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The Relentless Pursuit of ToneTimbre in Popular Music$
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Robert Fink, Melinda Latour, and Zachary Wallmark

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199985227

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199985227.001.0001

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The Twang Factor in Country Music

The Twang Factor in Country Music

(p.43) 2 The Twang Factor in Country Music
The Relentless Pursuit of Tone

Jocelyn R. Neal

Oxford University Press

The term twang in instrumental and vocal contexts carries powerful associations within country and western music. Revered by some and disdained by others, twang indexes rural traditions, untrained singers, and, consequently the pride in this cultural heritage. This chapter explores the sonic properties of twang in both instruments and the human voice, the cultural implications and reception of twang, and the deemphasis on twang in Nashville’s country music scene in the 1950s. It presents a case study of two contrasting recordings by Jim Reeves (one with liberal use of twang and one without), examines the sonic character of country albums from Ray Charles and Connie Francis, and investigates the contemporary politics of twang in country music.

Keywords:   country music, twang, banjo, Jim Reeves, Nashville, Connie Francis, Ray Charles, Hank Williams

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