Stitching: Orality, Literacy, and Music.

O'Halloran, Sarah, Music - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Burtner, Christopher, Department of Music, University of Virginia

Early writings about the phonograph show a longing for the intimacy and presence associated with orality. But the longing for orality is not simply a historical phenomenon, recent writings about literature show an interest in immediate, communal outward-looking verbal art. In recent decades audio books have become big business, live storytelling events take place at venues around the country, and narrative radio is undergoing a renaissance. Twentieth and twenty-first century composers have engaged deeply with the creative possibility of speech, combining it with music to create innovative and compelling verbal art, that takes place in time and acoustic space, rather than on the silent printed page. In this dissertation I explore the combination of music and words through composition. And I use Walter J. Ong’s theories of orality and literacy to reflect on my work, and to analyze music by Frederic Rzewski, Shelley Hirsch, Meira Asher, and myself.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Music, Composition, Orality, Literacy, Ong, Meira Asher, Shelley Hirsch, Sarah O'Halloran, Frederic Rzewski, Experimental Music, Words and Music, Text and music, Orality and Literacy, Music and Literature, Music and War

Recordings and videos of Sarah O'Halloran's compositions are available at her site

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