The musicking voice : performance, affect and listening

Kobel, Malte (2022) The musicking voice : performance, affect and listening. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


The aim of this thesis is to develop a theory of the musicking voice. The voice has been studied extensively in musicology, philosophy, literary, media and sound studies. Most often, however, voice is equated with the speaking voice. Arguably, the voice engaged in musical activity differs from the speaking voice; but a specific musical mode of voicing has often been neglected in theories of voice. The main questions is: What is the musicking voice? I answer this question theoretically and from an interdisciplinary perspective: bridging musicology, sound studies, media studies, performance studies and philosophy. My particular methods stem from theories of deconstruction, affect and performance. I analyse several case studies of singing voices in order to theorise the specific performative and affective constitution of the musicking voice – ranging from different popular traditions (Howlin’ Wolf, Ella Fitzgerald, Kate Bush) and experimental musics (Joan La Barbara, Annette Peacock, Scott Walker, Leon Thomas) to Renaissance choral music (Josquin des Prez). The analyses are guided by a close listening to the musicking voice. These detailed discussions show the voice as a musicking force that is both material and immaterial, object and subject. In music, the voice becomes an impersonal musicking force. As such, this voice cannot be reduced to language, body, sound or subjectivity. It cannot simply be approached through vocal ontology, either. Instead, I argue that the musicking voice must be approached from a vocal ontology and a listening phenomenology. The musicking voice only comes into being by way of a relation to a listener. In this relation, it manifests as a musical entity in its own right. The theory of the musicking voice brings a specific musicological perspective and musico-epistemological problem to the current fields of voice studies, sound studies and philosophies of voice and music.

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page