Rhythmic Play, Compositional Intent, and Communication in Rock Music

Author: Hesselink, Nathan

Publication details: Popular Music 33, no. 1 (2014): 69-90.

Weblink: https://www.cambridge.org

Abstract: This paper focuses on the use of rhythmic play in the compositional strategies of rock musicians. Such play is seen as both embodying an attitude on the part of the performer-composer in which music as pure structure tests one’s skill and imagination in sonic reality, and as an attempt at a special kind of communication with his or her audience. In this latter capacity the musical work becomes an unspoken or hidden challenge to the listener as a kind of in-group or insider knowledge. Listening thus becomes a window into the creative act, bands and their audiences forming an extended community based on trust, respect and a sense of shared ownership.