One of Brown's analytical concerns is the question of blues adaptation in rock style; in Dave Headlam essay, Blues Transformations in the Music of Cream," this becomes the central issue. Headlam approaches the blues-rock interface through one of its most important manifestations, the late-1960s British power trio Cream. Tracing its versions of such blues classics as Cross Road Blues and Rollin' and Tumblin' back to the original sources in Delta and Chicago blues, he illuminates the stylistic transformations in analytical terms and assesses their significance. With these analyses in mind, he then turns to consider the style of Cream's own blues compositions.
Graeme Boone, finally, takes a song by the Grateful Dead as the focus of his essay, Tonal and Expressive Ambiguity in 'Dark Star.' Countering a common perception of the Dead's music as aimless or disorganized, he uses harmonic, contrapuntal, and melodic analysis to reveal the means by which the Dead achieve musical and expressive cohesion, even as they incorporate extended and, to some extent, unpredictable improvisations into their music. The Dead's approach is, in conclusion, measured against the broader context and significance of the Deadhead movement.
Ultimately, the justification for any analytical program stems from one's own experiences. Like many now in the fields of musicology and music theory, the authors in this book were born in the decade of the birth of rock 'n' roll and grew up with it. Introduced to the serious study of organizing structures in art music, we naturally asked similar questions of popular music. Of what materials is it made? What makes it the way it is? Today's climate of heightened self-consciousness discourages scholars from taking their likes and dislikes for granted; but these are also times when people are making new and important discoveries simply by turning things around inside their own minds and connecting different parts of their own fragmented experience. This book is precisely the result of such a personal, interior movement, and for each author, it has yielded a different discovery. Ultimately, we find no better justification for analyzing rock music than this: it is part of us, and we like it.
Cambridge, Mass. G. M. B.
Chapel Hill, N.C. J. C. January 1997