Thursday, 28 June 2012

Barthes and Adorno

For part of Thursday's lesson we looked at (or will have looked at) the 'grain of the voice' (and Adorno) and considered gesture, pulsion and grain.

Essay on Barthes' Musical Semiology

Adorno's Music Theory and the Social Implications Thereof

Above are essays on the both Barthes and Adorno. Ben, since you're a keen Lacanian, my initial (and underwhelming) research suggests that pulsion may be Lacanian in origin. Have a dig around and see if it is...

Further useful resources:

Homeworks (all 3 of 'em) 


Choose AT LEAST three music videos from your proposed / preferred genre and produce a detailed analysis of how they fit in to Goodwin. You can do this as one big piece or three individual pieces - your choice. Remember NOT AN ESSAY. DUE 17TH JULY

You MUST consider all the ideas I suggested for the conventions of hip hop post and, in addition, consider the following areas:
  • include a Barthesian analysis using AT LEAST ONE the terms GESTURE, PULSION and GRAIN;
  • inlcude Adorno's term 'PSEUDO-INDIVIDUALISATION''; and
  • EXTENSION: using the data you generated from your audience research consider which video would appeal to the majority of your audience the most and why.


Due as blog post by the end of the JULY (yes, 31st, even after school has finished). Choose a song of your choice from your proposed/preferred genre and as an individual create a storyboard for a unique music video, edited to the song. Don't forget to  include a new band name, track name, album title and record company name at the start of your video. LOADS OF YOU FORGOT FOR YOUR FIRST ATTEMPT. Make it really like a music video, even if you have to draw it - make sure it fits the genre conventions or intentionally subverts them. It must be clear to a viewer what happens in your video. Use Goodwin and your knowledge of the conventions of music videos to create something really effective.

(There were some really good videos of people who had done their storyboards on post-it notes and filmed that and edited it to the track but the YouTube account they were on is the one that got closed for copyright claims despite it having been a brillaint educational tool. You don't have to do it on post-its, just an idea if you're looking for something a bit different).


This must be accompanied by an analysis (and this time I will allow a full on essay if you want but don't just resort to this as a default option. Only do it if you feel you have a sufficiently academic writing style to produce an excellent essay. Technical terminology will, as always, make me happy. Especially if it is used accurately) using the same stems as for the task above. In addition to these, above, you must also cover:
  • how this piece is more successful than your first storyboard in terms of creating a convincing music video;
  • what part you feel is most successful and why;
  • what part is least successful and why; and
  • what you have learnt about music videos in preparation for planning your coursework piece.
EXTENSION - you could also show this one to an audience and get feedback on what they think is successful and what needs to be changed and why.


Based on the intial audience feedback you have received, decide on your coursework groups (6 groups max and, this time, no more than 2 to a group - it'll make it easier for you to get loads of marks using the way we're going to make you work come September, that's why) and decide which genre you are going to make a music video for. Then as INDIVIDUALS, choose between 2 - 5 tracks each and share them with your audience and get them to give you feedback on what songs they prefer and why (and, if they want, make suggestions about what they think should happen in a video for the song).

You must have BEGUN to gather this data by 3RD JULY, Again, no need to be posting about it, just so long as you are generating the data and have the research underway.

One way you can do it (in addition to any other ways, and one I srongly recommend) is to use the blogspot poll gadget and add a poll to your blog asking people to give you feedback on your porposed tracks. Post explaining how to do this is here. You should ALSO, therefore, be going on to EACH OTHERS' BLOGS and completing the poll for each class member.




1. Use your knowledge of Adorno and Goodwin create your own Adornoan theory of music VIDEO. Give it a (sensible) name, make it clear it is inspired by Adorno and Goodwin and make it clear that it is a recontextualisation of Adorno's theory (taking something relating to products 80 years in the past to make it relevant for today). Post to your blog a detailed outline of your theory, supporting each point you make with reference to at least one music video. USE A RANGE OF VIDEOS TO ILLUSTRATE YOUR PREMISES AND MAKE YOUR THEORY CONVINCING.


2. Use your knowledge of Barthes and Goodwin create your own theory of the PHENO-VIDEO. Make it clear it is a combination of Barthes and Goodwin (and, if you're feeling kind, a short credit to me in the final slide acknowledging the inital idea came from your erstwhile Media teacher would be loverly - have conducted extensive research and can't find ANYTHING using the term PHENO-VIDEO so I think it is completely original, but then a couple of years ago one of my class thought she'd invented the 'female gaze' and I had to, sadly, let her know it already existed, so am prepared for some clever clogs to show me it is a theory that has been round for donkey's years). Post to your blog a detailed explanation of your theory. You may wish to give some real world examples of music videos you consider to be 'pheno-videos'.


  1. Sorry if I'm being blind/obtuse and you've already done this, but would you be able to post the powerpoint/prezi you used in the lesson on Adorno/Barthes please? I'm really struggling to get my head around some of the concepts, and the way I've written them down has confused me even more, so I think it would be helpful for me to see them again.

    1. Sorry! Only just seen this after being iller than an ill thing. I shall stick it on the shared area tomorrow.

  2. Thank you!
    Hope you're feeling better :)
    We thought you might have died or something. Nice to know this is not the case.