A Musicological Analysis of Nature's Best
Braae, N. (2012). A Musicological Analysis of Nature’s Best (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/6605
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/6605
Academic research on New Zealand popular music has primarily been conducted from historical and cultural perspectives. While asking important questions, these sources have rarely engaged with the musical details of New Zealand popular music. This thesis is a musicological analysis of the 100 songs from the three Nature’s Best albums. The musical perspective complements the socio-cultural research on New Zealand popular music. The Nature’s Best project was instigated by Mike Chunn in 2001 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). All songwriting members of APRA and 100 celebrities and critics were invited to vote for their ten favourite New Zealand popular songs. Fourmyula’s 1969 hit ‘Nature’ gained the most votes. The three Nature’s Best CDs ranked the top 100 songs. The albums were a commercial success upon release in 2002 and 2003. This thesis analyses the 100 songs with regards to eight musical parameters: harmony, melodic construction, form, beat, length, tempo, introductory hooks and instrumental solos. The analytical methods were drawn from classical and popular musicology. Interviews with twelve songwriters were also conducted to gain alternative viewpoints on the analysis. The 100 songs provide a sample of New Zealand popular music from 1970 until 2000; thus, the analysis is useful for addressing questions of New Zealand musical style and traits. The results suggest New Zealand songwriters follow fundamental principles of Anglo-American songwriting, such as arched and balanced melodies, and forms based on repeated and contrasting sections. The harmonic language is similar to international artists of the same period; however, it appears 1970s and 1980s songwriters were more adventurous in this area compared with their 1990s counterparts. The instrumental solos were notable for an anti-virtuosic trait. It is argued this feature mirrors aspects of New Zealand identity.
University of Waikato
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- Masters Degree Theses