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The globalisation of language in popular music lyrics: A critical approach.

On 7 March, Carlos Roos (lecturer, philosopher, researcher) gave a talk about popular music at Utrecht University, organized by the education committee of Study Association Hucbald (Musicology at Utrecht University).

About the talks

This year they partnered with Albion, the study association for English Studies. For their lecture on 7 March, the subject they had in mind was: how certain forms of language in music can influence large groups of people, for example, how the punk movement influences the youth or the other way around, i.e. how certain forms of language influence music.

Who better to ask than Carlos Roos. Since 2018 Roos has been lecturer of the course Popular and Global Music, an elective for Leiden University students which covers the tension between the definitions of ‘popular’ and ‘global’ by examining a number of musical materials with an eye to formal features and socio-musical practices.

 The globalisation of language in popular music lyrics: A critical approach.

The 1950s saw the opening of a transnational market propelled by the sustained export of US popular songs. In the process, a transcultural space of social interaction came into being, which was, and continues to be, the incubator of globalised forms of popular music widely available today. The ubiquity of the English language in so-called global culture has been observed by cultural analysts, with attitudes ranging from alarm in face of what they reckon as a sign of cultural dominance, to trust in the non-hierarchical process of transcultural exchange that globalisation is supposed to rest on. 

In this talk, Roos wanted to address this matter with regard to popular music, in terms of the national and transnational identities that English-sung lyrics are able to mobilise. Lyrical examples were taken from the album Out!  Out!  Out! by the German punk band Lights Out!

Elective course Popular and Global Music

Want to know more about the elective course Popular and Global Music? Visit the Study Guide of Leiden University. 

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