Unlocking the Groove

Unlocking the Groove

Rhythm, Meter, and Musical Design in Electronic Dance Music
Mark J. Butler
Distribution: World
Publication date: 03/20/2006
ISBN: 978-0-253-01635-5
Bookmark and Share

Available through various retailers


ARSC 2007 Certificate of Merit winner

Unlocking the Groove is a groundbreaking, award-winning, music-driven analysis of electronic dance music (EDM). Author Mark Butler interweaves traditional and non-traditional musical analysis with consideration of the genre’s history and social significance, deconstructing several typical examples of electronic dance music and focusing on the interaction of beat and rhythmic structure in creating an overall musical design. Interviews with DJs, listeners, and producers flesh out the book, providing insight into the perceptions and performance world of EDM, and making a vivid case for the musical artistry of EDM disc jockeys. The CD included with the book illustrates the analysis with multiple musical examples, both in excerpts and full songs. Butler’s work propels the study of popular music in exciting new directions, and will impact the range from popular music studies, music theory, ethnomusicology, and musicology.

Author Bio

Mark J. Butler is Assistant Professor of Music Theory at the University of Pennsylvania. He is recipient of the Society of American Music’s 2005 Housewright Award for his work on electronic dance music. He lives in Philadelphia.


“Unlocking the Groove is a remarkable achievement and an important contribution to the study of popular music and culture. Combining keen analysis, clear prose, and an unabashed love for electronic dance music, Mark Butler unlocks for us a rich musical world, one that has not until now received the attention it deserves. This book belongs in the hands of . . . anyone who wants to know how music sweeps us on to our feet."”
 — Mark Katz, author of Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music

“This richly textured study provides brilliant insights into the rhythmic, metrical, and social dimensions of electronic dance music...."”
 — Ellie M. Hisama, Columbia University

Customer Reviews

There are currently no reviews
Write a review on this title.

Table of Contents

Part I. Getting into the Groove: Approaching the Study of Electronic Dance Music
Chapter 1. The History and Creation of Electronic Dance Music
Chapter 2. Conceptualizing Rhythm and Meter in Electronic Dance Music
Part II. Electronic Dance Music and Interpretive Multiplicity
Chapter 3. Ambiguity
Chapter 4. Metrical Dissonance
Part III. Electronic Dance Music and the Epic
Chapter 5. Multimeasure Patterning
Chapter 6. Form from the Record to the Set
Afterword: Unlocking the Groove
Appendix A. Technical Issues Related to Analysis and Transcription
Appendix B. Technical Issues Related to Field Research
Appendix C. Transcriptions of Tracks Discussed in Chapters 5 and 6
Glossary of Terms from Electronic Dance Music and Music Theory

CD Tracks

1. Example 2.4a. Jeff Mills, "Jerical" (0.18)

2. Example 2.4b. Jeff Mills, "Jerical" (0.10)

3. Example 2.4c. Jeff Mills, "Jerical" (0.10)

4. Example 2.4d. Jeff Mills, "Jerical" (0.17)

5. Example 2.4e. Jeff Mills, "Jerical" (0.25)

6. Example 2.8. 808 State, "Cubik (Kings County Perspective)," mm. 1<N>12 (0.28)

7. Example 2.15. Plastikman, "Panikattack" (0.19)

8. Example 2.17. Plastikman, "Panikattack" (1.42)

9. Example 3.1. Carl Craig, "Televised Green Smoke," mm. 1<N>15 (0.19)

10. Example 3.2. James Ruskin, "Connected," opening loops (0.19)

11. Example 3.3. James Ruskin, "Connected," second textural combination (0.46)

12. Example 3.6. Carl Craig, "Televised Green Smoke," mm. 16<N>31 (0.19)

13. Example 3.8. Kenny Larkin, "Track," opening (0.24)

14. Example 3.9. Kenny Larkin, "Track" (0.18)

15. Example 3.10. Kenny Larkin, "Track" (0.32)

16. Example 3.11. Kenny Larkin, "Track" (0.38)

17. Example 3.12. Kenny Larkin, "Track" (0.25)

18. Example 4.4. Underworld, "Cups"