Timbre as Differentiation in Indie Music

Blake, David K.
June 2012
Music Theory Online;Jun2012, Vol. 18 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
The divide between "independent" and "mainstream" crucial to popular music discourses of the past twenty years has garnered scholarly attention from cultural studies and sociology, but not from music theorists. This paper argues that timbre, more than any other musical parameter, musically expresses differentiation from mainstream sounds in indie music. Phenomenological theories of Merleau-Ponty and Edward Casey are used to proffer a methodology of timbral analysis premised on contextually meaningful, complementarily perceived adjectives. Three case studies examining music of My Bloody Valentine, Neutral Milk Hotel, and the Shins exemplify this analytic framework.


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