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Title: Enjoying the operatic voice : a neuropsychoanalytic exploration of the operatic reception experience
Author: Zuccarini, Carlo
ISNI:       0000 0004 2738 0541
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2012
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There has been a long-standing and mutually-informing association between psychoanalysis, literature and the arts. Surprisingly, given the oral/aural basis of the ‘talking cure’, music has largely been overlooked by psychoanalysis. On the other hand, neuroscientific research investigating music reception and production has been increasing steadily in range and scope over the years. However, in order to avoid confounding factors, empirical studies have focused primarily on non-vocal music. Operatic vocal music has not featured prominently in either field. Yet the multidimensional, multi-layered nature of opera, which fuses together a number of different arts, would appear to provide fertile soil for both disciplines. This thesis aims to fill that gap, providing a stepping stone for further research. The individual strengths of psychoanalysis and neuroscience are leveraged separately at first, according to a ‘complementarist’ approach, and then jointly as the inter-discipline of neuropsychoanalysis. By combining various theories of mind with current knowledge about music processing in the brain, a more comprehensive understanding of the reception experience can be achieved. As a result, a neuropsychoanalytic theory can be formulated to account for the operatic reception experience in subjective as well as objective terms. According to this theoretical formulation, the bittersweet enjoyment of operatic vocal music, which can literally move an operaphile to tears, lies in a numberof subjective dynamics that are unique to the reception of opera, rather than in any distinct objective neural processes, which are common to the reception of all music. These subjective dynamics, which are recruited during neural processing, are triggered by the equally unique features of the operatic voice, in combination with a number of auxiliary elements that are specific to opera.
Supervisor: Nobus, D.; Wright, M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Opera ; Psychoanalysis ; Neuroscience ; Vocal object ; Jouissance