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Title: Rock Music and the Language of Fantasy: The Music of Yes' Relayer
Authors: Early, Michael H.
Advisors: Mackey, Steven
Contributors: Music Department
Keywords: fantastic literature
popular music
rock music
Subjects: Music
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: The music of Yes' <italic>Relayer</italic> (1974) represents one possible end-point of a trend in experimental - or `progressive' - rock in 1970's Britain: a trend toward musical creations of epic proportions. <italic>Relayer</italic> was Yes' last album for several years; and it was the last composed solely of large-scale tracks (between 9-1/2 and 22 minutes). Including a number of original transcriptions from the album's music, this dissertation draws parallels between this music and the rhetoric, themes and forms of popular fantastic literature from the late 1960's and early 1970's. The use of tropes from fantasy and science fiction in song lyrics and album art of rock music in these years is well documented. This dissertation further speculates that the correspondence sometimes extends further than direct reference in text or image; it draws parallels between the rhetoric of fantastic literature and the actual musical content. It also suggests that progressive rock, often connected to the techniques and forms of classical music, is actually most closely connected to Western art music at the broader level of the idea that music can be narrative. The intersection of Yes' language with both narrative rhetoric from fantastic literature and musical techniques from multiple genres create stories that resonate with the post-1960's world of the 20th-century. Each chapter of the dissertation considers one track from the album in detail, drawing parallels with various genres and theories of fantastic literature. "The Gates Of Delirium" is associated with J.R.R. Tolkien's <italic>Lord of the Rings</italic> and the quest fantasy. "Sound Chaser" is compared with themes in science fiction through the film <italic>2001: A Space Odyssey</italic>, and Arthur C. Clarke's novel <italic>Rendezvous with Rama</italic>. "To Be Over" is examined in terms of what Farah Mendlesohn calls `immersive fantasy,' and considers how Yes creates fantastical musical worlds using a complex and personal language that swings between multiple genres and uses narrative-like rhetoric.
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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