By Jennie Schaaf
the day the music died.JPG

In my work, I assembled a box that represents the fall of the arts to industrialization and mathematic formulas instead of the age of creativity that had existed. It is meant to be a warning against letting the arts be taken over by industry and having the wonder of expression be suppressed by conformity. In the back of my box, I cut up black construction paper to make the wall appear to be cracking under the pressure of industrialization. In the upper left corner, I attached several office supplies to make a hanging object that looks like a machine that might be used in mass production. A nailfile glued to the back wall represents a conveyer belt and the paper boat on it represents the rise of consumerism and mass production as well. In the bottom left corner, a miniature paint kit is in propped up with two cakes of watercolor paint spilled onto the ground. I poured other paint on the bottom of the box to suggest that the arts were dying as they spilled onto the floor. The maze in the center of the floor is covered in scratches to symbolize the false front of industry and reinforce the construction paper as a crumbling deception. Hanging from the upper right corner is a card with a series of inconsequential numbers as far as the numbers that were chosen. The numbers falling down represent the arts being covered by the rising industry. Below the card is a small piano that is wrapped in a thin pink string. The piano is literally being suffocated because music, as a form of the arts, is falling. The title of my project, "The Day the Music Died" reflects the meaning behind the box because this line, taken from Don Mclean's song American Pie literally means the destruction of the music for the melodies of machines. My project is similar to the novel The Metamorphosis because it shows a progressive recession into a lack of life as evidenced by the black colors and murder of the arts. This work also emphasizes some of the art types that we studied because it shows realism taking over romanticism due to industrialization. In making this box, I found an organization of the objects that stood for something I believed had importance and then created the background as the underlying evil with the other objects narrating the destruction in the forefront. These objects I either glued or hung to fill the entire box and let the objects interact with each other as arts and industry reacted in the past.


For this project, I chose an instrumental version of Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Not only is this a strong song to be incorporated anywhere, but it also helps demonstrate the point of my box because the "yellow brick road" is the creativity that was left behind along the path to modernization. The repeating high notes that would be the chorus if this version had words are important because they do not change throughout the song, much like the mass production of items that all looked the same. Though the overall melody seems happy compared to the destruction I placed in my box, the title fits the purpose of the project and the melody appears to be coming from the small piano, suggesting that it is the piano's last cry for help.