[Smt-talk] Paul Simon

Bennighof, James James_Bennighof at baylor.edu
Thu Nov 5 08:37:14 PST 2009

The bibliography that Nicole mentions contains all the published analytical work on Simon of which I'm aware, except for Anna Stephan-Robinson's dissertation.

My book, as requested by the publisher to conform to others of a "singer-songwriter" series, surveys all of Simon's songs that he recorded on his studio albums, offering an analysis of each as the various facets of the music interact with the lyrics.  The analyses average about 500 words apiece, and are intended to be fairly comprehensible to non-music-theorists who have some musical background (I gave myself a bit of leeway by including mini-primers on musical terminology, chord structure, and "The Musical Languages of Paul Simon").  The publisher describes these as "narrative reference" books (expecting that, although they're presented in normal chapter format, people will commonly dip into them to find discussions of particular songs and albums, rather than necessarily reading them from front to back), and intended them to be marketed most primarily to public libraries and academic libraries (the selling point is that these books talk about the work of the singer-songwriters, rather than primarily about their lives and careers).  I haven't looked at the other books in the series, except for a couple of excerpts, but was told when mine appeared as the eighth that it contained the most technical musical discussions up to that point (which may say more about the others than about mine).  I think there are now about seventeen out or in press (others listed in the bibliography are on Stevie Wonder (by the series editor, James Perone, who also did a Paul Simon bio-bibliography that's listed there) and Frank Zappa.

--Jim Bennighof
James Bennighof
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Policy
One Bear Place, #97014
Baylor University
Waco, TX  76798-7014
(254) 710-6500 (office)
(254) 710-3600 (fax)

From: "Eric C. Lai" <Eric_Lai at baylor.edu>
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 2009 15:48:08 -0600
To: "Haag, Daniel" <dhaag at butler.edu>, <smt-talk at societymusictheory.org>
Subject: Re: [Smt-talk] Paul Simon

Hi Dan,  My colleague James Bennighof has published a book: The Words and Music of Paul Simon (Praeger, 2007).  Hope this helps.

Eric Lai
Associate Professor of Music Theory
School of Music
Baylor University
One Bear Place #97408
Waco, TX 76798-7408
E-mail: eric_lai at baylor.edu
Phone: 254-710-2360

On 11/4/09 7:37 AM, "Haag, Daniel" <dhaag at butler.edu> wrote:Haag, Daniel

Greetings everyone,

I'm interested in doing some analysis of the music of Paul Simon, with particular emphasis on the evolution of his compositional style over time.  First, does anyone know of any theoretical analysis of his music that has been done, or any bibliographic suggestions (particularly of sources from 2000 or later)?  Second, has anyone done theoretical analysis of pop music that can offer suggestions on methodology?  I appreciate it!


Dan Haag
Graduate student, Butler University
Indianapolis, IN
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