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Title: The invisible artist: Arrangers in popular music (1950-2000): Their contribution and techniques
Authors: Niles, Richard
Keywords: Popular music;Musical arranging;Musicians;Musical analysis
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: Brunel University School of Arts PhD Theses
Abstract: This thesis is based on the research conducted by the author for the series, Richard Niles' History of Pop Arranging, seven thirty-minute documentary programmes for BBC Radio 2, researched, written and presented by the author and broadcast in 2003. It also draws on interviews conducted by the author (and other research) between 2002 and 2007 both for the radio series and for this thesis and on the author's experience as a professional arranger in popular music working with many of the genre's significant recording artists including Paul McCartney, Ray Charles, Cher, Tina Turner, Westlife, Tears For Fears, Dusty Springfield, James Brown, Pet Shop Boys, Kylie Minogue and producers including Trevor Hom, Steve Lipson, Steve Mac and Steve Anderson. It will be argued that the role of the arranger in popular music has often been undervalued and that during a critical period of popular music history (1950-2000) arrangers played a significant part in the evolution of musical content. This thesis is, to the best of the author's knowledge, the first time (apart from the above mentioned documentary) the subject has ever been examined. The arranger is "invisible" because musical arrangers are often un-credited on record liner notes or in books or articles concerning popular music. A considerable amount of research has been necessary to determine who wrote many of the arrangements considered herein. Motown's Berry Gordy purposely kept the names of musicians and arrangers off the records because he feared others might 'poach' the trademark 'Motown Sound'. Other record labels considered the job of the arranger to be reminiscent of an earlier era, diluting the Rock 'n' Roll image of emotion and spontanaeity they wished to promote. Some producers and recording artists disliked sharing credit for their work. Motown arranger David Van dePitte told the author that arranging was "thankless and anonymous - a very service-oriented profession where others often take credit for what you've done." Arranging has therefore remained an intrinsically unseen art created by 'invisible' artists. By analyzing many recordings, revealing the techniques and concepts they have used in their work to create popular records, arrangers and their art will be made more 'visible'.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University.
Appears in Collections:Music
Dept of Arts and Humanities Theses

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