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A. Slobodchikova

Borrowing from the classics as a method for individualizing the style of the rock band Muse

The article attempts to examine the principle of borrowing musical material from academic music compositions as a way of individualizing the style of the rock bands. The contemporary British rock band Muse, as the most representative example of consistent incorporation of classical quotations and influences, was chosen as an object for analysis. In their albums, starting with the debut one, Showbiz (1999), they suggest or quote music of different historical periods, particularly pieces by Romantic composers. If Muse’s early compositions are characterized by all sorts of allusions which they use to develop and adapt music of a different kind, the later albums are replete with brighter and more accurate inserts of academic music. The article presents examples of quotations that are different in scale and method of interaction with the surrounding material. It can be a hint of a chord vertical or harmonic progression of the most famous compositions by P. Tchaikovsky, S. Rachmaninov, a small two-bar quotation-allusion, as in the case of the song Prelude (album The 2nd Law). It can also be a large independent section that interacts with the general concept of the whole album, supplementing and clarifying its meaning, and which is even indicated in the title of the song – United States of Eurasia (+ Collateral Damage). These examples show that the borrowed fragments can both be getting closer to the general rock style of the songs or become an opposition to it. The considered phenomenon of the academic music appearance in rock reflect a general trend in contemporary art.

Key words

rock music, rock band, Muse, quote, allusion, borrowing, style, individual style.

For citation

Slobodchikova A. Borrowing from the classics as a method for individualizing the style of the rock band Muse // South-Russian Musical Anthology. 2021. No. 2. Pp. 68–74.