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markus heuger's
beabliography

Beabliography

 





 
  Abstract 0202
  Pestalozza, Luigi (1996), "Tavolo rotonda su From Me To You, coordinata da Luigi Pestalozza." In: Rossana Dalmonte (ed.), Analisi e canzoni. Trento: Dipartimento di Scienze Filologiche e Storiche, Università degli Studi di Trento, 1996, 373-407.
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  In 1995, as one of the many events of the large project "Trento Beatles Revival, 1970-1995: Years of Fantasy" the Comune di Trento promoted a round table panel discussion. As announced in the program, this last session of the conference was devoted to a general discussion on a song by Lennon and McCartney: From Me To You. Possibly because of the conjuncture of various facts around songs, and Beatles songs in particular, the discussion was not only restricted to panelists, but was actively attended by an alert audience.
  Luigi Pestalozza chaired the panel and introduced it by mentioning the role of the journal "Musica/Realta" in the recent years of popular music studies in Italy. While bordering on the very topic of the session, Pestalozza provided insights into the cultural significance of analytical studies in an era when the praxis of a-critical listening is often modeled with the one aim of masking socio-economic problems. The eight presentations on From Me To You were kept rather short in order to ensure ample discussion time. In fact the panel — like the Conference itself — showed a high degree of both dialectics and concordance among the various panelist' positions, some of which were based on detailed, long-term research projects allowing depths that discourse on popular music often lacks.
  In both the proceedings and in this scant abstract, the original sequence of the papers has not been maintained, thus allowing a collection by similarity of problematics. In this respect, two groups stand out: the larger dwells mainly upon the song's musical style and takes particular care of the "poietic" (compositional) perspective; the other primarily focuses on aspects of taste, promotion and consumption related to the song. The former, in turn, shows two different attitudes toward the problematic relationship between music and verbal text, as a brief account will demonstrate:
  Is the lyrical meaning precisely reflected by musical structures? Or, does music find its form beyond textual suggestions? And more, are the lyrics based on a mere postcard-like formula or do they rather hint at an unprejudiced sexual message for its times, the year being 1963? In the discussion that followed, all kinds of musicological, historical and analytical tools were advanced, with the song itself always in the foreground. Even conceding no absolute answer, each panelist tried to make his/her point by emphasizing one shade of meaning or another.
  Franco Fabbri maintained that "there is nothing strange, and nothing attenuating the meaning of a love sentence, in using a mail greetings formula." On the contrary it shows a new and unprejudiced view on love affairs in front of the passionate love-expressions of the contemporary sentimental songs. Here love is presented as an "object" or a "service" which one can order and receive "by post" and it is sung rather expeditiously. This, in fact, was new and exciting, so that one can say that the song shows a perfect coincidence between music and verbal text and "takes part in the liberation of the sexual behavior of a whole generation" (see also: Fabbri, 1996).
  On the basis of his pedagogic experience, Luca Marconi informed the audience that 12-14 years old students do recognize From Me To You as a Beatles song even at the first listening. That means — Marconi argues — that the structure of music produces that feeling of agreeableness, excitement and charm traditionally connected with a Beatles song (first manner). He then investigated the meaning of the verbal text in the structure of each interval of the melodic profile, for instance: "When the word "I" is pronounced the voice, until that moment [...] moved by steps, jumps upwards, thus entailing the subject's excitement [...]" This analytical method provides findings very similar to Franco Fabbri's (see also: Marconi, 1996).
  A different, if equally keen, analytical method allowed Giordano Montecchi to reach different results, so that he can "note only some slight correspondence between music and verbal text." His analysis, focused mainly on harmonic rhythm, stresses those sites of the song, where the fundamental tonal relations — tonic, dominant, tonic — connotate the text with artlessness, reliability and certainty.
  Rossana Dalmonte distinguishes two aspects in the problem: from a structural point of view, "music is servant to poetry, inasmuch the former perfectly reflects the metric-syntactic form of the latter. But if we change from the formal to that of meaning, the relationships between music and lyrics appear fully reversed." As a conclusion, Dalmonte maintains that From Me To You belongs in the wake of symmetric dance-songs more than in that of the "affective" aria.
  Mario Baroni equally tended to deny that a close correspondence between music and text really characterizes the style of the song. With two primary models existing of vocal music — one "expressive" (opera arias as significant examples), where music underlines the meaning of lyrics and one "epic" (main specimens in the folk tradition) where words follow the metric structure of music. This Beatles song seems to stand closer to the latter model (mainly anti-romantic), which provides its typical elegance or ironic nonchalance.
  At mid-session Luigi Del Grosso commented on the high musicological level of the discussion, while noticing a gap between the intellectual discours and a simple song like From Me To You. He thus questioned the possibility that the divergence of method from object might affect the whole outcome of the debate.
  Franco Minganti's paper adds precious information to our knowledge of the Beatles phenomenon. He placed the song in the context of the fan culture and interpreted the form of "direct address" as a sign of easy and lucky communication among young people. His research in the programs of the BBC and in the discography offers further support to Franco Fabbri's argument (see also: Minganti, 1996)
  Pierluigi Postacchini, assisted by Fabio Moser, offered his analysis of From Me To You by the means of music therapy. He had proposed the song to two listening groups — one of patients another of non-patients of a day hospital — in order to discover the intensity and the quality of the feeling, the degree of pleasure or displeasure and the synesthesia produced in the listeners by the song. Out of experimental data, Postacchini concludes that there are no substantial differences between the two sets of responses. Both groups liked the song, although it did not give them strong emotions; the synaesthetic perception was coherent. "We think that the song is unable to evoke more detailed answers," he ended.
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