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Narrativity, worldmaking, and recorded popular song.

Harden, Alexander C. (2018) Narrativity, worldmaking, and recorded popular song. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey.

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This thesis develops a novel approach to hermeneutical popular song analysis through the application of cognitive narrative theory. Throughout, I develop a reader-oriented model of musical interpretation in which a listener may interpret a song as a story situated within a mental model of a possible world, or narrative world. As narrative worlds are principally discussed in relation to non-musical texts, this project synthesises and expands existing work to develop new strategies of analysing verisimilitude, diegetic framing, and perspectivity in recorded popular song. Thereafter, I integrate these positions in a narrative reading of The Who's Quadrophenia. A theoretical basis is proposed in Chapters 1 and 2. Chapter 1 begins by exploring existing applications of narrative theory to Western art music. Thereafter, narrative is redefined as a cognitive construction resulting from the listener's narrativisation of a work. It is argued that narrativisation is based on the phonographic representations of the singer and other sound-sources in recorded popular song. Using the theory of affordance from ecological perception theory, Chapter 2 proposes a model in which recordings offer listeners ways of constructing narrative worlds using information from given tracks and supplementary external schemata. Analytical approaches to properties of narrative worlds are discussed in Chapters 3-5. Chapter 3 addresses verisimilitude resulting from the suggested logic of the narrative world, representation of sound-sources within the phonographic space, and details of the performance. Chapter 4 explores temporal aspects of narrative worlds, and the ontology of sound-events. Chapter 5 investigates matters of perspectivity in relation to the narrator/protagonist and the implied position of the listener in relation to the narrative world. Finally, Chapter 6 provides an extended example of these analytical strategies in practice in a case study of Quadrophenia.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
Harden, Alexander C.UNSPECIFIED
Date : 28 February 2018
Funders : FAHS Studentship Competition
Contributors :
ContributionNameEmailORCID, Allan,,, Timtimothyhughes@mac.comUNSPECIFIED
Depositing User : Alexander Harden
Date Deposited : 05 Mar 2018 09:07
Last Modified : 05 Mar 2018 09:07

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