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Title: This Woman's Work: A Composers Perspective on Vocality and Narrative in the work of Kate Bush
Authors: Feery, Amanda Mary
Advisors: Trueman, Dan
Contributors: Music Department
Keywords: Kate Bush
Musical Narrative
Music Analysis
Music Composition
The Ninth Wave
Subjects: Music
Musical composition
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Kate Bush’s work encompasses character songs, extended song suites, film, dance, and a fusion of diverse musical styles ranging from the piano ballad, cabaret, and folksong, to traditional Irish music, sampling, and spoken word. While much existing scholarship on Bush’s work focuses on topics such as lyrics, biography, and gender, there remains scant readings of her work from a musicological angle and from those embedded in musical practice. This dissertation focuses on two major elements that attracted me to Bush’s work: vocality and narrative. Vocality is adopted as a catch-all term to account for Bush’s many-layered qualities of vocal technique and expression. By calling on vocal pedagogy and examining detailed song transcriptions, I trace Bush’s experimentation with register, articulations, and vocal costume, alongside her evolving compositional voice. An analysis of these elements from their nascent development on Bush’s early demos up to the 1982 album, The Dreaming, aims to identify recurring vocal signifiers across her output. I argue that Bush’s vocality is not solely performative, but integral to the musical structure of her songs, allowing Bush to sculpt phrase structure, climactic points, and move through tonal centres. The focus on narrative in Bush’s work examines her extended narrative project, ‘The Ninth Wave’. Served by detailed transcriptions, and calling upon narrative theory to support a wider scope for analysis, I trace Bush’s compositional process and her procedure of building narrative meaning across a large-scale work for the listener; considering lyrical, musical, extra-musical, intertextual, and temporal elements. The original composition, This is the House of, that completes this dissertation, is an attempt to distil years worth of my own musical fascinations and preoccupations. The piece represents a convergence of affinities, processes, and thematic elements shared with Bush’s work. ‘The Ninth Wave’ provides an analytical entrypoint into the work, exploring memory, grief, intertextual elements, folklore and disrupted temporality.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Music

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