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Phono-somatics: gender, embodiment and voice in the recorded music of Tori Amos, Björk and PJ Harvey

Phono-somatics: gender, embodiment and voice in the recorded music of Tori Amos, Björk and PJ Harvey
Phono-somatics: gender, embodiment and voice in the recorded music of Tori Amos, Björk and PJ Harvey
This thesis is a feminist enquiry into the relationship between gender, embodiment and voice in recorded popular music post-1990. In particular, the study focuses on the term ‘embodiment’ and defines this term in a way that moves forward from a simple understanding of representing the body in music. The expression of embodied subjectivity through the voice is crucial to this interpretation, and therefore is the central concern of this thesis. I describe this relationship between embodiment and voice in recorded music as phono-somatic. From the Greek, ‘phono’ suggests not only voice and sound, but also the process of recording itself. ‘Soma’ is the Greek for body. By connecting the two, phono-somatic as a term highlights the interplay between body and voice through the recorded medium.

Central to the analysis of phono-somatics is an exploration of the concept of ‘the feminine’. The 1990s saw a new kind of female artist emerge, writing songs that focused on intimate topics of sexuality, gender and the body in an explicit, direct way. This study looks at the work of three artists – PJ Harvey, Björk and Tori Amos – who make challenges to dominant conceptions of gender and sexuality and looks at how they use phono-somatic strategies in their work. The thesis explores three key areas: feminine vocality and pleasure, embodied trauma and maternal bodies. It analyses the ways in which these women performers use an embodied language in their musical practices, of what this language is made, and of what it allows them to speak. Through the analysis, this study demonstrates that phono-somatic practices are used to move past representation, into embodied experience whereby norms around gender and sexuality can be challenged.
Boak, Sarah
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Boak, Sarah
8ee9eda1-b8cf-4c58-bd31-acf2653ece72
Brooks, Laura
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Stras, Laurie
b1021221-b68d-4a48-bf3c-890e5a63438a

Boak, Sarah (2015) Phono-somatics: gender, embodiment and voice in the recorded music of Tori Amos, Björk and PJ Harvey. University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 208pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis is a feminist enquiry into the relationship between gender, embodiment and voice in recorded popular music post-1990. In particular, the study focuses on the term ‘embodiment’ and defines this term in a way that moves forward from a simple understanding of representing the body in music. The expression of embodied subjectivity through the voice is crucial to this interpretation, and therefore is the central concern of this thesis. I describe this relationship between embodiment and voice in recorded music as phono-somatic. From the Greek, ‘phono’ suggests not only voice and sound, but also the process of recording itself. ‘Soma’ is the Greek for body. By connecting the two, phono-somatic as a term highlights the interplay between body and voice through the recorded medium.

Central to the analysis of phono-somatics is an exploration of the concept of ‘the feminine’. The 1990s saw a new kind of female artist emerge, writing songs that focused on intimate topics of sexuality, gender and the body in an explicit, direct way. This study looks at the work of three artists – PJ Harvey, Björk and Tori Amos – who make challenges to dominant conceptions of gender and sexuality and looks at how they use phono-somatic strategies in their work. The thesis explores three key areas: feminine vocality and pleasure, embodied trauma and maternal bodies. It analyses the ways in which these women performers use an embodied language in their musical practices, of what this language is made, and of what it allows them to speak. Through the analysis, this study demonstrates that phono-somatic practices are used to move past representation, into embodied experience whereby norms around gender and sexuality can be challenged.

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More information

Published date: October 2015
Organisations: University of Southampton, Music

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 396331
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/396331
PURE UUID: caf65a30-509c-45b5-b465-78d63fc03696
ORCID for Laurie Stras: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0129-2047

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Date deposited: 11 Jul 2016 12:53
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 13:06

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