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A Level Media Critical responses to music video

Evaluative thinking draws on academic resources

Joan D Lynch states that there are three basic music video structures. The most common by far is the one centred on performance. She also identified narrative music videos and videos which are strongly influenced by experimental film. Joan D Lynch ‘Music Videos: From Performance to Dada-Surrealism’ Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 18, no.1 (1984), p.54

Steve Jones identifies three ‘narrative forms’ of music video: Mimetic narrative (the representation of concert performance), analog narrative (non-concert performance of the song intercut with other material), and digital narrative (impossible performance or no performance whatsoever) Steve Jones, ‘Cohesive But Not Coherent: Music Videos, Narrative and Culture’, Popular Music and Society, vol.12, no.4 (1988), p.19

Joe Gow identified six central genres of music video all of which are defined in terms of their relationship to the display of performance. 1) The anti-performance piece – videos which do not contain performance of the song 2) Pseudo-reflexive performance – videos which display the process of video production 3) Performance documentary – videos which contain verite documentary footage of onstage performance and/or off-stage activity 4) The special effects extravaganza – videos in which human performance is overshadowed by spectacular imagery 5) The song and dance number – videos which focus on the physical abilities of the dancing performer(s) and the vocal presentation of the song, usually through lip-synching techniques 6) The enhanced performance – videos which blend performance elements with other visual elements, a blend justified through either associational, narrative or abstract forms of motivation Joe Gow , ‘Music Video as Communication: Popular Formulas and Emerging Genres’, Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 26, no.2 (1992), pp. 50 - 62

The most recent work on music videos is by Diane Railton and Paul Watson, in their book ‘Music Video and the Politics of Representation’ Edinburgh University Press, 2011. They offer four genres of music video: 1) 2) 3) 4)

Pseudo-documentary Art music video Narrative video Staged performance

How to analyse a music video  

Using academic sources to analsye a music video

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