This introductory chapter explains the coverage of this book, which is about the interpretation of popular music. It considers the issues of authorship, the relationship of text to context, musical codes and audiences. It argues that there is not necessarily one way of interpreting popular music but that different types of popular music use different types of rhetoric, call for different sorts of interpretation, refer to different arguments about musical complexity and familiarity and draw upon different senses of history and tradition.
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