November 2014: Old School Records

Meets National Core Arts Anchor Standards 7, 8, 9, and 11


  • Perceive and analyze artistic work
  • Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work
  • Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work
  • Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural and historical context
  • Learn about the history of recording

CD (November 2014)

Have the students read about the history of vinyl recordings and the renewed interest in the format.

1. Play “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc. (CD track 2).

What time signature is this in? (4/4.)
Does it start in a major or minor key? (C major.)
The pitched drum sound that comes in at around 0:03 contains two notes. If the higher one is E, then what’s the lower one? (C.)
What interval is this? (A major third.)
When the bass sounds kick in at around 0:22, what interval is heard between the successive notes? (A perfect octave.)
What note value is this bass line based on? (Eighth note.)
Can anyone say what happens to the key of the song at around 1:58? (Changes to C minor, with a C natural minor melody and a Cm7 chord on the guitar.)
When do you think this was recorded? (Late 1970s, specifically 1979.)
Based on your reading, in what format do you think it was available as a single? (12-inch single, on account of the length.)

2. Play “Blue Monday” by New Order

What time signature is this in? (4/4.)
Which beats are emphasized? (Beats 2 and 4.)
What about the key signature? (D minor.)
Do the drums sound like a regular acoustic set or a drum machine? (The latter.)
Do the lead vocals sound electronically processed or pure? (The former.)
If you had to guess, are the vocals at 1:35 a live choir recorded for the song? (No, this is a sample.)
Do you hear any “real” instruments? (Yes, a little guitar.)
This single was referenced in the article as the all-time biggest-selling 12-inch single in Britain. Can you name it? (New Order’s “Blue Monday.”)

Play “2 Bit Blues” by Kid Koala (CD track 3).

What’s the time signature? (4/4.)
Can anyone describe the rhythmic feel? (It’s got a swing feel, in which pairs of consecutive eighth notes are played not evenly but long-short.)
Is this piece in a major or minor key signature? (Major—F major.)
How would you describe the harmony? (It’s essentially static: one big F7 chord.)
At around 0:22, there’s an example of a DJ technique described in the article. Can anyone name it? (Scratching.)
This selection was recorded by a modern turntablist mentioned in the article. What’s his name? (Kid Koala.)


Have the students compare these works stylistically. Each was recorded in an era when vinyl records were


Did they discuss the listening selections?
Did they complete their essays and discuss them?