Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A musical analysis of the People's Microphone: Voices and echoes in protest and sound art and Occupation 1 for String Quartet
by Woodruff, Jeremy, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2014, 219; 3582734
Abstract (Summary)

The People's Microphone technique, first employed by Occupy Wall Street in the 2011 occupation of Zuccotti Park, is a mode of political speech drawing on the fundamental linguistic/musical principle of imitation. By analyzing musical parameters of the tones of voice in instances of the People's Microphone in protest, and secondly by adapting the method to analyze how the People's Microphone is used in an artwork by Brandon LaBelle, I lay the speculative groundwork for a transversal theory dealing with the political influence of musical sound. This theory is extended to Angela Davis, a piece in Peter Ablinger's Voices and Piano series of compositions for piano and audio recording in which the piano exactly imitates the intonations of the voice in different ways. The arousal of cognitive dissonance through vocal inflection in interaction with contexts of perception is the common thread through several examples that allows a holistic theoretical approach across the domains of sound, art and politics. The argument demonstrates how the intrinsic parameters of all vocal sound are both an ever-present aesthetic and political force. The second part of the dissertation is an experimental composition for string quartet wherein unison transformation with smooth as opposed to striated movement through the continuum of pitch and rhythmic space (characteristics abstracted from unison speech) provide further detailed research into effects of consonance and dissonance, both tonal and cognitive.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rosenblum, Mathew
Commitee: Moe, Eric, Root, Deane, Scott, William, Williams, Amy
School: University of Pittsburgh
Department: Music
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 76/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Music
Keywords: Ablinger, Peter, Angela Davis, LaBelle, Brandon, Music and protest, Occupy Wall Street, Original composition, People's Microphone, Sound art, String quartet
Publication Number: 3582734
ISBN: 9781321210606
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