Everyday reveries: recorded music, memory & emotion
Moorey, G. (2011) Everyday reveries: recorded music, memory & emotion. PhD, University of the West of England.
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This thesis investigates recorded music in everyday life and its relationship to memory. It does this by establishing the social and historical context in which sound recording was invented and developed, and by formulating a theory of how recorded music signifies. It argues that musical recordings do not simply facilitate remembering but are equally bound up with processes of forgetting. Each chapter of the thesis examines a different aspect of the relationship between recorded music and memory. Chapter one analyses the origins of sound recording and charts its subsequent development in terms of a continuum between social and solitary listening. Chapter two interrogates common assumptions about what is meant by the ‘everyday’, and argues that music in everyday life tends to be consumed and remembered in fragmentary form. Chapter three investigates the significance of, and reasons for, involuntary musical memories. Chapter four analyses the relationship between recorded music and nostalgia. Chapter five examines recorded music’s role in pleasurable forms of forgetting or self-oblivion. Chapter six is a summation of the whole thesis, arguing that recorded music in everyday life contains utopian traces which, when reflected upon, yield insights into the nature of social reality. The thesis also contains two ‘interludes’ that deal with pertinent theoretical issues in the field of cultural studies. The first of these interludes argues that Peircean semiotics is better suited to the task of analysing music than Saussurean semiology and that, furthermore, it is able to contribute to the emerging field of affect theory. The second interlude continues this analysis by arguing that mimesis or creative imitation should become a key concept in cultural studies.
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