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Mashup Religion

Pop Music and Theological Invention

John S. McClure

Publication Year: 2011

Popular music artists are intentionally unoriginal. Pop producers find their inspiration by sampling across traditions and genres; remix artists compose a pastiche of the latest hits. These"mashup"artists stretch the boundaries of creativity by freely intermingling old sounds and melodies with the newest technologies. Using this phenomenon in contemporary music-making as a metaphor, John McClure encourages the invention of new theological ideas by creating a mashup of the traditional and the novel. What emerges are engaging ways of communicating that thrive at the intersection of religion and popular culture yet keep alive the deepest of theological truths.

Published by: Baylor University Press

Title Page

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pp. iii


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-xiii

I feel the need to establish a bit of street cred for what I have to say in this book. Why should you listen to an aging, twenty-four-year-veteran homiletics teacher talk with you about the relationships between popular music and theological invention? How is it that I became engaged with musical technologies and inventive practices such as songwriting, studio ...

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pp. xv-xvi

I must begin by thanking my musical family and all the musicians I’ve played with over the years in many different bands and musical ensembles. Your passion for music has been a constant source of inspiration and delight. I have been surrounded by song-makers my entire life, so it is only...

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pp. 1-11

For many people in developed nations, the religious life takes place at the intersection between religious traditions, religious or quasi-religious ideologies, and popular culture. Religious resources, which in the past were the sole property of traditional communities of belief, are disseminated widely through...

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1 The Songwriter

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pp. 13-41

The first stage of the song-making process to investigate for the purposes of theological invention is songwriting. Most songs begin with a fairly traditional songwriting process, in which the songwriter sits with guitar, keyboard, or some other instrument, with pen or word processor close at hand, and crafts music out of sound and lyrics....

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2 Multitrack Composition and Loop Browsing

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pp. 43-81

The digital audio workstation (DAW) is a computer-based or freestanding electronic system designed especially to record, edit, and play back digital audio. Within the workface of a DAW, a studio engineer or artist can track audio (record audio on individual tracks) and manipulate and organize samples, regions of recorded audio, and MIDI-based audio....

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3 Sampling, Remixing, and Mashup

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pp. 83-108

Sampling is the practice of converting analog audio (instruments, sounds, voices) into digital form. This audio can then be manipulated within hardware or software samplers (tuned, time-stretched, etc.) and inserted into recordings as loops (repeatable samples) or hits (single samples)....

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4 The Grain of the Voice

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pp. 109-122

Our focus at this point shifts from inventive decisions focused on the selection and organization of sounds to decisions in the studio regarding the sound palette or voicing of a song. In song-making, this involves a shift away from decisions about what to track on a song and what...

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5 Fan Cultures

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pp. 123-146

When the song leaves the studio, it meets headlong the world of fans and fandom. According to musicologist Antoine Hennion, “pop songs do not create their public, they discover it.”1 A song is not fully made until it is received and appreciated by a fan—someone who identifies with the music and integrates it...

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6 Lyrics

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pp. 147-172

In this final chapter, I want to shift focus from the analysis of musical fandoms (a form of theoethnographic study) to the analysis of musical texts (a form of theoliterary study). As a way of sharpening our understanding of the reception of the popular song, I want to focus on how to read and interpret the...

Appendix 1 - The Multitrack Sermon

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pp. 173-184

Appendix 2 - Mashup and Theological Invention

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pp. 185-186


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pp. 187-209


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pp. 211-229

Index of Songwriters, Composers, Musicians, and Bands

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pp. 231-233

Index of Names

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pp. 233-236

Index of Topics

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pp. 237-240

E-ISBN-13: 9781602583580
E-ISBN-10: 1602583587
Print-ISBN-13: 9781602583573
Print-ISBN-10: 1602583579

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: 1st