The New Trends in Music


Billboard, July 12, 1969

Session seventeen – New Trends in Modern Music [1]
Chairman: Murray the K, air personality, WMCA, New York
Speaker: Frank Zappa, president, Bizarre Inc., Straight Records, Los Angeles


Frank Zappa feels that a link exists between music and art today. He spoke of the trend in modern art known as concept art, and added that some people in pop music today relate to this concept. As an illustration he played an electronic composition using sounds outside the frequency of human hearing. He also used selections from the Columbia album, "The World of Harry Partch." Partch writes music of 32 tones to the octave. Zappa also played various other examples of electronic music, including a record utilizing sound made by a gong and a balloon. Still another was a recording of electronically modified sounds of German children playing.

Still another record was by the Chrysalis –  the cut was a version of man's relation to people engaged in biological warfare. In answer to a query on the acceptance of the Mothers of Invention, Zappa said that today, even though the group's music has gone in a more instrumental direction, "we still do not get a lot of air exposure because our harmonic principles are foreign to pop music." He added, however, that the teen mind today is ready for any new sound you can hurl at them.

Zappa said that people in the United States are not yet ready to listen to some forms of instrumental music-and that the adornment of words was necessary. "That is why jazz is not very popular," he added. "Music is capable of saying everything, but the audience is not ready."

He added that pop music is an important medium of communicating ideas to youngsters, but stations limit the song material and therefore do a disservice to the public.

The session, New Trends in Music, chaired by deejay Murray the K with Frank Zappa as chief speaker, drew a packed house. Murray the K pointed out that the present was a most revolutionary period in music and radio programming, and he noted that music has far surpassed its presentation on radio. "We have 1969 music and 1960 presentation," he said. Murray the K played tapes to show phases of audience involvement and pointed out that music can say things about dope and many other problems, such as public service. There is a need for new applications of music, he added.

1. Second Annual Billboard Radio Programming Forum was held in June 19-22, 1969, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York. Frank Zappa was the speaker in session 17, Sunday Afternoon, June 21.

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