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    The Macropolitics of Microsound: Gender and sexual identities in Barry Truax’s Song of Songs

    Sofer, Danielle (2018) The Macropolitics of Microsound: Gender and sexual identities in Barry Truax’s Song of Songs. Organised Sound, 23 (1). pp. 1-11. ISSN 1355-7718

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    This analysis explores how Barry Truax’s Song of Songs (1992) for oboe d’amore, English horn and two digital soundtracks reorients prevailing norms of sexuality by playing with musical associations and aural conventions of how gender sounds. The work sets the erotic dialogue between King Solomon and Shulamite from the biblical Song of Solomon text. On the soundtracks we hear a Christian monk’s song, environmental sounds (birds, cicadas and bells), and two speakers who recite the biblical text in its entirety preserving the gendered pronouns of the original. By attending to established gender norms, Truax confirms the identity of each speaker, such that the speakers seemingly address one another as a duet, but the woman also addresses a female lover and the man a male. These gender categories are then progressively blurred with granular time-stretching and harmonisation (which transform the timbre of the voices), techniques that, together, resituate the presumed heteronormative text within a diverse constellation of possible sexual orientations.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Macropolitics; Microsound; Gender; sexual identities; Barry Truax; Song of Songs;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Music
    Item ID: 16101
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Dr Danielle Sofer
    Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2022 15:12
    Journal or Publication Title: Organised Sound
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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