Popular Music Assignment Howlers

Philip Tagg, version 3, September 2001

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Many of the howlers listed here have been lifted directly from assignments handed in by students. In such instances names have been removed, where necessary, so as not to reveal the author's identity. Sometimes I have combined recurrent errors within one example for paper-saving purposes. Most of the remaining howlers are sentences constructed subsequently on the basis of recurrent errors found in student assignments. Although the final sections — Malapropisms and Bushisms — derive from outside my own experience as marker of assignments and dissertations at the IPM, they are nevertheless germane to the issue of bad writing exemplified in this handout.

  1. This is maybe due to many young musicians listening to their hero artist and simply copying their style, and the drum pattern just provided the background beat and was not regarded as primarily important.

  2. The idea of using this sample and the advert on their video was a clever one as the younger generation are the people likely to buy the song having seen and remembered the advert from their childhood.

  3. Its when groups use other groups music and not it's own when the problem starts.

  4. The introduction to the song was the almost identical introduction to Queen's Under pressure except with the inclusion of one note. The artist said that because he included one more note that it was perfectly satisfactory to do so because it was not totally copying he music.

  5. When passages of music were copied they would be replayed by the artist and usually slightly differently.

  6. Music publishers are also an important source of music for advertising film and television.

  7. The music publisher may also know promising artists who could do the music and also promote their name at the same time.

  8. The majors always one to have a peace of the Pye.

  9. Likewise Band X itself continued their relationship with the independant scene: their prevoius independant label had been their management too and after signing to a major label, requested that the management side of the band remained with the independant label in so doing, allowing themselves again the appearance of still trying to be indie and also a great deal of leverage against the record label meaning that they were no longer at the absolute mercy of the major corporate scene.

  10. Record shops do not sell LPs at all. These include HMV, Our Price, Woolworths, W H Smith, and Boots as a few examples.

  11. Independent labels sell their own artist's material in their own country, especially the smallest ones.

  12. ... Although in live studios tape is still used to record — although now with the advent of digital technology DAT and digital mastering is now the norm.

  13. Having looked at twenty odd bands its fair to say that one of the main problems of a band is the lack of money and the best way to get it is to get signed.

  14. In the meantime the band still needs to continue. This is usually made by selling merchandise such as T-shirts and posters.

  15. Looking at this issue one must decide what the definition of a composer.

  16. Very few people could read or write notation due to education.

  17. Composers could be famous due to so many people hearing the composer's list of works.

  18. However despite a huge increase in sheet music sales people still composed just by playing and remembering, only this time with more access to hearing works, they could compose in the style of Mozart or Beethoven.

  19. Its the band who are the composers not the transcribers of guitarists.

  20. Many bands have session musicians, especially orchestra sections like brass and woodwind.

  21. The band has taken Britain by storm and beyond.

  22. After their third CD the band really sold out, churning out mindless mainstream tripe with tacky lyrics and cheesey backing tracks. Whereas before they were a lot more interesting, there are lots of better quality lyrics and more challenging music too. What the band got into was a situation where this could not go on or else they would not make enough money for there label.

  23. When Fred was 18, he started guitar which lasted a year, then not playing for a about a year got back into it, so by this time it was time to learn a new instrument so he decided to learn the saxaphone. He liked Status Quo who he got into from an early age. He then got into metal as one does in your teens, he then did the natural progression to brit pop. Meanwhile he started to get into blues and then he started getting into 60's music like the Beatles and progressed from there into Funk and Soul.

  24. Also he generaly composes at the key bored, jazz on the saxaphone and on guitar theres rock and blues.

  25. When the Lumière brothers started showing films they were totally silent (1870-1880).

  26. There playing so softly that its impossible too here they're music properly from hear.

  27. All students requiring acommadation should apply with in.

  28. The music had a deep affect on me, e.g. I was deeply effected by the music.

  29. Its hard to beleive that no one got back stage passes or complimentary tickets.

  30. It therefore seems that artists backed by massive marketing campaigns, are often those with pretty faces and no talent.

  31. The band will need to copywrite their songs in case anyone try’s to steal it.

  32. However the band played nothing seemed to go write anyhow.

  33. However the band played nothing and noone seemed to notice it was'nt rite.

  34. The managers were employing staff folding chairs and marketing new acts.

  35. Stig was fond of fireworks on stage, he blew up his drum-kit on many occasions.

  36. Although The The's lyrics were often quite political, it was never clear what the the actually stood for.

  37. Superb channel separation and use of reverb makes this track the perfect recording.

  38. Everyone hated to here the DJ's wittering away.

  39. The CD's cover many different types of music.

  40. English is spoken in nearly all parts of America.

  41. After Roxette their was other swedish bands; i.e. Ace of Bass, from Goteborg, had a very 1980's sound but the Cardigans from Linkoping were more 60's orientated.

  42. The PRS hadn’t licenced the premises so they could play music there.

  43. After Roxette their was other swedish bands; i.e. Ace of Bass, from Goteborg, had a very 1980’s sound but the Cardigans from Linkoping were more 60’s orientated.

  44. The bands 5 members had an average age of 19. They were to young to sign up with a major.

  45. This type of music has the same bombastic hype as most seventies rock. Its pompous and self-important. It just sucks.

  46. What mickey-mousing is is where you have the music and make it follow the visuals exactly.

  47. What aesthetics means is when you talk about how different people value music.

  48. When it comes to aesthetics what you look at is people’s tastes in music.

  49. The song has a 32 bar form, with simple 8 bar sections each divided in to 2 4 bar phrases.

  50. None of their songs are in Ab, but they did do Ebb Tide in Eb.

  51. They realised they would need to get a new synthesizer.

  52. When all the loops were safely quantised, they practiced really hard and took to the road, traveling up-and-down the country… Given that they were such a colourful band, its difficult to analyze what went wrong. Perhaps it was bad advertizing, perhaps the fact that … [the vocalist] always wanted to be the center of attention, or pehaps the fact that their manager had lost the corporate organisations backing.

  53. The whole track feels very stationery. “Their coming”, he said, “I can see they’re car in the distance. No, there not”, she replied, “theirs not a car in sight, at least not one that looks like there’s”. Fred would not give up. “Its easy to make out who’s car it is”, he went on, “beacuse you can see it’s radiator grill and I’m sure its there BMW”.

  54. Much postmodernist thought can be thought of as the thoughts of mindless, middle-class defeatists. For example, the author thinks that …

  55. Not only was the record label penniless at the time at the time: they also had no money.

  56. The author’s critique was quite mild although it was not very severe.

  57. … [the musicians] were popular with most fans playing gigs all over the country.

  58. Every studio technician has his quirks.

  59. Mr Stig Kräkström, the ensemble’s percussionist, proceded across the premises whilst the remaining band members argued amongst themselves.

  60. It’s not easy to know what Dylan means by ‘Mediterranean Homesick Blues’.

Top of documentMALAPROPISMS (and other errors)

  1. A bottomless abbess separated the two schools of thought.

  2. The walls of the cathedral were supported by flying buttocks.

  3. Their manager was regarded as quiet a caricature.

  4. Stig told the flight attendent he wanted to sit by the isle.

  5. The kithara was an Ancient Greek liar.

  6. His snoring was caused by bad sciences.

  7. Clapton extinguished himself on many early recordings.

  8. Morse code was used in telepathy.

  9. All-male seeks must wear turbines.

Top of documentBUSHISMS

  1. A surplus means there'll be money left over. Otherwise, it wouldn't be called a surplus.1

  2. More and more of our imports are coming from overseas. 2

  3. I want to have a ballistic defense system so that we can make the world more peaceful.3

  4. We cannot let terriers and rogue nations hold this nation hostile or hold our allies hostile.

  5. I want to reduce our nuclear capacities to the level commiserate with keeping the peace.4

  6. I am a person who recognizes the fallacy of humans.5

  7. A tax cut is really one of the anecdotes to coming out of an economic illness.6

  8. I like meeting people, my fellow citizens, I like interfacing with them.7

  9. We'll let our friends be the peacekeepers and the great country called America will be the pacemakers.8

  10. I regret that a private comment I made to the vice presidential candidate made it through the public airways.9

  11. This case has had full analyzation and has been looked at a lot. I understand the emotionality of death penalty cases.10

Top of documentEndnotes

1. George W Bush, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 27/10/2000 (www.bushisms.com)
2. George W Bush on NPR's Morning Edition, 26/9/2000 (www.bushisms.com).

3. George W Bush, Des Moines, Iowa, 23/10/2000 (www.bushisms.com).
4. George W Bush, Des Moines, Iowa, 23/10/2000 (www.bushisms.com).
5. George W Bush, New York City edition of the Daily News, 20/9/2000, p. 5 (www.bushisms.com).
6. George W Bush on 'The Edge with Paula Zahn', 18/9/2000 (www.bushisms.com).
7. George W Bush, Pittsburgh, 8/9/2000 (www.bushisms.com).
8. George W Bush, Houston,Texas, 6/9/2000 (www.bushisms.com).
9. George W Bush, Allentown, Pennsylvania, 5/9/2000 (www.bushisms.com).
10. George W Bush, quoted in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 23/6/2000 (www.bushisms.com).

Top of document