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Title: Phono-somatics : gender, embodiment and voice in the recorded music of Tori Amos, Björk and PJ Harvey
Author: Boak, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 5922 2855
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2015
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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.
Supervisor: Brooks, Laura ; Stras, Laurie Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available