct multimedia artistic genre, different from film, television, and indeed from the songs they illuminate-and sell. Carol Vernallis describes how verbal, musical, and visual codes combine in music video to create defining representations of race, class, gender, sexuality, and performance. The book explores the complex interactions of narrative, settings, props, costumes, lyrics, and much more. Three chapters contain close analyses of important videos: Madonna's Cherish, Prince's Gett Off, and Peter Gabriel's Mercy St.


Vernallis has done what no one else has to date . . . she has seen beyond the surface of the music video and has found the true and unique language of the art form. This book is the first to take music video seriously as a multimedia genre in its own right. Carol Vernallis not only has an intimate knowledge of the repertory, but also brings together perspectives that have in the past been pursued in isolation: the musical and the cinematic, the technical and the cultural. With its combination of theoretical topics and case studies, this book is the definitive one-stop solution for anybody who wants not just to experience, but to really understand, music videos. -- Nicholas Cook, Professor of Music, Royal Holloway, University of London, Editor, Journal of the Royal Musical Association

About the Author

Carol Vernallis is associate professor in the Media Arts and Studies Division of the Communication Department at Wayne State University.

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Book Info

Publication date

26th May 2004


Carol Vernallis

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Columbia University Press


480 pages


Media studies
Music: styles & genres



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