Chopin in the mass media: Advertising, signification, and meaning in select television commericals (2004-2011)



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This study will survey the varying receptions of Chopin’s music through its use in the mass media in the United States between 2004 and 2011. I will draw upon select American television commercials, semiotics, and reception history to illuminate the diverse and evolving contemporary images of Chopin and his music. This topic advocates the importance of music in mass media studies as a research area not often highly recognized as an academic subject, particularly in the musicological world. As there is limited research available covering classical music in the mass media, we are unable to fully recognize the importance of semiotic advertisement approaches. Examining the semiotics in ads will allow an understanding of our constantly changing popular culture. Due to the limitations of commercials predominantly available within a seven year time span and eighteen samples categorized into their respective tropes (“Aesthetics,” “Tragedy,” and “Nostalgia”), a glimpse of the reception of Chopin’s music in a contemporary America will be presented. This study will argue that in the last seven years (2004-2011), contemporary American advertising practices have imposed upon the presumed audience’s associations with Chopin’s music, conforming to or contradicting them for purposes of strengthening the marketing message.