The hall however grew less in prominence through the s and its purpose would eventually change into that of a public theatre. It was due to the charitable efforts of Dr Robert Mosse that the Rotunda hospital developed. He had based his plans on Vauxhall. Writings About Music Gardens in London. These movements were usually interspersed with concertos or popular opera arias. For example in the autumn of , a performance of Handel's music for the Royal Fireworks took place in the gardens, weeks after their catastrophic premiere in London.
Mosse arranged that each of the four performances would be complimented by firework displays in-between acts, adding to the thrill of the concert experience. Firstly there were purpose built halls for musical performance meaning that the oratorios could be performed without the righteous indignation of those who vociferously objected to the performance of sacred subjects being presented in a theatre. Usually the season lasted from May to October. The amenities of the Rotunda Gardens were also contributors to the success of the concerts. There is a fundamental suggestion that the appeal of an Irish premiere was a key influence for concertgoers.
Virtually every season in the Rotunda series had a flashy new soloist and this novelty element may have added to the musical appeal. Either way there was a genuine attraction for motivating the high level of concert attendance, whether related to artistic passions or social status. The intrinsic link of hospitals and the profits which were raised through concerts by charitable associations is obvious. Between the hospital boards and the musical societies, there was effectively an entirely non-theatrical musical life in Dublin created by the exploits of such organizations.
However this vibrancy also sparked much competition which was both beneficial for creating a generally higher quality of performance, and detrimental as there emerged the inevitable clashing of concerts and conflict of interests in terms of competition. One particular example tells of a countertenor Mons de Rheiner who hoped to perform several new English and Italian songs for his own benefit concert.
However he had the misfortune of arranging his benefit concert on the same day as an oratorio performance by one Mr.
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George Frederick Handel, during one of his subscription series concerts. White, The Keeper's Recital, Writings About Music historical cultural references, particularly evident in the lack of nationalism i. The polarization of rural and urban interests ensured that musicians in Dublin were forced to follow in the interests of London. However the clash of traditions was an obstacle as opposed to a virtue. Dublin was clearly fashionable and vibrant but any other pockets where Anglo-Irish interest was available, music also flourished and this is no coincidence.
What do studies on the processing of tonal music tell us about the comprehension and enjoyment of atonal music? These include the fact that no culture in recorded history has been without music indicating universality , that virtually every neurologically normal adult can appreciate and make music indicating widespread ability , and that music can evoke strong emotions signifying receptive adaptations.
Rather than containing an in-depth discussion of the biological and learned elements of music processing, this essay aims to summarise past research, highlighting the seemingly most crucial aspects of music that enable its comprehension and enjoyment. These findings will be used to make inferences about atonal music, and to compare its suitability for listening to that of tonal music.
Writings About Music tonal music, as several composers were of the opinion that all possibilities within its realm had been exhausted.
An emotional response is experienced when music deviates slightly from these expectations, creating conflict and tension before a resolution is heard; this creates pleasurable variety within a familiar and accessible framework. Krumhansl and Kessler provide evidence for our possession of such a framework. Results produced a stable outline of the pitch hierarchy of tonal music, and suggest that this is represented internally, and is used to judge relationships between different notes when listening to music.
Evidence also supports the idea that we use this internal hierarchy to make predictions when listening to tonal music. Krumhansl et al. Krumhansl and Edward J. Laura Eaton of Chinese folk melodies, with musical training again producing no significant differences. This method has uncovered some effects of expertise; late positive components LPCs were elicited when participants were exposed to incongruities at the ends of phrases, which were greater and had a faster onset for musicians than for nonmusicians, and for more familiar as opposed to unfamiliar phrases.
Although accuracy of expectations may be enhanced by expertise, the ability to form expectations and make predictions is reasonably universal, and present across music ability and culture. However, the existence of an internal representation of the hierarchy of pitches may explain this ability, and atonal music may present the listeners with difficulties in this area due to its lack of such a hierarchy. Trainor, R. Writings About Music Activity was elicited but did not differ with contour changes. This suggests that judgment of precise interval distance is sensitive to expertise, whereas judgment of the overall shape of a melody is a more basic, innate ability.
Trehub, Bull, and Thorpe have shown that sensitivity specifically to melodic contour is already present in eight- to eleven-month-old infants, supporting this idea. Perani et al. The unaltered music mainly evoked righthemispheric activation in auditory regions, and both types of altered excerpts evoked activity instead in the left inferior frontal cortex and limbic structures. Similar findings have been produced by Patel et al. Trehub, Dale Bull and L. Dowling and D. Perani, M. Saccuman, P. Scifo, D. Spada, G. Andreolli, R. Rovelli, C. Baldoli and S. Laura Eaton hemisphere of the adult brain plays a specific role in the perception of melodic contour.
Brain regions involved in processing may therefore differ to those used for tonal music, and may effect perception and judgement of the music. Although melodic contour appears to play an important role in the comprehension of music, we are not always dependent on melodies when processing musical properties. Five-month-old infants can recognise transpositions of a sequence of tones—randomly selected so as not to outline a typical melodic pattern—after being habituated to that sequence.
Patel, I. Peretz, M. Tramo and R. Chang and S. Cook ed. Parncutt and D. Writings About Music Some aspects of music processing appear to happen unconsciously. ERP studies have shown that features of music that violate expectancies—such as pitch deviations in a melody and harmonic deviations in chord sequences—elicit activity without conscious attention. In relation to atonal music using serialism, studies have shown that participants are capable of recognising tone sequences in transformation when they have first been familiarised with the sequences and then consciously attempt to identify these transformations.
The evidence reviewed so far presents an intriguing picture of the factors that play a crucial part in the comprehension of tonal music, and suggest many possible difficulties in the processing of atonal music. With its lack of pitch hierarchy and melody, abundance of dissonances, and demanding of attention, the skills used to process tonal music— whether innate or learned to some degree through past experience— may become redundant when used for atonal music. At this point, implications for the enjoyment of atonal music should be considered. Blood and Zatorre showed using positron emission tomography PET that activity can be observed in areas of the brain linked to emotion, E.
Brattico, M. Tervaniemi, R. Dienes and C. Laura Eaton arousal, and reward such as the vental striatum, amygdala, and orbitofrontal cortex when participants listened to tonal music chosen for intensely pleasant emotional responses. Can these areas also be elicited by music without a pitch hierarchy? If our comprehension and enjoyment of music is based on schemas as the aforementioned evidence suggests, this may be unlikely. The above evidence highlights the most salient aspects that appear crucial for the processing of tonal music.
Studies on infants in particular suggest that some skills in processing music may be innate. Music seemingly operates in specific ways to allow for comprehension, unconscious processing, and intense pleasure in its listeners. Although possible difficulties for processing of atonal music have been outlined, research does not propose that comprehension is impossible.
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It is likely that different processes may be involved than for tonal music, and that experience in this field will enhance processing. Further direct evidence on the processes underlying comprehension of atonal music is necessary to investigate this area fully. Blood and R. On the Reading of Graphic Scores Eoin Howley The concept for the current paper was prompted by a personal reaction to graphic score music. This reaction after a period of initial bafflement and apprehension was an appreciation of the significant capacity for freedom of performance and the constant renewal it offers to musicians.
However, I also felt that this freedom presented a danger, as the potentially unlimited possibilities presented by even a single graphic score could very possibly be enough to dissuade non-avant garde musicians. This is especially true as these musicians will primarily have been trained to use what Meyer describes as a high-level patterning conventional notation that reduces performance freedom.
This leads to the question of whether graphic score music is relevant in contemporary society. Leonard B. Structure This manual will suggest two methods of interpreting graphic scores. The first of these methods is based on the assumption that the features of a graphic score should have a direct relationship with the aural features of the music produced. The second method treats the visual features of a score as being unrelated to the aural effects of the resultant music. This will be described as abstract interpretation. It must be noted that improvisation will not be discussed in this document, as the interpretation by improvisation is qualitatively different than the deliberate interpretation discussed here.
It is also the case that many composers of graphic scores stated that they did not wish their scores to be treated simply as improvisatory material. How to read: Non-Abstract Interpretations As stated above, non-abstract interpretations of scores requires there to be a similarity or relationship between the visual features of a score and the aural features of the music. A non-musical example of this would be a road sign indicating a curved road ahead. There is a direct relationship between the content of the sign the curved line and what the sign signifies the curve in the road ahead.
The case of notation and music is more complicated than this example due to the fact that it requires a cross-sensory relationship, whereas the sign and the road both share visual features. In spite of this, cross-sensory signs occur in conventional notation, for example in the form of a trill sign.
The rising-falling line of the sign corresponds directly to the intended rising-falling note pattern. A significant difference between the trill sign and a non-abstract reading of graphic scores nonetheless exists in that there is already a single, For example see Cornelius Cardew, Treatise Handbook: Including Bun No. Writings About Music agreed-upon meaning for non-abstract signs in conventional notation. As the intention of this manual is to retain the interpretative freedom of graphic score music, the criteria for a method of non-abstract graphic score interpretation is that it establishes cross-sensory relationships between features in a manner that nonetheless offers freedom of interpretation.
This manual will derive such a method from the principles of Gestalt psychology. A further example of how the same Gestalt principle can affect both visual and aural stimuli is presented by Ball in his example of how we perceive visual and melodic lines crossing.
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Interpretation could be achieved by means of identifying the principles present in the perception of a visual aspect of a score, and constructing an aural equivalent that makes use of the same principles. A further area of interest to Gestalt psychology is. An interesting point given the current discussion is the level of musicality in this group.
See Mitchell G. Bruce Goldstein, Sensation and Perception, 2nd ed. Belmont Calif. Eoin Howley how a figure and its background are perceived. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, the principles are not prescriptive, due to the fact that they seem to only guide our perceptions rather than determine them.
The principle of good continuation could be used by an interpreter to determine that the stave lines obscured by two ovals directly below the lifeline on the far left of the page should be played as five harmonising lines that continue through, but are briefly obscured by, two loud chords. The principle of similarity could lead an This is primarily a visual concern, as seen in the example given by Goldstein, Sensation and Perception, , but for an example of how soloists ensure that their melody is to the fore of the listeners attention against an orchestral background see Ball, The Music Instinct, It is for this reason that they are now referred to as principles rather than laws.
Alternatively there could be only a single obscured line, which could be determined by the notes directed underneath this feature. Writings About Music interpreter to conclude that the recurring visual feature of lines emanating from notes to form concentric circles should result in a similar aural feature each time.
Alternatively, the principle of proximity could lead to the conclusion that they are distinct. Due to constrains of space, a more detailed demonstration cannot be given, but the above example is a demonstration of the method by which a non-abstract realisation of graphic score music could be formed. Cardew, Treatise, p. How to read: Abstract Interpretations As might be expected, this method of interpretation treats visual features of the graphic score as being unrelated the aural features they signify. Letters are a non-musical example of this. The majority of conventional notation is predicated on this method of interpretation.
For instance, there is no obvious reason for a filled, stemmed note to be half the duration of an unfilled, stemmed note. Eoin Howley we actually endow words with meaning in context. While this may seem to be of no use in terms of making graphic score music more accessible, it provides the advantage of consistency. An aural feature associated with a particular visual feature should be replicated each time that visual feature occurs.
A demonstration of how this could be attempted in a systematic manner is found in the work of Wassily Kandinsky. As each shape has angles and lines in it, this creates a hierarchical system with multiple levels of interpretation. In graphic score music, temperature and colour could be replaced by for example instrumentation and harmony. The level of freedom the interpreter would have from moment to moment in the work using this method would be self-determined by the rigorousness of the system they devised. Page of Treatise will now be re-examined to demonstrate the abstract method of interpretation.
The aforementioned recurring visual theme of lines seeming to form concentric circles could be interpreted to signify a brass fanfare. Aspects of this feature such as proximity of lines to one another or deformity of the resultant circle which would result in an ovular shape could be interpreted as referring to dynamics or the speed of the fanfare. In a simple one-to-one system of associations this decision may have no bearing on any others. In this system, the curved, but open-ended lines directly above the lifeline on the far right would be played by brass instruments, but would not be a fanfare.
It is notable that creative freedom is retained in this system as, while the. Writings About Music system restricts choices, the system itself is completely determined by the interpreter. A Question of Quality The two methods listed above are primarily intended to be an aid to performers in their attempts to realise a graphic score. However, they could equally be read as an aid to composers in their attempts to create graphic scores that are conducive to imaginative performance.
Graphic scores admittedly have the unique ability to produce potentially infinite different performances from a single score, thus requiring a lower production rate of scores than conventional Western music. New scores will almost certainly still be required, however, if only to provide a sense of novelty to interpreters. Acknowledging this, this manual will now presume to offer composers a method of judging the interpretative potential of their work assuming that the methods listed above are used by performers.
The initial premise of this is that every visual feature will vary in its level of abstract and non-abstract interpretability. For instance, while page of Treatise has potential for non-abstract interpretation, its use of aspects of musical notation as the primary visual feature means that any interpretation will likely require a significant amount of abstract interpretation.
Composers, in choosing visual features conducive to one or the other method of interpretation, can thus influence the effectiveness of each method in their scores. This raises the spectre of compositional vs. Unfortunately, a resolution of this conflict is beyond the scope and intent of this manual. It would be contrary to the spirit of this document, however, if it did not advise composers to maximise both interpretative freedom, but also interpretative potential in their scores. Final Thoughts As a movement founded largely on political sentiment, graphic score music was founded on sands that are even more shifting than twentiethcentury musical taste.
Having found that my own reservations about the movement stemmed largely from the seemingly baffling potential inherent in it, I have attempted in the above document to present a manual that will provide like-minded people with systematic methods of approaching graphic score music while retaining the freedom of interpretation that I view as the greatest advantage of the movement. It is crucial to note that the methods are not mutually exclusive, nor do they seek to be prescriptive of other methods that interpreters may discover.
Given this, and the freedom inherent in the methods suggested, it may seem that interpretation of graphic score music is as open-ended as ever. If this is the case, I hope that interpreters nonetheless take some confidence from this manual. There are a number of parameters specific to the televisual medium, however, one of which is often a more limited budget. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, , 82—92 Bloomington: Indiana University Press, , 39—54 Aoife Cuthbert diegesis and non-diegesis.
This breaks the trust between the viewer and the soundtrack, failing to fulfil one of its most important functions, and yet serving the complex nature of the series on myriad other levels. This will demonstrate that the music of Twin Peaks is used as an equal partner to visual and narrative storytelling techniques rather than as an afterthought, and that the resulting uniquely multi-faceted and deeply conceptual score of Angelo Badalamenti has been a large factor in the ability of the series to be taken seriously and, as such, to be accepted in academia—a rare achievement for a network television series, a medium whose value is seldom held in the same high regard as that of film.
Ultimately this understanding will enable us to acknowledge the possibility of defying typical function without detracting from the overall product, as well as to appreciate the power of a well-thought-out score to imbue a television series with credibility. The section continues with repetitions of a tension-building theme based on a minor second Ex. Occasional deep bass notes sound whenever a cut is made to a shot which further elucidates what or who he has stumbled across: the first shot of the wrapped corpse in the distance and the shot of blonde hair coming out of the plastic.
Maritime bells ring throughout, reminiscent of death knells. Aoife Cuthbert insensitive tone for the music to take, and that the intention behind it is to separate the viewer from the musical connotations they are accustomed to in order to create an air of unsettlement. This reading is supported by the link between Laura Palmer and the film, in which the heroine is also romanticised and fetishised after death using the combination of her overly romantic theme and her static portrait. Audrey, and the musical cues that alert us to her status as femme fatale, is one of the ways in which the show deals with both genre and parody.
Richardson describes parody as a combination of allusion and critical distance,. Writings About Music which Twin Peaks plays with time and time again in its exploration of its own genre. Cooper parodies film noir with his take on the classic voiceover: his tape recorder, and Audrey does the same in her depiction as a femme fatale.
This time, however it is interrupted by the arrival of her father who turns off the record player that the viewer was previously unaware of. S01E07 picks up where it left off in the narrative, although the musical environment has changed. London: Wallflower Press, , 77— Cooper: No Audrey: Laura had a lot of secrets Cooper: Finding those out is my job On some level, Laura is what Audrey aspires to be: the girl at the centre of a mystery to be unravelled by Cooper.
This shows the continued importance of that very first musical cue, even in the development of characters other than Laura herself, despite breaking from standard television practice by blurring the lines between leitmotivs that should conventionally aid in comprehension, not cause further ambiguity. He hears this romantic theme as he temporarily believes her to be alive again, and not just when he thinks about her as the idealised dead girl.
They are never visually presented as ghosts in the way that we are accustomed to, and neither are they presented as such in audio. New York: Continuum, , — The idea of sound apparatus connecting us to real and ghostly worlds is also brought up in the Red Room dream, in which all dialogue spoken by MFAP and Laura Palmer was spoken and acted backwards by the actors, and then played forwards.
The dream also contains a musical sequence that is central to our understanding of the way in which our expectations of diegesis in music are flouted in this series. In it, the MFAP gets up and begins dancing and snapping his fingers to the imagined jazz. When Cooper wakes up, after having had the killer whispered to him by Laura, he immediately calls the police department.
The jazz starts up again and he snaps his fingers to it almost in triumph, as the music succeeds in.
These strategies undermine the foundations of the television scoring conventions laid out by Altman, and yet they allow Twin Peaks to operate on an extra level of expressiveness, lending the entire series a complexity that cries out to be analysed, leading to the wealth of literature that exists on the series, as well as its continued cult status. New York: Routledge, , — He uses his minimalistic technique to layer original melodies with pre-existing melodies over quaver riffs to create atmosphere within all of his works.
For more than fifteen years, Greenaway and Nyman have worked together on films. Nyman adopted techniques he learnt from collaborating with Greenaway to help him form his unique style of composing. The music within the film is the most important part of creating the atmosphere. Writings About Music sound and image. The film is choreographed solely to fit the music as the music acts as the main form of communication within the film. Critics of Nyman have argued that he has simply plagiarized the work of others. However, it is argued that his reworking of the original musical compositions has added energy and creativity that lends itself to the visual form of film.
This means that a number of pre-existing compositions were used by Nyman to create a single work. The film was to be in a Baroque parody period-drama style. Borrowing heavily from Purcell, Nyman creates a score set against a period setting that is embellished using elaborate costume design. The setting is enhanced by pastoral backgrounds in the English countryside, representing the work of Baroque era artists Turner and Constable.
The challenge for Nyman in composing the score was to capture the films central dichotomy created by Greenaway that combines a courtly atmosphere with a sense of mystery and intrigue. The initial idea was to create a ground bass for two of the twelve drawings that Neville, the draughtsman undertook. Nyman employed minimalist practices including extended repetition and addition of basic melodic layers. The effect is that Nyman succeeds in reinterpreting more traditional traits associated with Baroque music and making them more relevant to the present day.
Writings About Music Sion argues that it is the variation added by Nyman in his use of intertextual references that creates a playful tone. However, it must be stated that the variation in some of the pieces is not as evident. Using minimalism by recording an open window or the sea, these composers create a simple almost monotonous piece.
Nyman livens up the traditional tone with a flowery, expressive atmosphere created by layering simple, melodic and rhythmic ideas. He uses simplicity as a medium that he gradually alters to attune the audience to the subtleties within each piece of music, capturing the imagination of the audience. The score requires only sixteen orchestral instruments.
Here Nyman diverges from Purcell who uses a number of different instruments throughout his work. This quality has the effect of creating an atmosphere of claustrophobia. This added element of claustrophobia has an engrossing effect on the audience and makes it easier for Nyman to bring the audience with him when he decides to change atmosphere or mood throughout the film. Lara Gallagher Nyman used his minimalistic approach also to adapt his compositions to a number of different visual contexts.
The minimalist techniques of developing musical layers meant that he could adapt sections of his music to correlate with the chosen atmosphere and imagery for a section of a film to compliment the editing process. He succeeds in achieving a unity and co-existence between image and sound where they worked together seamlessly. He decided that in order to maximize the Baroque parody style, he must perfect the instrumentation, one of the main contributors in creating that style. The orchestration, used in the soundtrack, plays one of the most important roles in creating a Baroque atmosphere in the film.
Nyman acknowledged that in order to create a gripping atmosphere that a audience could relate to, the music had to appeal to the modern music audience. Interestingly, Nyman said that this applied less to the music and more to the cinematography. Nyman, whilst struggling with the commercialized audience, combined jazz with Baroque styles to achieve the desired atmosphere of the Greenaway scenes. He reinterpreted more traditional patterns and using subtle refinements transformed the score to make it more relevant. Nyman overlaid his own created melodies over the pre-existing Purcell melodies.
This overlaying technique is a common denominator for both Baroque developmental variations and jazz music as both styles use basic ground basses that are then developed through the layering of other melodies. The use of the clarinet and bass clarinet in the film is perhaps the most striking orchestral innovation for a Baroque period drama.
The modernity of the clarinet combined with its power and resonance as a woodwind instrument adds fresh and expressive tones to the Baroque period-drama that further enhances the atmosphere. Nyman chose to regularly use the clarinet to complement the jazz style present within the film. This represents a marked deviation from the work of Purcell.
The use of a clarinet and horn that repeatedly layer melodies on top of a constantly changing bass line played by the tuba eventually gives rise to a new vibrant melodic line in the strings. The music serves to enliven the scene and echo the beauty of aesthetic creation. The layering of melodic strands played on a violin on top of the descending ostinato played on the harpsichord eventually introduces a melodic line interpreted by a soprano voice.
Figure 3. Nyman invariably uses clarinets, bass clarinets and horns to float atop the brooding bass chords played by the rest of the band. This gives us a sense of the collaboration between jazz and Baroque as the clarinet is playing the main melodic treble line. Immediately attaching a jazz quality to this piece sets the tone for the rest of the film. In most of the pieces written by Nyman for the film a harpsichord is used to play the steady basso continuo style bass line and enhance the Baroque style within the film.
Figure 5. The melody is layered repeatedly producing so much effect from minimal resources. The same melody is repeatedly played in this piece only on violins, horns and a bassoon but Nyman has the ability to produce extremely different qualities from each instrument using a continually varying rhythm, a changing volume and instrumental tone colour.
One of the primary mediums in which Nyman provides and determines the mood of the language provided by his music is through instrumental tone colour. The most prominent example of this is vibrato. The score requires each instrument to use it dramatically when a change of atmosphere occurs. By linking a certain instrument to a certain era or particular genre of music for example the clarinet to modern age jazz, Nyman provides the audience with a genre that they can relate to which immediately envelops them in the atmosphere of the scene.
When Nyman uses violins, the music is geared more towards the Baroque era to represent a more distant relationship between the audience and the content of the scene. Players are invited to play each two-bar melody a number of times to create the build-up and layering of many melodic lines played on instruments from all sections of the orchestra.
For example, the cello and bass guitar articulate a syncopated, staccato rhythm to emphasize further the swaying feeling of the waltz. Writings About Music section. The layering of the two-bar melodic phrase results in the formation of a basic jazz waltz. The rhythm of the waltz is sustained on the harpsichord as the layering of multiple melodic strands increases in volume to facilitate the build-up of a joyous atmosphere signifying the 4th drawing that Neville, The Draughtsman undertakes.
Figure 6. Basic Jazz waltz rhythm. The audience is aroused allowing Nyman to create a full and joyous atmosphere. The piece is played whilst the third drawing is created by the draughtsman in a small, colourful garden in springtime. Nyman effortlessly maintains an atmosphere of serenity and joy in this scene before mutating into a more measured single line melody played on the viola. Nyman uses only one note to gradually thin the viola texture to slowly bring down the dynamic of the piece and depress the atmosphere.
Even with a slight change in the orchestration and the instrumental tone colour and dynamic, Nyman has the ability to transform the intertextual references to reflect a change in the atmosphere. The music gradually becomes more full bodied and energized, reflecting the change in dramatic action. This swaying type waltz is reinforced by the piano whilst Lara Gallagher the bass guitar and cello articulate a staccato rhythm in the background.
Nyman composed this piece with 4 sections, each section gradually building up and including more counter melodies accenting different beats each time to enhance the generic doo-wop qualities present in this piece. Within the second section, the melody continues to be played over a steady quaver beat whilst the strings change to accent all four crochet beats. A flute is also added in section two which accents the first beat in each bar and adds a unique rhythmic motif which enters on the offbeat.
The final section is a combination of the second and third section providing the most complete texture, again accenting beats one and four enhancing the jazz atmosphere in the film. The courtly atmosphere of the music becomes synonymous with the grand execution of the drawing. Writings About Music organized soundtracks.
The musical language, which he creates by merging his minimalistic style with intertextual references, creates an expressive, original and modern tone for the listener. The atmosphere which he builds over the course of the film provides the listeners with a unique and memorable experience. Nyman succeeds in composing such that both sound and image coexist within the film whilst reworking the original musical compositions to bring out energy and creativity that lend themselves to the visual form of film.
The Female Voice and Image in Heavy Metal Shauna Caffrey Revered as muses, sexual objects, and the subject of fantasies, but scorned as performers, the role of women in Heavy Metal has long been a controversial one, and one that is largely dictated by patriarchal systems of control. As Robert Walser states in Running with the Devil, Heavy metal is, as much as anything else, an arena of gender, where spectacular gladiators compete to register and affect ideas of masculinity, sexuality and gender relations, 1 and in this arena, the female performer is often at a disadvantage.
As a genre populated by male performers and audiences, the female voice has largely gone unheard, and when women are spoken of, it is done so with contempt for their otherness. This essay examines the role of the female performer and voice, drawing on the theories of John Shepherd and numerous others, to illustrate the disparities in power between the masculine and feminine.
The use of the female voice to subvert patriarchal power structures will be discussed, as will the negative portrayals of female subjects in heavy metal media. Writings About Music techniques utilized in Heavy Metal music, particularly those employed by female performers. Before the role of the women in metal can be discussed, the role and implications of gender as a whole must be examined within the culture of Heavy Metal.
Regarded as a predominantly masculine genre—much like rock—Heavy Metal is largely the product of—and aimed toward—the male population. Circulating in the contexts of Western capitalist and patriarchal societies, for much of its history metal has been appreciated and supported primarily by a teenage male audience. Scott ed. Cambridge: Polity Press, , — However, this technique is employed to the same effect by a number of prominent female performers, among them Karyn Crisis formerly of Crisis and Ephel Duath and Angela Gossow formerly of Arch Enemy.
The long-standing image of female performer as vocalist, rather than female performer as instrumentalist, is one that frequently comes into question when examining the role of women in popular music. This both confirms and reinforces the long-standing association of women with the body and nature which runs through our culture and contrasts with the image of men as controllers of nature via technology. Writings About Music In popular music, researchers have examined numerous female masculinities in practice, often perched between reinforcing and subverting familiar gendered subject positions.
As in the theories discussed by Bayton and Shepherd, wherein the abilities of female performers were rendered down to the product of.
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Shauna Caffrey bodies, rather than individuals, in the lyrical world of Heavy Metal, the woman is often depicted in solely sexual terms. Women, in their eyes, are either sexually aggressive and therefore doomed and unhappy, or else sexually repressed and therefore in need of male servicing. Writings About Music pronouns your and my. Do you wanna feel everything? These images—in tandem with the ideals of male supremacy highlighted in the discussion of voice—speak of a sexist ideology within the culture of Heavy Metal.
Unlike the works previously discussed, here we see the female as powerful, but equal. To conclude, it is clear that a disparity between genders persists in Heavy Metal culture. However, the growing involvement of women as performers, and the addition of their voice—in the literal and Huntress, Starbound Beast, compact disc, Napalm Records, NPR , Walser, Running with the Devil, Their input has, and will continue to, dissolve the various stigma attached to notions of femininity through the presence of powerful female figures, and realistic representations of womankind.
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