Does Hesselink’s theoretical framework useful for advancing our understanding of your case study?

Information: please read the reading assignment first, then write 2 – 3 pages assignment. (But make sure you consistent the last assignment Lady GaGa – Applause). I will give you some my classmate’s examples for you, so you can use their assignment. However, you cannot exactly copy their sentences and you have to apply the theory in my assignment too.

For this week’s writing assignment:

Part1: What is entrainment, according to the week’s readings? Give an example related to your song and/or performer. How and what is communicated through rhythm and movement by your performer and/or song?

Part2: Given what you wrote in response to the above prompt, how does your case study (study of your song and performer) affirm, contradict, or otherwise relate to Hesselink’s study and argument? Does Hesselink’s theoretical framework useful for advancing our understanding of your case study?

Part3: Given what you have learned about rhythmic and other aspects of nonverbal communication in music, provide one suggestion regarding the class music video. How would you like to see the meaning of the class song communicated through movement in the music video?



Contrary to last week’s reading about the creativity in songwriting, this week’s author’s focused on the importance of rhythm in music. Rhythm is a big part of composing music without an appealing rhythm, would it be music? It is difficult to write lyrics without a beat. Rhythm makes a steady pattern for the song so the song flows better. It is how the listeners feel and experience the music. The rhythm defines how the song is meant to be interpreted by listeners. If the beat is fast and upbeat then usually the song is uplifting and happy. However, if the rhythm of a song is slower then it is generally a more meaningful, sentimental piece of work. As both authors emphasized in their texts, the rhythm is a way of communication to portray the attitude of the song. An artist who portrays attitude and personality well through his rhythm is Tom Petty. Tom Petty plays his instrument with soul and rhythm that the audience is able to feel while listening.

An example from Tom Petty’s song, “Free Fallin’”, is the opening strum on the guitar. It is a very slow, relaxed pace so it speaks to the audience that it will be a song of regret and trouble. However, when the boyfriend feels free from the relationship and life the rhythm picks up because Petty wants the audience to feel the freedom that the boyfriend feels from this newfound single life. Towards the end of the song, the boyfriend soon realizes that he made a mistake and misses the ‘good girl’ so the pace of the song slows back down to tell the audience the boyfriend’s feelings of remorse and unhappiness for losing the girl. Thus, Petty’s song demonstrates to us how the rhythm of a song relates to the song’s lyrics and how the artist wants us to connect with their emotions.

The class song, “With You”, confirmed that the song’s rhythm can initiate our emotions and connect with the artist. Maghanga used one instrument, the guitar, to associate us with her song. The guitar rhythm is a simply, steady beat; she plays the guitar at a slow pace to portray to us this is a passionate, sad song about a relationship. Since this song is about two people in a romantic relationship, I think showing two people in love would be the best way to portray this song in a music video. It also would best to be depicted as memories because Maghanga’s lyrics are in the past and she lists a few memories they had together.



According to Nathan Hesselink’s article called Rhythmic Play, Compositional Intent and Communication in Rock Music, Hesselink explains how artists create rhythm not only to set melody but to allow the listener to communicate with the artist and create a bond with the melody or song based on trust, respect and a sense of shared ownership (P.69).  All artists use rhythmic play because it sets the melody for each song and as mentioned above, creates a foundation and relationship between each listener and each song.  An example from Prince’s Purple Rain, the chorus where Prince sings “Purple Rain” because purple rain isn’t actual rain drops.  Purple rain is represented as the area where all people go on their way to Heaven.  Purple rain means more than just a chorus to listeners because it allows each listener to feel the sorrow of losing close ones and brings each listener comfort because as the song states, we will all be able to meet up with our loved ones in the afterworld.   Prince uses rhythmic play perfectly in Purple Rain because the soft and slower melody enables listeners to think and feel, connecting them to Prince’s lyrics.

According to Jessica Phillips-Silver’s article called The Ecology of Entertainment Foundations of Coordinated Rhythmic Movement, “songs are created with synchronous chorusing which demonstrates the critical role of entertainment in the production of coordinated sound and movement” (P.10).  As both writers write about rhythmic movement, all artists understand that popular music incorporates rhythm, enabling listeners to feel emotions.

Given what Hasselink wrote about Rhythmic play, Prince affirms how listeners can connect with the lyrics and the artist in each song when the melody and lyrics align, making listeners feel emotions.  In Purple Rain, listeners feel sorrow and happiness as they think of the people they have lost in the past and also when they think about reconnecting with them in the afterlife.  According to Hasselink’s definition of rhythmic play, I believe almost all songs are created to allow their listeners to feel emotions.  I don’t believe melody creates a sense of emotion but lyrics and rhythmic play ensures brain activity by all listeners listening to lyrics in each song.

Given what I learned about Rhythmic play, I believe our class song called “With You” must use rhythmic play as listeners should hear the song and feel emotions.  As the song “with you” is a slower song about romance, I believe we should make sure to play the song as performed in the original as the artist created the listener to think about recent relationships.  My biggest suggestion is to ensure each listener a feeling of emotion to create a music video where there are two people acting out a relationship similar to Taylor Swift’s music videos.  By creating a film production showing two individuals thinking about each other would represent the true meaning of the song “with you”.



            Entrainment in music is quintessential for an artist to communicate with his listeners. According to Nathan Hesselink’s, Rhythmic Play, Compositional Intent and Communication in Rock Music (2014), entrainment is described in terms of rhythmic play between a composer and his audience. Entrainment provides a shared ownership between listeners and the musicians because it challenges an individual’s awareness to the content of the song, especially when a rhythmic fake out or rhythmic ambiguity is employed. Rhythmic play is significant because of its “special form of communication between the composer-performer and the listener” (Hesselink,2014, p.86). Listeners who discover the correct rhythm to the song are rewarded, “with a kind of shared insider knowledge” (Hesselink, 2014, p.86). Furthermore, The Ecology of Entrainment: Foundations of Coordinated Rhythmic Movement (Phillips-Silver, Aktipis, Bryant, 2010) focuses on entrainment as an experience unique to humans where rhythmic movements are coordinated between one individual to another. Entrainment “is spatiotemporal coordination resulting from rhythmic responsiveness to a perceived rhythmic signal” (Phillips-Silver, Aktipis, Bryant, 2010, p.3), which can be seen in physical movement through communication or music and dance. The case proposes entrainment is sensory-based concept, dependent on several human systems. Bruce Springsteen’s, Born in the USA, communicates through polysemy tendencies. When a listener hears the song without the lyrics, he can infer from the rhythm it is a patriotic anthem calling for audience members to clap along to the repeating drum beat and positive melody. One can infer Springsteen intentionally utilized the playful rhythm to communicate with listeners at the surface-level but then use his lyrics to connect with audience members who understand the sub-level meaning of the song and see the irony behind the rhythm. Springsteen does not use a rhythmic fake out nor rhythmic ambiguity that Hesselink discusses, but plays upon Phillips-Silver, Aktipis and Bryant’s idea of external stimuli coordination. He provides an opportunity for physical mirroring where audience members can tap along to the fixed beat and share surface-level communication.

Born in the USA’s meaning is not augmented by Hesselink’s argument for the typical listener. Unless the audience has access to the lyrics and understands the true political message behind the song, the steady rhythm does not communicate a shared knowledge between the composer and his listeners. Hesselink (2014) discusses rhythmic play allowing “listening [to][become] a window into the creative act, something that happens everywhere in the world when performer-composers take their audience’s listening and cognitive abilities, their imagination seriously” (p.70). Although the song produces an anthem-like beat, it is Springsteen’s lyrics that provide the ability for shared insider knowledge. On the other hand, he does use his authenticity to create a polysemy rhythm. He allows both the surface-level listener to mimic the joyous rhythm and the conscious, active listener to share a connection to the ironic paean.  Ultimately, it is difficult to enhance one’s understanding of Springsteen’s hit from Hesselink’s theoretical framework. Shared collaboration of rhythmic play is present in Springsteen’s song, but is unnoticeable without the lyrics.

The class song, With You, shares an intimate but relatable recount of a relationship.  Humans share a meaning with the composer through the song’s nonverbal components, which suggests the movement should not be grand but quiet and familiar. The rhythm provides an R&B tempo, so, the music video should express warm and inviting movements between two individuals. For example, Sevyn Streeter’s (2013), It Won’t Stop featuring Chris Brown, provides a similar rhythmic play and coordination to listeners. The music video has minimal dancing and movement, except for the nonverbal communications between Streeter and Brown. More so, Brown is more reserved in the music video, taking a break from his usual complex dance movements to share one-on-one gestures with Streeter. Ruth’s song provides rhythmic signals that are similarly transferrable to the audience, which calls for minimal gestures and movement. The corresponding music video should reflect the peaceful melody and steady beat with simple nonverbal movements.

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