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Connor
Junior Boarder
Posts:276

Writing an essay about the Grateful Dead. Topics?

#209347 1 year, 10 months ago
In my music class I was assigned a 6-10 page essay on "anything having to do with music", so naturally I decided to write something related to the Grateful Dead. I need a narrower topic, though. Any suggestions?

Some ideas I had were talking about innovation in technology (Wall of Sound, MIDI,etc), or something about how versions of songs have changed over the years. Or possibly about how the Dead has evolved over its 30 years of existence, as well as post-dead groups.

Let me know your ideas! Thanks
Sure don't know, what I'm goin' for, but I'm gonna go for it for sure.
Last Edit: 1 year, 10 months ago by Connor.
AcidTestGraduate
Platinum Boarder
Posts:1533

Re: Writing an essay about the Grateful Dead. Topics?

#209353 1 year, 10 months ago
One of the most interesting facets of the Grateful Dead's music (and Furthur's) is the origin of the songs they've
played. As far as original songs, much is known, yet much is not and it's left to us to decipher the meanings as Mr.
Hunter has been pretty tight lipped as far as what the lyrics are about. However many of the cover songs they've played
are well documented as to their meanings, as well as the composers/artists who covered them/genres they fall into.

In the now defunct magazine The Golden Road there was in every issue an article on the origins of cover songs. It's fascinating
the breadth of material they covered and all the various styles these songs encompassed.

Hope that helps. I'm guessing you could get 6-10 pages out of that.
mddichard07
Junior Boarder
Posts:198

Re: Writing an essay about the Grateful Dead. Topics?

#209375 1 year, 10 months ago
i think the evolution of the band over 3 decades is this way to go. you can even do the progression of songs/jams and different eras of their sound
SunshineSue
Platinum Boarder
Posts:31685
Life is sweeter for this!

Re: Writing an essay about the Grateful Dead. Topics?

#209390 1 year, 10 months ago
If you decide to look at song evolution, or take on the topic of incorporating traditional music into modern rock and roll, you might want to check out the thread below. It has some interesting information on Mountain Song and it's evolution. Good luck with the paper!!

furthur.net/forum/general-discussion/138...mountain-song#138363

.
Last Edit: 1 year, 10 months ago by SunshineSue.
Connor
Junior Boarder
Posts:276

Re: Writing an essay about the Grateful Dead. Topics?

#209397 1 year, 10 months ago
Thanks for the input. I just thought of a great idea, let me know what you think. What if I did my essay on a "typical Grateful Dead concert" (if there is such a thing)... I'd start with the parking lot and then talk about how setlists work, mention songs typically played in each set, compare and contrast different decades, etc. how about that?
Sure don't know, what I'm goin' for, but I'm gonna go for it for sure.
illuminaughty
Platinum Boarder
Posts:1556

Re: Writing an essay about the Grateful Dead. Topics?

#209426 1 year, 10 months ago
that sounds like a great read idea for abook, but i think it might not get a great responce from your teacher. just imaginie if it was any other group, imagine reading "a typical tom petty concert" paper, now i know what your thinking, the dead are different, well unless your a deadhead whos been to shows you dont know htat, and your teacher will probably think of it as just a fanzine type paper, and it might affect your grade.

if you have a pretty conservative teacher, stict to fact based topics, like songs stutctrue, and jams evolution over 30 years. or the different keyboardists, and how they effected the style of the songs.

if your teach is a bit more open minded, and you feel up to it.
how about the GD involvment in the evolutionn and expansion of the nations collective consience, by provideing the whole country with a relativly safe enviroment to experiment with phsycotropic drugs.
how many fewer people in this nation would have tried lsd, or mushrooms, or peyote or whatever if it werent for the GD, and those drugs ususallly have a profound long term effects on the users views/ opinions about the would he/she lives in. since they helped hundreds of thousands of americans have access to these chemicals, and a place to do them, and since everyone from homeless to congressmen partook, how different is america because of it.

the first one iwll be easier to write, and probably get the better grade.
the keyboardists role, and how it affects the other musicians, and song placement, length, etc. etc.

good luck.

i find that as long as you study something your into it dosnt feel like work. hell you could probably even convince yourself you need to do the NYE run for background research. besure to put it in the bibliography
Connor
Junior Boarder
Posts:276

Re: Writing an essay about the Grateful Dead. Topics?

#209433 1 year, 10 months ago
I forgot to mention; my teacher is a huge deadhead. he's seen them several times, in fact today he was talking about how he smoked opium at a couple of shows and how trippy it was. So I definitely would not say he's conservative. That being said, I'm not really big in to the drug aspect of the Grateful Dead. I know it's a big part, but it's not one that really interests me. I'll probably go with something closer to your first idea.
Sure don't know, what I'm goin' for, but I'm gonna go for it for sure.
Griff
Expert Boarder
Posts:837
Don't you see........

Re: Writing an essay about the Grateful Dead. Topics?

#209434 1 year, 10 months ago
Connor wrote:
In my music class I was assigned a 6-10 page essay on "anything having to do with music", so naturally I decided to write something related to the Grateful Dead. I need a narrower topic, though. Any suggestions?

Some ideas I had were talking about innovation in technology (Wall of Sound, MIDI,etc), or something about how versions of songs have changed over the years. Or possibly about how the Dead has evolved over its 30 years of existence, as well as post-dead groups.

Let me know your ideas! Thanks


Man, let me tell you...........I am jealous. This sounds like a lot of fun and makes me wish I was back in college.

Some great ideas in this thread and I really liked your idea a lot, meaning the concert experience. However, as we all know, that is the hardest thing to convey to a non-deadhead that has not actually been there and truly experienced. And by truly I think you all know what I am talking about (hehehehe). Like my wife who has gone to the Seattle Furthur shows with me in 2010 and last month didn't truly experience what a show is all about.

So.......could be a really tough thing to connect your readers to. You cant take them on a trip. Thats been tried in written fashion many times and it never really can convey the actual moment. I'll never forget reading about a trip in all of things Sciene Digest magazine from 1966. It was fascinating, all done under doc supervision and of course still legal. Yet, my experiences have never matched that one, ever. Too singular. Too unique.

Its kind of like all the different varieties of dancing. Just too different and individual based on the person, not a common experience.

If you do tackle the concert experience I would love to see what you come up with. Have fun bro!!

BTW - I really like the idea of how the Dead have "fused" so many different types of music together. Requires some music theory background or at least understanding IMHO to really make the connection. I wrote something similiar for my senior thesis in High School (why Jazz is truly American music)
FurthurFlower67
Platinum Boarder
Posts:5021
Good Love!

Re: Writing an essay about the Grateful Dead. Topics?

#209441 1 year, 10 months ago
When I was in college I was in a class history of broadcasting. I had to write a paper on a person/thing/whatever that influenced media. I totally did the Grateful Dead! Got an A as well!!!

There is so much to this music, culture, band and the fans! I know you will do just great on your paper! Good luck!!
Dreams are lies...it's the dreaming that's real!!!!
Wundurland
Expert Boarder
Posts:620

Re: Writing an essay about the Grateful Dead. Topics?

#209465 1 year, 10 months ago
Thesis: Pick a theme that runs within a few songs (6 or so, depending on the length of the essay), and reference the songs as you discuss the theme and how it relates to a central message of the GD.
...was staring at the little blotch of sunshine with a special intensity, considering lying down in it.

-JD Salinger
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