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The music of Scott Walker (b. Noel Scott Engel, January 9, 1943) continues to influence multiple generations of respected figures in popular music from David Bowie to Radiohead, yet Walker has not set foot on stage to perform since the 1970s. Instead, the singer-songwriter-producer's latter-day reputation has instead thrived upon the basis of his recorded works. Following a radical self re-invention on the Walker Brothers' farewell album Nite Flights (1978) Walker has pushed the boundaries of his chosen media to the extent that his recorded tracks belong more to the aesthetic sphere of fixed art forms such as films rather than performance-oriented forms such as music as it is traditionally categorized among the liberal arts. In the same manner that Sergei Eisenstein and Orson Welles abandoned the rules of theatrical formalism to create works native to the cinematic medium itself, Walker has likewise approached his work in recording studios as a Phonographic Auteur. To abstract Walker's works by discussing them as "songs" detached from their recorded "track" form would be as detrimental to their analysis as would the discussion of Citizen Kane outside of the form language of the cinema. As deconstructions of the binary opposition between track and song the problems surrounding the analysis of Walker's post-1978 works are largely those confronting the analysis of Euro-American popular music that arise from its troublesome relationship with the recorded format. Further, Walker's career evidences how a number of artists in Euro-american contexts have come to regard the recorded, studio intensive format of music as a solution to the problems they are confronted within the the modern public concert spectacle. In doing so these individuals have given birth to a burgeoning autonomous art form, and by extension, a new model of the composer-listener-performer dynamic.
Phongraphic Auteur, Phonomusicology, Popular Music Analysis, Recorded Music, Scott Walker, The Walker Brothers
Date of Defense
April 4, 2013.
A Thesis submitted to the College of Music in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts.
Includes bibliographical references.
Kimberly VanWeelden, Professor Directing Thesis; Jane Clendinning, Professor Co-Directing Thesis; Frank Gunderson, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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