Karishmeh Felfeli-Crawford, Music Analysis: Erasure (1985-2020) and Beyond (PhD, University College Cork, 2021)

These details defined Tue May 5 20:23:18 2020, last updated Thu Aug 5 12:54:42 2021  edit
 Author:  Felfeli-Crawford, Karishmeh 
 Title:  Music Analysis: Erasure (1985-2020) and Beyond  
 Degree, institution:  PhD, University College Cork 
 Status, year:  accepted, 2021 
 Volumes, pp., etc.:  238 pages, 80000 words 
 Supervisor(s):  Jonathan P.J. Stock and Alexander Khalil 
 General specialism:  Musicology: Analysis 
 Content, timeframe:  2015-2021 
 Content, key terms:  Concepts:
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Music Analysis, Erasure, Popular Music, Ethnography, English Language Musical Criticism
Vince Clarke and Andy Bell
UK, US, Canada, India, Pakistan, Ireland
University College Cork
Popular Music, Western art music, Indo-Pakistani Popular Music, Piano Performance, Music Theory
 Summary (provisional):  This thesis considers the practice of music analysis as it pertains to various popular musics outside the classical canon. Starting with an analysis of Indian fusion rock song Kandisa, by Indian Ocean, the author demonstrates a methodology rooted in traditional transcription and analysis (in Western notation, and via voice-leading graphs). Her subject position – an Indian ethnomusicologist and analyst in Ireland – allows her to consider tonality through the lens of decolonisation debates and literature, by first focusing on a case-study from “her” home culture India. In chapter two, the scope of the thesis widens to incorporate an idiosyncratic and eclectic engagement with literature on (Western) popular music analysis, via a survey of texts, debates and arguments that have helped shape the field. By again reminding the reader of her subject position (BBIPOC; non-elite, Western, educated, democratic, Indian scholar of “Western” tonal music), the author sets the stage for the main act of the thesis: a study of Vince Clarke and Andy Bell’s synthpop band Erasure, spanning approximately the thirty-year period outlined in the literature review. In chapter three, the author presents an ethnographic reading of Erasure that is sensitive to the culture-bearers’ own competencies, musical abilities, ideas, and reflections, captured via in-depth interviews with Clarke and Bell, and musicians who've worked with them, or have been inspired by them. These interviews are analysed and interpreted through ideas and frameworks provided by Aaron A. Fox in his seminal text “Real Country” (Fox 2004). In chapter four, a large number of Erasure songs (all composed and performed by Vince Clarke and Andy Bell) are presented in a language of popular criticism, that can be understood by readers of varied musical backgrounds: the band members, the music academics, the Erasure fans. While there is some re-engagement with score-based techniques of chapter one, the author presents fertile new ground from which to study Erasure's popular music that has suffered neglect in music academia, by demonstrating how the English language (minus too much technological or graphic representation) can be a viable means for (BBIPOC) music analysis of Clarke and Bell's work, since it is also the national language of India, and the language of academic musicology in Ireland, where she is based. The anti-elitist approach to music analysis does not only pay lip service to the idea of diversity, accessibility and inclusion, to say nothing of anti-racist, decolonial strategies themselves. Rather, it advances the idea that the serious study of popular music, and living musicians, is essential to a wider understanding and acceptance of many different cultures more generally – for example, LGBTQ, mixed-race, working-class, anti-ageist, anti-ableist, to name a few. Ultimately, the thesis advances ethnographically-nuanced “music analysis” as a way of proving that ‘musical art — is not an exceptional domain of culture; it is the very heart of culture’ (Fox 2004: 17).
 Related publications:  https://doi.org/10.35561/JSMI14198