Popular music often seems alien to literature's formal explorations and concerns. Existing studies on literature and pop music have mostly focused on ideological and political aspects derived from plot elements, but have discounted the possibility of technical or compositional influence. One may wonder what trace, if any, this ubiquitous music has left, besides being present or mentioned in the storyline. Has it provided literature with any significant narrative models? These are the questions that this article tries to answer. To do so, I first introduce the relevant framework of music and literature studies, propose the notion of a musical superstructure, offer a definition and elaborate on its main features, and then refer to several literary works where it can be found. Finally, I expand on the main narrative consequences that using a musical superstructure may have, such as lacking a sense of direction, restarting the story with each chapter, or infusing structure and form with the thematic concerns that a novel addresses. Rooted firmly in previous studies in music and literature, the idea of "musical superstructure" is a novel tool for understanding pop music within literary fiction, binding together rich and diverse structural models that literature has developed and will keep expanding upon.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 396-412
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.