Tom8o's Blog

(Just Like) Starting Over

Posted in Uncategorized by tom8o on February 7, 2010

So I’ve started researching my new topic by looking into the “Sensitive Female Chord Progression.” Marc Hirsh explains it here much better than I can. Honestly, I don’t really know how to make his words any simpler. To sum up the SFCP, songs are built on a foundation of chords. Chords are made up of three or more (usually no more than 6) individual notes.  A chord progression is the order that the chords within a song go in. Chord progressions give a song its individual personality and there are a few very popular progressions that are used repeatedly by different artists. The SFCP is one of those popular progressions. The chords that make up the SFCP create a mood that isn’t too sappy and depressing, yet not too jubilant and bright which gives it the versatility to be used to express a wide range of emotions.

Hirsh does a good job of clarifying that a songwriter using the SFCP is not plagiarizing. Instead the SFCP is a tool that has been used and will continue to be used to convey emotions that are typically associated with but are not limited to sensitive females. This site is dedicated to coming up with a different example of the SFCP every week, and many of them are by men. The power of the SFCP goes beyond the gender of the artist and even beyond the gender of the listener, but what does that tell us? This is a good first step towards answering one of my initial questions: how important is the structure of a song towards the listener’s enjoyment? The SFCP has given me two theories: 1. people might not be that worried about how a song sounds or 2. people just REALLY like the SFCP on a subconscious level. But there are other aspects that add to a song’s success and I think the next one is how peers can influence a person’s enjoyment of a song.

Your thoughts are greatly appreciated and any comment can help greatly. This is really hard, guys. The only thing that can cheer me up is knowing that I’m not doing my exit project on bees.

Gotcha!

Posted in Uncategorized by tom8o on February 5, 2010

I fooled you with all those “blog posts.” I no longer want to do my exit project on gangs, although I still love them very much. I feel like I’m Michael and gangs are Kay but my new topic is Apollonia. I’ve now decided that I want to research what makes a song a hit, how social influences and the structure of a song impact the listener’s reaction, and the difference between music as art and as a commercial product.

I can’t believe you fell for the classic “false exit-project,” the oldest trick in the blog.

P.S. Just because I’m switching topics doesn’t mean that I will stop commenting on the dregs of the internet.

Questions

Posted in Uncategorized by tom8o on January 25, 2010

Was Robert Sandifer a victim of the gang life surrounding him or guilty of promoting it? Did he have a choice in whether he became a part of it or not? Who is the “bad guy?” Is it Robert? The members of the Black Disciples who killed him? His crack addicted mother and his “domineering” grandmother?  Or is it people who saw him as a “crooked son of a b****,” who were not “sorry to see him gone.” Did his neighbors encourage his behavior by treating him like an animal?

I think the first step to understanding gang life is understanding the mentality of the areas that they prosper in. What is like to live in an environment where 30 is old? What is like to grow up being told that you can’t trust the police? What is like to be born into a cycle that will either kill you or send you to jail?

There seems to be an endless number of questions. This has both helped and hurt my research so far. It has helped because so many questions leads to lots of searching which leads to lots of information. On the other hand, there seems to be so much out there that I can’t make significant progress in any one area before I become overwhelmed with the complexity of the issues. I feel like I need to narrow down my research even further before I can really get going.

I want to define ‘gangs’ a little bit better. By gangs I mean urban youth gangs. I originally wanted to look at organizations like Cosa Nostra and the Ku Klux Klan in addition to modern street gangs, but to do so would require going in so many different directions that I don’t think I could focus enough attention on each of them. I still think that understanding certain aspects of the Mafia and the KKK can be helpful when trying to study gangs, it’s just that the Mafia considers itself “bigger than U.S. Steel” and the KKK is trying to lighten up it’s image and become a political force and I think that those two traits take away from the common ground that I was looking for.

I also want to narrow down what it is that I’m hoping to learn. I want my focus to be on what causes the creation of gangs, why have they’ve lasted for generations, what actions are being taken against them, how they’re perceived by members, people living in the communities they thrive in, and those who never come in contact with their effects, and lastly if they actually matter. This is still very broad, though. I’ll probably have to make more changes eventually.

This has been an extremely unorganized post and I’d like to say that my future posts will not be like this but, I know that they will be and I don’t want to lie to you because lies remind me of death(?) or something from Heart of Darkness.

P.S. If you’re in the mood for a good laugh, click here.

Thank you.

Narrowing Down

Posted in Uncategorized by tom8o on January 23, 2010

I’ve struggled to decide on a topic for my exit project for months, but I think I’ve settled on one. I’m going to study gangs. I realized it was what I wanted to do because of these reasons:

  1.  I find them to be interesting. I’m not obsessed but I’ve sought out information about gangs on my own time and I figured that it would be easier to devote hours of research to a subject I enjoy.
  2. Gangs can be looked at very broadly or very specifically. You could look at gangs on a global level or you could narrow it down to a national level or to a city or to a neighborhood or to a single city block. I think that provides many different angles to approach it from.
  3. There are both economic and personal aspects to gang membership and activity which can lead to a plethora of interesting subtopics .

I’m hoping my research can not only look at the reasons why people join gangs but why gangs thrive in virtually every city in the U.S., why artists like N.W.A., and movies like Boyz N The Hood were so profitable by selling gang culture and why police departments have been so unsuccessful at combating the problem. Finally I want to stress how important I think the issue is, unlike bees. (Sorry, Bushnell.)

Initial Musings

Posted in Uncategorized by tom8o on January 13, 2010

Hey y’all! Tom here, and let my just start off by saying that I’m super excited that you’re viewing my blog. I will be posting here regarding my senior exit project which will be over a topic yet to be chosen. I’m looking forward to our time together and expect us to become closer friends after reading our thoughts.

Hello world!

Posted in Uncategorized by tom8o on January 13, 2010

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