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Temporal process, repetition, and voice in Bjork's "Medúlla"

Author: Victoria Malawey; Marianne Catherine Kielian-Gilbert
Dissertation: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Indiana University, 2007.
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript   Archival Material : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Björk Guðmundsdóttir's 2004 album, Medúlla, is remarkable: it originates primarily from human voices, follows her long-standing tradition of collaborative work, and responds to particular events of the three years preceding the album's release. Musically, Medúlla invites an inquiry into the nature of musical events in time, repetition and return, strategic change over the course of entire songs, music-text
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Details

Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
Named Person: Björk; Björk.
Material Type: Thesis/dissertation, Manuscript, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Archival Material, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Victoria Malawey; Marianne Catherine Kielian-Gilbert
ISBN: 9780549466277 0549466274
OCLC Number: 302008231
Notes: Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 69-02, Section: A, page: 0432.
Advisor: Marianne Kielian-Gilbert.
Appendix of transcriptions [transcriptions of 15 Björk songs]: leaves 318-395.
Description: xviii, 395 leaves : music ; 28 cm.
Responsibility: Victoria Malawey.

Abstract:

Björk Guðmundsdóttir's 2004 album, Medúlla, is remarkable: it originates primarily from human voices, follows her long-standing tradition of collaborative work, and responds to particular events of the three years preceding the album's release. Musically, Medúlla invites an inquiry into the nature of musical events in time, repetition and return, strategic change over the course of entire songs, music-text relations, and vocality.

Björk draws upon several themes--ancestry, paganism, pre-civilization, and motherhood--to unify the album. Her treatment and manipulation of the voice (e.g., nonverbal utterances, various styles of delivery) support these themes and imply musical personae and sonic corporeality through repetition, textual manipulation, textural effects, and emergent processes. Other uses of the voice highlight the musical qualities of the text (in contrast to linguistic meanings) through metric reinterpretation.

Approaching transcription as a vehicle for analysis, this study explores the functions of seven temporal effects (emergence, decay, textural delay, expansion, contraction, metric suspension, and metric modulation) that shape the gradual unfolding of each song on Medúlla. Temporal effects encompass musical phenomena that explicitly involve temporal context for their impact. Particular strategies of repetition, such as motoric repetition, motivic variation, textual repetition, and harmonic oscillation and stasis, also affect listeners' expectations and perceptions of time in these songs. Entire songs and sections of songs project strategic courses of change that I analyze using a concept I call "processive growth." My analyses relate different rates of change among musical parameters (including processes of acceleration and deceleration) and interactions among temporal effects, repetition, and return. A primary question I address is how music analysis can characterize processes of gradual change in the songs on Medulla . I draw on several analytic orientations to characterize hearing the songs in real time, listening to patterns shown in the transcriptions and paradigmatic diagrams, and experiencing musical emergence and processive growth in the songs.

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