SONG ANALYSIS THROUGH A RHETORICAL LENS | Length: 4 or more pp My two songs I’m

SONG ANALYSIS THROUGH A RHETORICAL LENS | Length: 4 or more pp
My two songs I’m picking are:
 “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland and Israel
Kamakawiwo’ole
 “That’s the Way It Is” by Bruce Hornsby and “Changes” by Tupac
Shakir
I) INTRODUCTION
A rhetorical analysis aims to
understand how a particular act of
writing or speaking influences a
particular audience at a particular time.
The purpose, audience, genre, context,
and inferred meaning of a text all come
together to create its rhetorical
situation. This also includes how the
text is presented: the form, font, type of
media used, who has access to it, if and
how it’s marketed, and so on.
Presenting a text in two different ways
can have a profound effect on its
meaning and impact.
II) THE RHETORICAL LENS: How to analyze
We see this often in music. Songs—like
essays, images, advertisements,
virtually anything—are also persuasive
arguments. The message we perceive is
created not only by the lyrics and
music, but the rhetorical situation, such
as:
Cultural context; genre; artist; audience;
instruments; melody; mood; tempo;
voice of the singer; back up singing or
call and response, if any; repetition,
and, if an official video exists, how the
video adds meaning to the song.
III) PROMPT
For this 4 page or more essay, choose a song and put a rhetorical lens on two
different versions of it.
The Assignment:
1. First, select one (1) of the song pairings from the list below.
2. Then, use the analysis tools you have learned to write a compare and
contrast analysis of the two (2) songs you have selected.
3. To help develop your analysis in the body paragraphs of your paper, use
the following questions:
a. What is the historical, social, and ideological context for each
song?
b. How does the context determine the themes and/or issues in each
song?
c. What formal elements internal to the song allow us to connect the
song to the context and/or ideological formation?
d. When you pair the two songs together, how do they make visible
shifting meanings over time OR simultaneous meanings in the
same historical moment?
(See below for songs list)
2
Notes:
1) James Brown 1 is a performance of the song the year it came out, 1966.
James Brown 2 is the official video portraying events from Brown’s life
accompanied by the song.
2) See the translation of Pavarotti’s lyrics.

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