Queering Ambient Performance: Prototyping the Digital Tableau Vivant

Yesterday I gave a peformance paper at the Slow Media Conference held at Corsham Court, Bath Spa University. Below is my video presentation and paper. The video (A Garland of Beauty, 2015) is a test piece that exploits digital technologies to expand the remit of the dramatic tableau (as defined by Denis Diderot). Through a reperformed and slowed down version of Judy Garland’s performance of I Could Go on Singing (from the film of the same name), this work seeks to challenge heteronormative understandings of digital and physical space. Referencing the work the of Bill Viola and David Michalek, this film and dance seeks to challenge our concept of space and of place drawing on notions of the uncanny and the queer. Slow motion is used, in particular, to intensify this effect and focus the viewer on small-scale details and immerse them in the emotional and political contents of the picture, whilst also creating a sense of unease.

But, little one, your grief is very profound, and very thoughtful! Why this dreamy, melancholy air? What, all for this bird? You’re not crying, but you’re distressed, and there’s a thought behind your distress[…] That morning, alas, your mother was out; he came, you were alone; he was so handsome, so passionate, so tender, so charming, there was such love in his eyes, such truth in his expression! He said things which went straight to your heart![1]

In his review of Jean-Baptiste Greuze’s painting Girl Weeping for Her Dead Bird (which was exhibited at 1765 Salons in Paris) Denis Diderot attempts to bridge the gap between object and viewer by exploring the narrative potential of Greuze’s

Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Girl Weeping for Her Dead Bird (Oil on Canvas, 53.50 x 46.00, Edinburgh National Gallery)

Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Girl Weeping for Her Dead Bird (Oil on Canvas, 53.50 x 46.00, Edinburgh National Gallery)

painting.[2] It is the girl’s trance-like state that seems to instigate Diderot’s reading of the work. It offers Diderot the opportunity to participate in the painting’s narrative, as if he were another character standing next to the girl in the room. Diderot’s reaction to Greuze’s painting aligns closely with his thoughts on theatre and, in particular, his notion of the dramatic tableau. According to Diderot, stage drama could learn much from painting.[3] 

Contrasting the effect of pictorial tableaux with that of the coup de théâtre, Diderot states:

An unforeseen incident which takes place in the action and abruptly changes the situation is a coup de théâtre. An arrangement of these characters on stage, so natural and so true that, faithfully rendered by a painter, it would please me on a canvas, is a tableau.[4] 

He goes on to say that ‘if a dramatic work were well made and well performed the stage would offer the spectator as many real tableaux as the action would contain moments suitable for painting.’[5] In short, Diderot perceives good drama to consist of a series of painted (emotional) moments, rather than a continuous flow of abrupt actions and events.

This is not to say that dramatic action is suspended in these tableaux, but that the focus of the drama lies less with the characters’ actions and more with their emotional states. Indeed, although these tableaux are intended to present to the spectator a dramatic moment suspended in time, Diderot also thought of them as host to a latent kinetic energy.

One of Diderot’s most interesting examples of a situation that could be used as a dramatic tableau comes from Euripides’ Iphigeneia in Aulis. As he says:

Can there be anything more passionate than the behaviour of a mother whose daughter is being sacrificed? Let her rush on to the stage like a woman possessed or deranged; let her fill the place with cries; let even her clothes reveal her disorder: all these things are appropriate to her despair. If the mother of Iphigeneia showed herself for one moment to be the Queen of Argos or the wife of the Greek general, she would only seem to be the lowest of creatures. The true dignity which seizes my attention and overwhelms me is the tableau of maternal love in all its truth.[6] 

Diderot’s description of this scene expands the dramatic moment, focusing the reader, in particular, on the emotional aspect of the situation.

Michael Hays has argued that the focus upon emotion is a common feature of Diderot’s literary works, stating that ‘in his plays Diderot focuses on a category of feelings, not on action, and the formal homologue to this turning away from action towards situation is found in Diderot’s interest in the tableau’.[7] What is particularly interesting about Diderot’s description of the scene from the Iphigenia myth described above is that he reduces Clytemnestra’s regal status to that of a domestic mother; her emotional situation causes her to forget the fact she is royalty and the wife of Agamemnon. There are no intricate verses here in Diderot’s tableau, but inarticulate cries and gestures. In this scene Clytemnestra is completely enveloped in the situation; her emotion results solely from maternal instincts. Despite the status of the characters in this scene, the emotions portrayed can be said to be entirely domestic.

Diderot’s notion of dramatic tableaux is based on the idea that dramatic action should focus upon the representation of an intense situation that completely envelops the characters on stage. For a tableau to be truly effective, however, the characters must be unaware of their surroundings and absorbed completely by the emotional situation in which they are placed. The idea of absorption and Diderot’s focus upon absorptive situations and activities in his works is something that art historia Michael Fried argues is also a feature of eighteenth-century French painting.[8] He posits that from around the middle of the century there is growing interest in depicting subjects involved in absorptive actions, such as reading, writing, and thinking. The subjects, according to Fried, are so engaged in their activities and/or mental states that they are unaware that they are the object of someone’s gaze, whether it is that of the viewer or another character in the picture.

Fried sees the focus on absorptive states as contrasting with previous approaches to painting that, more often than not, feature characters that look outside the frame and towards the viewer, or consist of a number of characters that are unaware of the action that is taking place elsewhere in the frame. In Fried’s opinion, paintings that depict absorptive activities are paradoxical in nature; while the viewer is drawn into the painting, seized by the character’s intense state of absorption, they are also excluded, the character being unaware that they are the object of someone’s gaze. In short, a distance is created between the drama and events portrayed in the picture and the viewer.

Diderot’s interest in Greuze’s painting, therefore, lies not just with the girl absorptive mental state, but also with the fact that her deep introspection provides the work a narrative potential – a latent kinetic energy – that opens up an emotional tableau which Diderot is then able to explore. Indeed, in his narrative he speaks of events outside the temporal frame of the painting and of emotions both past and present. It is the girl’s absorptive melancholy state that allows Diderot to penetrate this painting and explore the emotional space of the tableau. Had the painting lacked the apparent introspection, the emotional space in which Diderot wanders would have been limited.


In A Garland of Beauty, I use digital technologies to expand the remit of the dramatic tableau through a reperformed and slowed down version of Judy Garland’s performance of I Could Go on Singing from the film of the same name.

Referencing the work the of Bill Viola and David Michalek, this film and dance seeks to challenge our concept of space and of place, using slow motion in particular as a way in which to focus the viewer on small-scale details and immerse them in the emotional and political contents of the picture.

Viola’s quintet explores grief, personal suffering, and bereavement focusing on the unfolding expressions of five actors in slow motion.

Michalek’s Portraits in Dramatic Time similarly harnesses slow motion capture. According to Michalek: “The cameras were fixed, and the live action was recorded for duration of 10 – 15 seconds depending on the scene. Within these constraints, dramatic narratives were condensed down to an essence, [with] Each scene-sequence of drama was crafted to provide a physical metaphor for an emotional condition.”

Rather than pitting analogue and digital technologies against one another, each of these performances use digital technology to focus the viewer’s attention and engage them in a slower process of spectatorship, inverting the more common definition of slow media.

In A Garland of Beauty, the relationship between slow and fast and analogue and digital is complicated through queer performance. By reinscribing Judy Garland’s performance on the male body, the screendance not only queers the Garland original but perceptions of digital and physical spaces and well as private and public spaces. Indeed, A Garland of Beauty activates a new understanding of LGBTQ identity by blurring the personal and the political through the public sharing of the home movie. As Christopher Pullen states in his work on gay identity and new storytelling, “the emerging context of “online” new media, and its potential to bring audiences together, [provides] new connectivities for emerging self-reflexive [and LGBTQ] storytellers”.[9] 

This film attempts to articulate some of the dichotomies that surround discussions of slow media and digital storytelling. The next phase of this project will consist of a series of re-performances of the Garland number in a range of different spaces, particularly those that have heteronormative or masculine associations. The aim here is to blur the boundaries between both the physical and the digital and between the heteronormative and the queer.


[1] ‘La jolie élégie! Le charmant poème!…Mais, petite, votre douleur est bien profonde, bien réfléchie! Que signifie cet air rêveur et mélancolique! Quoi! pour un oiseau! Vous ne pleurez pas, vous êtes affligée; et la pensée accompagne votre affliction[…] Ce matin-là, par malheur votre mère était absente. Il vint; vous étiez seule: il était si beau, si passionné, si tender, si charmant! il avait tant d’amour dans les yeux! tant de vérité dans les expressions! il desait de ces mots qui vont si droit à l’âme!’ In Denis Diderot, Œuvres Esthétiques de Diderot, ed. Paul Vernière (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 1994), p.533-534, translated in Denis Diderot, Selected Writings on Art and Literature, translated with an introduction and notes by Geoffrey Bremner (London: Penguin Books, 1994), p. 236-237.

[2] See Denis Diderot, Œuvres Esthétiques de Diderot, ed. Paul Vernière (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 1994) p. 533-537, translated in Denis Diderot, Selected Writings on Art and Literature, translated with an introduction and notes by Geoffrey Bremner (London: Penguin Books, 1994), p. 236-240.

[3] On Diderot’s theory of the dramatic tableau see Daniel Brewer, The Discourse of Enlightenment in Eighteenth-Century France:  Diderot and the Art of Philosophizing (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), Jay Caplan, Framed Narratives: Diderot’s Genealogy of the Beholder, Theory and History of Literature, Vol. 19 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1985), Tili Boon Cuillé, Narrative Interludes: Musical Tableaux in Eighteenth-Century Texts (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006), Jack Undank and Herbert Josephs, ed., Diderot Digression and Dispersion: A Bicentenial Tribute (Lexington, Kentucky: French Forum Publishers, 1984) and Peter Szondi, ‘Tableau and Coup de Théâtre: On the Social Psychology of Diderot’s Bourgeois Tragedy’, New Literary History, Vol. 11, No. 2 (1980), p. 323-343.

[4] ‘Un incident imprévu qui se passe en action, et qui change subitement l’état des personages, est un coup de théâtre. Une disposition de ce personages sur la scène, si naturelle et si vraie, que, rendue fidèlement par un peintre, elle me plairait sur la toile, est un tableau’. In Denis Diderot, Œuvres Esthétiques de Diderot, ed. Paul Vernière (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 1994), p. 88, translated in Denis Diderot, Selected Writings on Art and Literature, translated with an introduction and notes by Geoffrey Bremner (London: Penguin Books, 1994), p. 12.

[5] ‘Je pense, pour moi, que si un ouvrage dramatique était bien fait et bien représenté, la scène offrirait au spectateur autant de tableaux réels qu’il y aurait dans l’action de moments favorables au peintre’. In Denis Diderot, Œuvres Esthétiques de Diderot, ed. Paul Vernière (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 1994), p. 90, translated in Denis Diderot, Selected Writings on Art and Literature, translated with an introduction and notes by Geoffrey Bremner (London: Penguin Books, 1994), p. 13.

[6] ‘Quoi donc, pourrait-il y avoir rien de trop véhément dans l’action d’une mère don’t on immole la fille? Qu’elle coure sur la scène comme une femme furieuse ou troublée; qu’elle remplisse de cris son palais; que le désordre ait passé jusque dans ses vêtements, ces choses conviennent à son désespoir. Si la mère d’Iphigénie se montrait un moment reine d’Argos et femme du général des Grecs, elle ne me paraîtrait que la dernière des créatures. La véritable dignité, celle qui me frappe, qui me renverse, c’est le tableau de l’amour maternel dans toute sa vérité’. In Denis Diderot, Œuvres Esthétiques de Diderot, ed. Paul Vernière (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 1994), p. 90-91, translated in Denis Diderot, Selected Writings on Art and Literature, translated with an introduction and notes by Geoffrey Bremner (London: Penguin Books, 1994) p. 13.

[7] Michael Hays, ‘Drama and Dramatic Theory: Peter Szondi and the Modern Theatre’, bondary 2, Vol. 11, No. 3 (1983), p. 73.

[8] Michael Fried, Absorption and Theatricality: Painting and Beholder in the Age of Diderot (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1980).

[9] Christopher Pullen, Gay Identity, New Storytelling and the Media (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), p. 231.

“I’m Always Chasing Rainbows”: a Dystopia Dialogue with Judy Garland

I recently returned from the conference The Wizard of Oz and the Cultural Imagination which was held at the University of Brighton, 21-22 November 2013. It was an interdisciplinary conference with a wide array of papers. For the conference, I decided to give a performative paper – my first. Was quite nervewraking, but got some great reactions and feedback so I thought I’d share a mobile video of the performance and the slides. It gives an idea of the presentation, but perhaps not the feeling. I welcome any comments, reactions, and thoughts.

The Birth of the “Dramatic” Overture in the Eighteenth Century

Last December, I had an article published in the National Opera Association of America’s Opera JournalThe article looks at the birth of the dramatic overture in the eighteenth century. I have included the pre-print version of the article below and you can download a PDF of the article from academia.edu

Suggested Citation: Kieran Fenby-Hulse, ‘The Birth of the “Dramatic” Overture in the Eighteenth Century’, The Opera Journal, Vol. XLVI, No. 4 (2013), p. 3-24.

The Birth of the “Dramatic” Overture in the Eighteenth Century

The dedicatory preface to Christoph Willibald von Gluck’s Alceste (1767) has been much discussed, especially in relation to Gluck’s so-called reform operas.[1] An aspect of the preface that is frequently overlooked, though, is a comment concerning the overture. The preface states that ‘the [introductory] sinfonia should inform the spectators of the subject that is to be enacted, and constitute, as it were, the argument’.[2] Gluck’s statement has potential implications not only for the study of opera and opera overtures, but also for the study of eighteenth-century instrumental music, as the preface confronts us with the notion that music has the potential to communicate literary ideas. This article locates Gluck’s comments within a broader eighteenth-century theoretical and aesthetic context and examines what Gluck may have meant by the word ‘argument’.[3]

Although the preface seems to demarcate a caesura in the history of the overture, this is not actually the case; the preface is only one of a number of theoretical writings written during the eighteenth century that suggested the overture should take on a more dramatic function. Johann Adolph Scheibe is perhaps the first to put forward the idea of a “dramatic” overture. In an article published some thirty years earlier for his weekly journal, The Critical Musician (Der Critische Musikus, 1737-1740), Scheibe states that:[4]

All symphonies that are composed for a play should concern themselves primarily with its content and nature. Necessarily therefore, different types of symphony are appropriate for tragedies than as for light-hearted or comedic pieces. The music which is appropriate for tragedy must be different to that appropriate for comedy as the two genres are from each other. In particular, one must ensure that each section of the music fits each individual section of the play. The opening symphony must complement the first scene of the play, therefore, but by the same token, the symphonies which occur in between the various scenes must complement both the end of the preceding scene and the beginning of the following.<[5]

Although Scheibe uses the term ‘symphony’ to refer to any instrumental music used within a play, he does note there is a difference between symphonies that open a drama and those that occur between the acts. On the opening symphony, in particular, he states that it should prepare the spectator for the drama of the opening scene.

Scheibe’s most intriguing remark, though, concerns a composer’s understanding of the literary drama for which the accompanying music is intended:

Concerning the dramas, a composer must fundamentally understand not only how they are constructed but also how each drama differs from another. He must also know exactly the individual and innate character of each type of play, so that he can differentiate between them, each by its own characteristics, by its own content, by its sections and all the other contributory factors.[6]

He argues that composers should have an understanding of the literary work and that the nature and design of that work should inform, and perhaps even determine, the character and structure of the overture and entr’acte. In short, Scheibe draws a direct connection between the narrative of the literary drama and the structure and content of the musical work.

Scheibe’s comments on the overture were echoed throughout the eighteenth century by a variety of different theorists from all over Europe. (The preface to Alceste is, in a way, an extension of Scheibe’s original theory). Johann Joachim Quantz’s Essay on a Method for Playing the Traverse Flute (Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen, 1752) is one such example, in which Quantz claims that ‘a sinfonia should have some connection with the content of the opera, or at least with its first scene, and should not always conclude with a gay minuet, as it usually does’.[7] Although adding the caveat that drama is too various to provide a definitive model for the dramatic overture, Quantz then goes on to explore how a composer might achieve this effect. Questioning whether an opening sinfonia necessarily requires three movements, he considers whether, in some cases, it would be more suitable for the sinfonia to end with the first or second movement. He writes:

For example, if the first scene were to contain heroic or other fiery passions, the sinfonia could conclude after the first movement. If melancholy or amorous sentiments occur in the scene, the composer could stop with the second movement. And if the first scene contains no marked sentiments, or if these appear only in the course of the opera or at its end, he could conclude with the third movement of the sinfonia. In this fashion the composer could adjust each movement to the situation, and the sinfonia would still retain its usefulness for other purposes.[8] For Quantz, the traditional three-part structure of the opening sinfonia should be adapted to suit the nature of the drama it introduces and, in particular, the dramatic action of the opening scene.

Francesco Algarotti’s comments on the overture take the ideas of Scheibe and Quantz a step further, and his theory can be said to directly anticipate Gluck’s statement about the overture in the preface to Alceste. In his Essay on Opera (Saggio sopra l’opera in musica, 1755), Algarotti states that ‘the main drift of an overture should be to announce in a certain manner the action of the drama, and consequently prepare the audience to receive those affecting impressions that are to result from the whole of the performance’.[9] Algarotti, while stating that the overture should focus upon the drama’s affecting impressions, also suggests that it should prepare the listener for the action of the drama, implying that, like the preface, it is possible for the overture to host a kind of dramatic argument. Unlike Quantz, though, Algarotti does not go into any detail as to how a composer might achieve this effect.

Perhaps the most informative commentator on the dramatic potential of the overture is Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, as his writings address how an overture can prepare spectators for the ensuing drama. In his review of Voltaire’s Semiramis, which followed a performance of the play at the Hamburg Theatre in 1767, Lessing discusses the incidental music that was provided by Johann Friedrich Agricola. Lessing states that an ‘overture must only indicate the general tendency of the play and not more strongly or decidedly than the title does. We may show the spectator the goal which he is to attain, but the various paths by which he is to attain it, must be entirely hidden from him’.[10] Lessing was familiar with Scheibe’s writings and, in fact, quotes several extensive passages from Scheibe’s essay in his review. While agreeing with Scheibe that the overture should hint at the nature of the drama, he stresses that the overture should avoid revealing to the spectator how the drama is to unravel. Lessing argues that the overture should be limited to providing an outline of the general mood of the play or opera, so as not to weaken the effect of the drama to follow. What is significant about this review is that Lessing then goes on to provide a description of Agricola’s overture and highlight what he thought the overture sought to express. He writes:

The opening symphony consists of three movements. The first movement is a largo with oboes and flutes beside violins; the bass part is strengthened by bassoons. The expression is serious, sometimes wild and agitated; the listener is to expect a drama of this nature. But not of this nature only; tenderness, remorse, conscience, humility play their parts also, and the second movement an andante with muted violins and bassoons, is occupied with mysterious and plaintive tones. In the third movement the emotional and the stately tones are mingled, for the scene opens with unusual splendour; Semiramis is approaching the term of her glory and as this glory strikes the eye, so the ear must also perceive it.[11] 

For Lessing, Agricola’s multi-movement overture conveys an array of moods and sentiments, each of which he claims corresponds to a different emotional aspect of Voltaire’s play. Interestingly, his reading of Agricola’s overture seems to overstep his own theoretical assessment of what an overture should and should not do. According to Lessing, the overture not only outlines the general tendency of the play, but also provides a musical exploration of the different and contrasting moods that are to appear later in Voltaire’s play. As Agricola’s incidental music is lost we cannot probe Lessing’s comments any further and assess whether the overture’s series of musical images can be said to constitute an argument that parallels that of the play it introduces. His review, though, remains important as it provides an insight into how overtures were perceived to function in the latter half of the eighteenth century and their relationship to the dramas they introduced.

The musicologist Reinhard Strohm has suggested that the term ‘argomento’ employed in Gluck’s preface carried a particular connotation during the eighteenth century and referred to a type of printed introduction that was commonly handed out before the performance of a play or opera. As he states:

The term ‘argument’ was, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, familiar to theatregoers as a printed introduction to the subject matter of a drama or opera libretto. It was not a preface, nor necessarily a synopsis of the plot; more often the author concentrated on the prehistory of the action in order to prepare the spectator for basic conflicts and constellations between characters. Rarely did and argomento give away the turning points of the dramatic intrigue.[12]

Strohm’s reading of this term, and of Gluck’s preface, suggests that he understands the overture (and in particular the overture to Alceste) to familiarise the listener with the prehistory of the drama and with the basic ‘conflicts and constellations’ that exist between the main characters. Strohm’s theory is backed up to some extent by Bernard Germain Lacépède near contemporary treatise, The Poetics of Music (La Poétique de la musique, 1785).[13] In his discussion of the overture, Lacépède claims that the best type of overture is one that reveals to the spectator the prehistory of the plot.[14] While Strohm’s definition of ‘argument’ is certainly convincing from a linguistic perspective, his reading of the preface seems to jar with the aforementioned theoretical writings, which all refer to the overture preparing the listener for what is to follow and not what has happened. In fact, the preface is the only theoretical writing to use the term argomento. And while Lacépède does state that there are overtures that present the listener with a prehistory of the opera, he also discusses several other types of overture: those that present a condensed portrait of the entire piece (although these detract from the impact of the opera); those which prepare the listener for the main sentiments of the opera (although not necessarily in all their detail); and those that anticipate the drama’s overall mood.[15]

Despite the differences in their approach and terminology, the writings of Algarotti, Lacépède, Lessing and Quantz all agree one point: that the overture has the capacity to prepare listeners for the drama of the opera, implying, therefore, that music has the potential to communicate a literary idea. To propose that an eighteenth-century overture takes on a dramatic function that, in a way, parallels literary poetic modes may seem like a large claim – especially in view of the fact that instrumental music is thought to have only taken on overtly dramatic features in the nineteenth century. This assertion, however, is not actually that far-fetched when evaluated against a broader backdrop of eighteenth-century aesthetics.

Throughout the eighteenth century, debates raged on the expressive capacity of music. Two questions lay at the heart of these debates: the first was whether words were necessary for music to be understood, and the second was whether music could be used effectively to heighten the effect of a literary drama or text.[16] The debates arose out of, and were a reaction to, the severe criticism that opera and instrumental music had suffered at the hands of neoclassical critics during the first few decades of the eighteenth century (criticism that persisted throughout the century).

Johann Jakob Bodmer, Johann Jakob Breitinger, Johann Christoph Gottsched, and Noel Antoine Pluche were some of music’s main opponents.[17] In his Attempt at the Criticism of Poetry (Versuch Einer Critischen Dichtkunst, 1730), Gottsched, for instance, stated that ‘the opera is merely a production for the senses: the understanding and the heart get nothing out of it. Only the eyes are blinded; only the ear is tickled and stunned: reason however must be left at home, when one goes to the opera’.[18] In Gottsched’s opinion, music clouded the clarity of the text and was a superfluous element that simply hindered the effect of the dramatic action, a view of music still held at the end of the century by Immanuel Kant, who understood music to be an art form that occupied the senses, but lacked any serious moral message.[19] Thought to be unable to communicate an intelligible and moral message to the listener, music was rendered nothing more than a frivolous form of entertainment.

The aforementioned music theorists challenged directly this way of thinking, thereby forming part of a much wider theoretical and philosophical circle that sought to explain and rationalise the expressive capacity of music. Perhaps the earliest and most important text to address this was the second edition of Jean-Baptiste Dubos’ Critical Reflections on Poetry, Painting, and Music (Réflexions critques sur la poésie, la peinture et la musique, 1733).[20] According to Dubos, music was able to portray sentiments and passions by imitating ‘the tones, accents, sighs, inflections of the voice – in short, all those sounds with which nature itself expresses its sentiments and passions’.[21] For Dubos, therefore, music functioned expressively, through the imitation of the sounds of Man in the throes of passion.

Although more restrained in his understanding of music’s communicative abilities, Herder wrote a number of essays that explored music’s expressive potential. In his imaginative and poetic essay Does Painting or Music Have a Greater Effect? (Ob Malerei oder Tonkunst eine grössere Wirkung gewähre?, 1778-1779), the three muses – Poetry, Painting, and Music – battle it out for the title of the most powerful and expressive art. [22] Quite intentionally, the debate does not reach a conclusion. The exchange, though, raises a whole host of aesthetic issues concerning the expressive abilities and limitations of each art form. While music is praised for its depth and ability to move its listener, it is criticised by Painting because of its ‘confused tongue of half-sensations’.[23] This leads Poetry to assert that ‘without my words, song, dance, and other actions, the sensations you awaken in man will always be obscure’.[24] For Herder, music’s power lay in its ability to affect the passions of the listener; its weakness, though, was that it lacked clarity and required poetry in order for it to be fully understood. As he concludes, ‘you [Music] stir the feelings and the passions, though in an obscure manner, and require a guide, an elucidator, who will at least enable you [Music] to have a more determinate effect on man’s understanding and delight not only his physical but also his moral sense’.[25] While Herder understood music to be expressive medium, he clearly felt that the exact nature of what was being expressed was not always apparent to the listener.

Instrumental music proved particularly problematic in this respect. As Noel Antoine Pluche states:

The most beautiful melody, when only instrumental, almost inevitably becomes cold, and then boring, because it expresses nothing. It is a fine suit of clothes separated from the body and hung on a peg; or if it has an air of life about it, it is at most like a marionette or mechanical doll.[26]

For Pluche, music was too artificial an artistic medium to imitate nature effectively, the unintelligible series of sounds failing to provide the listener with a moral or philosophical message. For Daniel Chua, the difficulty eighteenth-century listeners had in understanding eighteenth-century instrumental compositions was not the result of music having no meaning, but the result of the music having too much meaning. Chua claims that ‘the problem was not so much the lack of signification, but the uncontrollable polysemy of the new Italian music that seemingly fluttered from one mood to another without rhyme or reason; it made sense to the body as a kind of ear-tickling sensation but left the rational soul morally vacant’.[27]

These debates on music’s communicative ability inspired a fervent period of experimental composition that sought to tackle these issues head on. Dramatists, philosophers and musicians all began to engage in projects that probed the expressive nature of both music and words in an attempt to reconcile the expressive power of music with the clarity of the written text. Jean Jacques Rousseau’s development of the melodrama is indicative of this trend. By presenting music and spoken work in sequence (music sounding after the text has been spoken), Rousseau sought to bring together the expressive capacity of music with the clarity of the written word by giving each its own expressive space.[28] Rousseau’s experiments were subsequently taken up and developed by Georg Benda; his Ariadne auf Naxos (1775) and Medea (1775) had music underpin the spoken word as well provide a comment upon it.[29] His works were well received and are thought to have had a particularly profound impact upon the young Mozart.[30]

A notable increase in the writing of incidental music for plays to heighten to dramatic the narrative is also evident during the latter half of the eighteenth century.[31] Prolific playwrights such as Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Friedrich Schiller both employed music in their works to intensify the narratives of their dramas.[32] Goethe’s decision to incorporate music in his play Egmont is particularly interesting, as for the best part of the play the drama is intensely realistic. In the final scene, though, Goethe chooses to use music to depict a higher, spiritual realm. Music is used to expand the dramatic moment and to present Egmont’s idealised view of the world. Goethe’s understanding of music has often been devalued, which has resulted in the musical aspects of his works being sidelined or ignored by scholars. Goethe, though, perceived music to be a powerful artistic medium and, alongside Herder and Schiller, chose to write several opera libretti.[33]

Literary works such as the novel also began to employ musical episodes (or tableaux) in their narratives. Tili Boon Cuillé has observed, for example, that in the French novel musical performances are frequently described to help intensify the emotional and often sexual aspects of the narrative (a literary device also seen in E.T.A. Hoffman’s Don Juan of 1813).[34] As she states:

A musical tableau – or musical performance staged for a beholder inscribed within the text – is structured in accordance with the aesthetics of sight and sound and brings an extra dimension into play by foregrounding the catalytic role of music in the narrative and the emotional dynamic that the performance sets in motions between performer and beholder.[35] 

The development of what the author of the present article would like to call the “dramatic” overture offers up another example of this trend and is particularly interesting in this respect as it is not a combination of words and music, but of instrumental music and literary idea. Indeed, the literary narrative of the opera is only implicitly inscribed in the overture.[36] In the author’s view, the birth of the “dramatic” overture signals a particularly interesting moment in music history, as it provided composers with a fertile ground in which they could explore the relationship between music and drama, and perhaps also the opportunity to reassess and reformulate their approaches to instrumental music in general.

The two histories are, indeed, entwined, there being many instances where a symphony or symphonic movement was employed as an overture, and where an overture was performed as if a symphonic, concert work. The overture to Mozart’s opera La finta semplice, for instance, is a reworking of his Symphony in D, K. 45 (No.7); and his Symphony in D, K.161, K.163 (No. 50) is thought to have been first used as the introduction to his opera Il sogno di Scipione.[37] We also know that Mozart revised his Don Giovanni overture so that it could be performed in the concert hall, and that Beethoven struggled with the writing of his overture to Fidelio because he wanted it to function as an opera overture and as an independent concert piece.[38] Perhaps more pertinent is the recent suggestion that a number of Haydn’s so-called Sturm und Drang symphonies were originally conceived of as theatrical overtures.[39] This observation challenges our perception not just of Haydn’s Sturm und Drang symphonies, but also of our understanding of how the symphony evolved and developed and how approaches to operatic and symphonic composition may have informed one another.

This is not to say, though, that the overture and the symphony are one and the same. Indeed, towards the end of the century theorists began to more clearly delineate between the two types of composition. As Johann Georg Sulzer states in his General Theory of the Fine Arts (Allgemeine Theorie der schönen Künst, 1771-1774):

The symphony is excellently suited to expressions of grandeur, passion, and the sublime. Its purpose is to prepare the listener for profound music, or in a chamber concert, to offer a splendid display of instrumental music. If it is to be successful in the former goal, and an integral part of the opera or church music it precedes, it must express more than grandeur or passion; it must have a character that puts the listener into the mood of the following piece, and differentiate itself by the style that is appropriate for either the church or the theatre.

The chamber symphony, which constitutes a self-sufficient whole and is not dependent upon any subsequent music, achieves its aim with a sonorous, polished and brilliant style.[40]

Although the symphony and the overture are discussed under the same heading Symphonie, Sulzer clearly differentiates between the two, stating that an introductory symphony should be an integral part of the opera or church music it precedes, whereas the symphony can function as a self-sufficient whole. The suggestion that towards the close of the eighteenth century the two genres were moving in different directions is something that Neal Zaslaw touches on in his book on Mozart’s symphonies. Zaslaw states that there is a notable change in Mozart’s treatment of the overture from Idomeneo (1781) onwards, the overture being ‘the first of Mozart’s overtures that he did not (and perhaps could not) recycle as a concert symphony’.[41] For Zaslaw, this was no doubt because it was with the Idomeneo overture that Mozart first attempted to apply some of the then current theories that claimed that the overture should try to align itself more closely with the drama of the opera.

The complex relationship between the overture and the symphony could make for an interesting point of study, especially given the birth of the “dramatic” overture towards the middle of the eighteenth century. Although a number of studies have already considered the relationship between the music of the overture and the music of the opera in the eighteenth century, none have considered the nature of the relationship between the music of the overture and the literary narrative of the drama.[42] If the birth of “dramatic” overture represents a developing interest in bringing literary ideas and instrumental music into closer alignment, a study of the dramatic overture could potentially alter and inform our understanding not only of eighteenth-century opera, but also concert overtures, symphonic poems, and perhaps even symphonic music. Indeed, it should be remembered that a large number of what we understand to be concert overtures were actually conceived of as introductions to plays or much larger works. Beethoven’s Prometheus overture was intended to introduce a ballet and Die Ruinen von Athen; König Stephan and Die Weihe des Hauses were all introductions to stage works with accompanying incidental music; Mendelssohn’s Ruy Blas and Liszt’s Hamlet overtures were intended to introduce spoken plays; and even Liszt’s symphonic poem Les Préludes was written as an introduction to his large-scale choral work Les Quatre Elémens. By looking back to the writings of theorists such as Quantz, Lessing, and Scheibe and through an examination of the dramatic nature of overtures by composers such as Gluck, there is the potential for us to reassess the way in which we perceive overtures to function and reconsider the way in which musical and literary ideas might interrelate.


[1] The most important study in the English language of the ‘reform operas’ is Patricia Howard, Gluck and the Birth of Modern Opera (London: Barrie and Rockliff, 1963). Other significant contributions include: Bruce Alan Brown, Gluck and the French Theatre in Vienna (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), Daniel Heartz, “From Garrick to Gluck: The Reform of Theatre and Opera in the Mid-Eighteenth Century”, Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association, Vol. 94 (1976-1968), 111-127, Klaus Hortschansky, Christoph Willibald Gluck und die Opernreform (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1989) and Karl Geiringer, “Concepts of the Enlightenment as Reflected in Gluck’s Italian Reform Operas”, Studies in Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, Vol. 88 (1972), 567-576. Some have suggested that these operas do not, in fact, mark a significant change in the writing of opera, but are indicative of a general trend in the way composers and librettists were approaching operatic composition. See H. C. Robbins Landon, Essays on the Viennese Classical style: Gluck, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven (New York: Macmillan Co., 1970), 22-38, and Ernst Bücken, “Gluck”, in Die Musik des Rokokos und der Klassik (Wildpark-Potsdam: Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft Athenaion, 1929).

[2] Patricia Howard, Gluck: An Eighteenth-Century Portrait in Letters and Documents (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), 85. Although it is Gluck’s name that is attached to the preface, it was most probably written by, or alongside, his librettist Ranieri de Calzabigi.

[3] The research underpinning this article was supported by an Arts and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Study Grant (The “Dramatic” Overture and the Idea of Tragic Narrative, 2004)

[4] Johann Adolph Scheibe, Critischer Musikus (Hildesheim: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1970), 611-618.

[5] Ibid., 614 (by the author).

[6] Ibid., 614-615 (by the author).

[7] Johann Joachim Quantz, On Playing the Flute, a complete translation with an introduction and notes by Edward R. Reilly (London: Faber and Faber, 1966), 316.

[8] Ibid., 316.

[9] Francesco Algarotti, An Essay on Opera/Saggio sopra L’opera in Musica, anonymous English translation 1768; edited with notes and introduction by Robin Burgess (New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 2005), 20.

[10] Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Hamburg Dramaturgy, translated and with an introduction by Victor Lange (New York: Dover Publications, 1962), 74.

[11] Ibid., 73-74.

[12] Reinhard Strohm, Dramma per Musica: Italian Opera Seria of the Eighteenth Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997), 239.

[13] See Comte de Lacépède, La Poétique de la musique (Genève: Slatkine Reprints, 1970), Tome II, 1-38.

[14] See Basil Deane, “The French Operatic Overture from Grétry to Berlioz”, Proceedings of the Royal Music Association, Vol. 99, No.1 (1972), 68-69.

[15] One other alternative suggested by Lacépède is that the overture can be dispensed with altogether. Interestingly, Gluck in Iphigénie en Tauride chooses not to begin with an overture in the traditional manner, but with a musical storm that flows directly into the troubled events of the opening scene. On Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride overture see Howard, Gluck and the Birth of Modern Opera and Julian Rushton, “Iphigénie en Tauride: the operas of Gluck and Piccinni”, Music & Letters, Vol. 53, No. 4 (1972), 411-430.

[16] For an overview of eighteenth-century musical criticism and the perceived relationship between music and words see: Daniel K. L. Chua, Absolute Music and the Construction of Meaning (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), Carl Dahlhaus, The Idea of Absolute Music, translated by Roger Lustig (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), Gloria Flaherty, Opera in the Development of German Critical Thought (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978), Bellamy Hosler, Changing Aesthetic views on instrumental music in 18th Century Germany (Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI Research Press, 1981), John Neubauer, The Emancipation of Music from Language: Departure from Mimesis in Eighteenth-Century Aesthetics (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986), Cynthia Verba, Music and the French Enlightenment: Reconstructions of a Dialogue (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993) and John Warrack, German opera: From the Beginnings to Wagner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001). For an English translation of some of the more important writings accompanied by a brief discussion see: Enrico Fubini, ed., Music & Culture in Eighteenth-Century Europe: A Source Book (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1994).

[17] See, in particular, Johann Jakob Bodmer and Johann Jakob Breitinger, Die Discourse der Mahlern (Zurich, 1721-1723) in Johann Jakob Bodmer and Johann Jakob Breitinger, Die Discourse der Mahlern, facsimile reprint (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1969), Johann Christoph Gottsched, Versuch Einer Critischen Dichtkunst (Leipzig, 1730) in Johann Christoph Gottsched, Ausgewählte Werke: Versuch Einer Critischen Dichtkunst, Anderer Besonderer Theil, edited by Joachim Birke and Brigette Birke (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1973), Vol. 6, and Noel Antoine Pluche, Spectacle de la nature (Paris, 1732-1750), translated in Noel Antoine Pluche, Spectacle de la nature: or, Nature display’d, being Discourses on such Particulars of Natural History (London, 1739-48).

[18] Cited and translated in Bellamy Hosler, Changing Aesthetic views on instrumental music in 18th Century Germany (Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI Research Press, 1981), 52.

[19] See “The division of the Fine Arts” in Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgement, translated by James Creed Meredith, revised, edited and introduced by Nicholas Walker (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 149-154.

[20] Enrico Fubini, ed., Music & Culture in Eighteenth-Century Europe: A Source Book (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1994), 324-333.

[21] Ibid., 326.

[22] Johann Gottfried Herder, Selected Writings on Aesthetics, translated and edited by Gregory Moore (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006), 347-356.

[23] Ibid., 348.

[24] Ibid., 351-352.

[25] Ibid., 355.

[26] Enrico Fubini, ed., Music & Culture in Eighteenth-Century Europe: A Source Book (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1994), 83.

[27] Daniel K. L. Chua, Absolute Music and the Construction of Meaning (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 85.

[28] On melodrama see Kirsten Gram Holmström, Monodrama, Attitudes, Tableaux Vivants: Studies on Some Trends of Theatrical Fashion, 1770-1815 (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1967), James L. Smith, Melodrama (London: Methuen, 1973), and Jacqueline Waeber, En Musique dans la Texte: Le Mélodrame de Rousseau à Schoenberg (Paris: Van Dieren éditeur, 2005).

[29] On Benda’s melodramas see Arthur Simeon Winsor, The Melodramas and Singspiels of Georg Benda (PhD Thesis, University of Michigan, 1967).

[30] In a letter to his father dated November 12, 1778, Mozart wrote, ‘What I saw was Benda’s Medea. He also wrote another one, Ariadne auf Naxos, and both are truly admirable’. See Emily Anderson, ed., The letters of Mozart and his family (London: Macmillan, 1938), Vol. 2, 631.

[31] See Roger Fiske, English Theatre Music in the Eighteenth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973), Kirsten Gram Holmström, Monodrama, Attitudes, Tableaux Vivants: Studies on Some Trends of Theatrical Fashion, 1770-1815 (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1967), Bellamy Hosler, Changing Aesthetic views on instrumental music in 18th Century Germany (Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI Research Press, 1981), and Robert Lamar and Norma Wright Weaver, A Chronology of Music in the Florentine Theatre, 1751-1800: Operas, Prologues, Farces, Intermezzos, Concerts, and Plays with Incidental Music (Michigan: Harmonie Park Press, 1993). The German Singspiel can also be said to probe the relationship between words and music. See John Warrack, German opera: From the Beginnings to Wagner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 124-143.

[32] See A. C. Keys, “Schiller and Italian Opera”, Music & Letters, Vol. 41, No. 3 (1960), 223-227, Rey M. Longyear, “Schiller and Opera”, The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 52, No. 2 (1966), 171-182, Bayard Quincy Morgan, “Goethe’s Dramatic Use of Music”, PMLA, Vol. 72, No. 1 (1957), 104-112, and Romain Rolland, Goethe and Beethoven, translated G. A. Pfister and E. S. Kemp (New York: Benjamine Blom, 1931).

[33] See n.31 and F. E. Kirby, “Herder and Opera”, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Vol. 15, No. 3 (1962), 316-329.

[34] Tili Boon Cuillé, Narrative Interludes: Musical Tableaux in Eighteenth-Century Texts (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006).

[35] Ibid., 5-6.

[36] It should be pointed out that eighteenth-century operas were based upon stories, legends, and histories that would most likely have been familiar to an eighteenth-century listener. In short, the title of the opera would have provided the listener with a narrative framework by which to understand the overture

[37] Neal Zaslaw, Mozart Symphonies: Context, Performance Practice, Reception (Oxford: Clarendon, 1989), 250-251.

[38] On Beethoven’s Leonora overtures see Alan Tyson, “The Problem of Beethoven’s ‘First’ Leonore Overture”, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Vol. 28, No. 2 (1975), 292-334, Alan Tyson, “Yet Another ‘Leonore’ Overture”, Music and Letters, Vol. 58, No. 2 (1977), 192-203, and Basil Deane, “The French Operatic Overture from Grétry to Berlioz”, Proceedings of the Royal Music Association, Vol. 99, No.1 (1972), 77.

<[39] Stephen C. Fischer, Haydn’s Overtures and their Adaptations as Concert Orchestral Works (Ph.D. Dissertation: University of Pennsylvania, 1985), and Elaine R. Sisman, “Haydn’s Theatre Symphonies”, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Vol. 43, No. 2 (1990), 292-352. See also Barry S. Brook, “Sturm und Drang and the Romantic Period in Music”, Studies in Romanticism, Vol. 9, No. 4 (1970), 269-288, W. Dean Sutcliffe, ed., Haydn Studies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 120-245, and R. Larry Todd, “Joseph Haydn and the Sturm und Drang: A Reevaluation”, Music Review, Vol. 41 (1980), 172-196.

<[40] Nancy Kovaleff Baker and Thomas Christensen, ed., Aesthetics and the Art of Musical Composition in the German Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 106.

[41] Neal Zaslaw, Mozart Symphonies: Context, Performance Practice, Reception (Oxford: Clarendon, 1989), 514.

[42] Basil Deane, “The French Operatic Overture from Grétry to Berlioz”, Proceedings of the Royal Music Association, Vol. 99, No.1 (1972), 67-80, Constantin Floros, “Das ‘Program’ in Mozarts Meisterouvertüren”, Studien zur Musikwissenschaft, Vol. 26 (1964), 140-186, Daniel Heartz, “Mozart’s Overture to Titus as Dramatic Argument”, Musical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 1 (1978), 29-49, Patricia Howard, Gluck and the Birth of Modern Opera (London: Barrie and Rockliff, 1963), 89-99, and Reinhard Strohm, Dramma per Musica: Italian Opera Seria of the Eighteenth Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997), 237-251.


Is an Arts-Based PhD a Professional Qualification?

I recently gave a paper at the UK Council for Gradaute Education International Conference on Doctoral Training Structures (Dublin, July 2014). The paper examines the divide between philosophical and professional PhDs and whether this distinction is useful when considering skills based training for creative practice researchers. As such, I thought it would be good to share the video and transcript of my presentation here – I look forward to any comments and thoughts you may have.



In this paper I want to question why arts and humanities doctorates are understood as academic rather than professional qualifications? And whether these two terms – academic and professional – are actually useful when we think about doctoral training structures. By considering creative practice research in particular, I will provide an examination of the relationship between academic and professional skills sets and how this relates to doctoral supervision, mentoring, and training.

I have chosen to focus on creative practice research (or as it has also been termed – practice-based or practice-led research) for three reasons. Firstly, it is a research area that has challenged scholarly assumptions – causing us to rethink and re-evaluate what we might normally think constitutes a research process and/or outcome. Creative practice research occupies a liminal position between the arts and the sciences, fusing the critical reflection of the humanities with the practical exploration attributed to the physical sciences. Secondly, it is an area that it is plays into discussions about the value of arts and humanities research and, in particular, the role the play within innovation and the wider knowledge economy. And finally, as I will argue, creative practice research provides an interesting framework for thinking about doctoral training in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, especially since teamwork, collaboration, and the professional sector are often embedded into creative practice methodologies.

Whether they are novelists, designers, or fine artists, the professional arts and cultural sectors form part of the research process. Indeed, a creative practice researcher cannot easily ignore the demands, needs, and wants of publishers, producers, curators, funders, and arts audiences. As a UK Higher Education Academy report on practice-based doctorates reveals practitioners are not simply in dialogue with the professional community, but part of that community.[1] The role the professional sphere plays in a creative practice doctorate I think is worth exploring in more detail given the liminal space in which creative practice research exists, a space that lies somewhere between the professional doctorate and the doctorate of philosophy.

In a 2011 UK Council for Graduate Education Report that looked at the emergence of the professional doctorate, it is stated that one of main reasons for the emergence of the professional doctorate in the USA, UK, and Australia was to create a doctorate that met the needs of the knowledge economy.[2] While this statement is perhaps of no surprise, it immediately led me to ask what the differences are between the professional doctorate and the PhD with embedded professional skills training.

As I hope to show, this is a question that is tied to personal, social and political understandings about education, employment, and training. According to Tom Bourner (et. al.) for almost six centuries the PhD was a professionally-driven qualification, often focussing on the practice of law, theology, or medicine.[3] It wasn’t until the middle of nineteenth century that the inquiry based PhD model was developed at Humboldt University in Berlin. Although as Elinor S. Shaffer argues these developments are closely tied to ideas of progress through education and C19th notions of industrialization.[4] The stereotypical view of the doctorate as an esoteric, curiosity driven educational activity then is actually a fairly recent one. In fact, the first doctorate in philosophy at the University of Oxford wasn’t actually awarded until 1920. It seems for a large part of its history, the doctorate has been driven by the needs of the professional and industrial sectors.

The current drive by governments across the globe to bring research and the knowledge economy into closer alignment is perhaps, then, best understood as a return rather than the start of something new. So, to refine my previous question: if transferable skills are to become more firmly embedded into the PhD – as is suggested in a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – to what extent is the professional doctorate different from a doctorate of philosophy?[5] And is the distinction between the two really that helpful?

According to a UKCGE report on creative practice research in particular, the practice-based PhD is considered to reflect a research focus on the creative product in its academic context, whereas the focus in a practice-based DMus or DArt and Design is on the quality of the created product.[6]

While this report has certainly been invaluable in carving out a place for creative practice research in the academy, I’m not convinced that such a clear binary distinction is helpful in the long term. Indeed, how useful is it to distinguish between the professional scholar and the scholarly professional? In my opinion, by clearly delineating between the professional and the philosophical we are not only concealing some of the complexity, but affirming that these are two entirely separate spheres. As I noted earlier, creative practice research is rarely independent of the feedback and peer review of the professional sector and is often in active dialogue with the wider professional sector. While there has been a tendency to distinguish clearly between professional and philosophical doctorates, I would argue that there is perhaps a space in-between, a space that is actively explored by many creative practice researchers.

The in-between space to which I refer is hinted at, although not addressed directly, in the aforementioned UKCGE report on the professional doctorate. The report states that:

Practice-Led Doctorates…were not developed in response to any specific needs of the professional Arts, Design and Architecture domains, for the ultimate award of a PhD. In fact, the very concept of practice-based/practice-led research in AD&A refers more generally to a specific approach to academic research in these subject areas – this is the key characteristic, by contrast with many professional doctorates.[7]

The report highlights that unlike a Doctorate of Engineering or a Doctorate of Business Administration; the aim of the creative practice PhDs is not to solve a sectorial problem, but to answer a philosophically-driven question – and it is in that sense that the creative practice PhD is more akin to the more traditional PhD.

However, while the question may be philosophically determined, this does not mean that it is therefore independent of or detached from the professional sector. Indeed, many practice-led artists, designers and writers would consider themselves freelancers and/or soletraders as well as researchers. As Karen Yair states in a 2012 Crafts Council report on the relationship between Crafts and Enterprise, craft is an entrepreneurial sector, with 88% of all makers having set up their own business and with a further 6% in business partnerships.[8] Highlighting the balance between creative fulfilment and income generation, the report shows how a large proportion of makers with higher degrees in particular have gone on to contribute to a range of manufacturing industries. As Yair states: ‘makers can support companies transformation from commodity producers to knowledge-based companies trading on creativity and problem-solving capabilities’.[9] Although there is still evidence to be collected, it is my contention that this kind of work is a result of the intersection between subject knowledge and expertise and transferable skill sets. The two are mutually dependent.

According to a report on research skills be the Australian Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research: ‘Australia’s …research graduates have the skills and attributes to both engage in world-class research and make productive contributions in a wide spectrum of professional roles.[10] The recent UK Arts and Humanities Research Council Strategy mirrors this need, stating that doctoral researchers should have the opportunity to ‘develop the skills and experience necessary to succeed in doctoral research and have a wide range of opportunities to develop their skills within and outside the academy’.[11] While perhaps couched in knowledge economy rhetoric, these policy documents are underpinned by findings from of a number of research projects that have examined doctoral training structures and career progression. Indeed, as the Higher Education Academy Postgraduate Research Experience Survey clearly shows: there is a growing demand and need for professional development across all disciplines.[12] There are, however, two points in the survey that are mentioning today. The first is that interest in subject area and improving prospects for an academic research career are top two motivations for students. And the second is the observation that those working in STEM and Health disciplines will more likely have received transferable skills training than those working in the Arts and Humanities and the Social Sciences.

Vitae’s works on career progression similarly suggests that we need to rethink career provision and training. And again I’d like to pull out a few points relating to arts and humanities provision. In the report What do researchers want to do? The career intentions of doctoral researchers (2012) Vitae note that: ‘only in biomedical science and engineering and technology were significant proportions of respondents (over 30%) anticipating careers outside research, although mostly in occupations and sectors which they saw as related to their research disciplines’.[13] The report also highlights that three quarters of respondents from the arts and humanities, and over half in the social science or education, sought a higher education career. And, finally, that for the A&H in particular a significantly lower proportion of postdocs were in full time work. According to Vitae, career planning for postgraduates is often aspirational rather than pragmatic.

The findings of the US Report: Pathways through Graduate School and Into Careers are of a similar ilk. While the report states that: ‘it is critical to illuminate the pathways from graduate school into careers’ they note the significant ‘Lack of sufficient data for individuals who earn degrees outside of science and engineering fields’.[14] The report goes on to say that: ‘Unfortunately, it appears that students have disassociated their education aspirations from their occupational ones’.[15] The disconnect between the expected outcomes of a PhD and the situation in which postdocs find themselves seems particularly problematic within the arts and humanities. As the report emphasises, while graduates in engineering programmes are frequently supported for a diversity of career options, humanities students are more strongly directly toward faculty carers. The role faculty staff and supervisors can play here is significant. As Anthony T Grafton and Jim Grossman – the president and executive director, respectively, of the American Historical Association – state:

We tell students that there are “alternatives” to academic careers. We warn them to develop a “plan B” in case they do not find a teaching post. And the very words in which we couch this useful advice makes clear how much we hope they will not have to follow it – and suggest, to many of them, that if they do have to settle for employment outside the academy, they should crawl off home and gnaw their arms off.[16]

There is clearly a need for greater fluidity and mobility between the academic and professional sectors. The problem though it seems is not because of a lack of opportunities, but because the needs and wants of arts and humanities doctoral researchers do not align with those of the knowledge economy. To my mind, this is accentuated by the way in which PhD programmes are structured – programmes often demarcating between academic and professional skill sets, the professional seemingly an add-on service, rather than something that is embedded.

A linguistic change is needed in the first instance. We need to start talking about PhD candidates as professional researchers, rather than as early career academics. The term ‘academic’ I find particularly problematic as I believe it can have a detrimental effect on the way in which people think about future career paths and what might be considered ‘suitable’ and/or relevant. I think using the term professional researcher would also help with rethinking the way in which research, research degrees and the professional sector interact. We also need to work at hard at removing the stigma surrounding those who opt for a non-lecturing position or a career outside of higher education. By valuing research as a skill that is applicable in a wide range of sectors, the value of the academy and research becomes much clearer, and career routes for researchers more varied and permeable.

Supported by the Higher Education Academy grant, we are currently undertaking a research project that explore this issue by examining the need and wants of our creative writing doctoral researchers, the views of our creative writing researchers and supervisors, as well as those working in professional services.[17] In particular, we are looking at whether the findings of the aforementioned reports apply to our creative practice doctoral researchers, particularly given that creative practitioners often undertake their doctorate part time and at a later stage within their career. For the project we undertook semi-structure interviews with 12 of our creative writing supervisors and sent out a survey to our current cohort of doctoral researchers, for which we had a 13 responses: 6 part time, 3 full time, and 4 on our low residency programme.

From an initial review of the results, while there is certainly a noticeable similarity with the findings of the above surveys, there are also some important and significant differences. For instance, whilst the majority of doctoral candidates were primarily thinking of working in academia and were motivated primarily by their interest in the subject area, the professional sphere – the publication industry – remained important. Indeed, the majority said that the PhD afforded them an opportunity to refine their writing practice, and – intriguingly – to take creative risks and to experiment in a way that they couldn’t outside of academia. Respondents, though, also said that their overarching aim was to generate better industry publications and/or write better, to work with other writers and network, and to facilitate the publishing of a novel. And, when asked directly about progressing in an academic career – while half the respondents said yes, the other half said either ‘no’ or that they identified more with being a writer than an academic and that publishing works was important to them.

These results are interesting as they provide an extra level of detail, especially with regards to the intersection between the professional and the academic in creative practice PhDs. Indeed, it seems these candidates actually struggle to see the distinction between the two spheres. As our students are predominately part time (70%) and usually have at least one successful commercial publication behind them, their professional profile forms part of the admissions process and, thus, it is of no surprise that they don’t see the two as independent sectors.

Given the above, what training structures should be in place? Are transferable skills programmes really suited to arts and humanities doctoral researchers if a significant proportion of coming from the professional sphere? I would like to argue yes, but the training needs more thought. Career planning is, after all, a lifelong process and their engagement with the professional sector doesn’t alter the fact that seeking employment in the academic sphere post PhD may not be possible.

It is this area where I think we need to focus our energies. As the Arts Council England’s latest report on the value of the arts and culture states:

In some areas, such as the environment and sustainability, and science and technology, we have a general lack of suitable research – yet these are areas in which our own experience and common sense tell us that the arts play an essential educational and communication role.[18]

I would, perhaps, go a step further and say that arts, humanities, and social sciences all have the potential to contribute directly to scientific and technological development. Indeed, there have been a number of recent studies – one by Nesta I should add – that have argued that role science fiction has played a significant role in the way in which technology has developed – the way in which novelists and filmmakers imagine the future and future technologies providing a bedrock of thought[19].

There are many many other ways in which research into the arts and the humanities can have cross-sectoral impact. As two Bath Spa University professors, Fay Weldon and Kate Pullinger discuss:

Evidence of this is still problematic, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true – it means that to locate arts and humanities research within the knowledge economy we need to better understand the global research ecology and that can only really be achieved by engaging more directly with a wide range of sectors.

The second part of our HEA project looks at how this might work on the ground and we are currently exploring the various ways in which different departments can work together to support doctoral researchers. Bringing together the graduate school, research office, careers teams, subject librarians and supervisors, this project hopes to push the boundaries of the doctorate, taking it beyond the walls of the university. Although there is still much work to do, we are looking at ways of bridging the gap between research expertise, skills and the professional sector and hope to have made some headway in this area by connecting our creative writing doctoral researchers with industry professionals – agents, editors, and national organisations all contributing to our programme through talks, events, and resources that provide our doctoral researchers with a dynamic environment that we hope blur the boundaries between academic, personal and professional development.

Indeed, careers shouldn’t be seen as appendage, but as part of the PhD process. To focus on providing training in soft skills in some ways misses the point. To help doctoral candidates see the benefits of coupling academic research and industry, we need to dispense with the stigma – and see the benefits of collaboration. Key to this will be acquiring a detailed and discipline specific understanding of the translational nature of the skill sets acquired during a doctorate and assisting doctoral researchers to connect their research to the professional and public sectors. We need to go beyond the professional skills training session and provide opportunities for researchers to think through doing and to reflect on that experience. Creative practice as research has in some ways provided a fertile ground to address these questions, as the professional sector already plays a key role in the development and dissemination of research. As Yvon Bonenfant has argues: ‘as a research paradigm, PaR is pregnant with radical and fecund potential in societies that increasingly rely on ‘creatives’ for economic and social growth, ecological transformation and regeneration, because of PaR’s ability to integrate logics that are other than linear, embodied activity, and creative unpredictability within one field’.[20]

In my opinion, it is not simply – as the European League of Research Universities argues – that skills need to be at the heart of the doctoral process.[21] This just isn’t the reason most people undertake a doctorate, particularly in the arts and humanities. To my mind, it is about developing skills in relation to research, expertise, development, and ecologies of knowledge. It is about how these all interconnect and how we can provide structures that offer a range of opportunities for collaborative, interdisciplinary, immersive and reflective learning.

[1] June Boyce-Tillman et. al. (ed.), PaR of the Course: Issues involved in the development of practice-based doctorates in the Performing Arts (Higher Education Academy, June 2012).

[2] UK Council for Graduate Education, Professional Doctorates in the UK (2011), 20.

[3] Tom Bourner, Rachel Bowden, and Stuart Laing, ‘Professional Doctorates in England in the 1990s’, Studies in Higher Education, 26/1 (2001), 65-83.

[4] Elinor S. Shaffer, ‘Romantic philosophy and the organisation of the disciplines: the founding of the Humboldt University of Berlin’ in Romanticism and Sciences, ed. Andrew Cunningham and Nicholas Jardine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 38-54.

[5] OECD, Transferable Skills Training for Researchers: Supporting Career Development and Research (December 2012).

[6] UKCGE, Practice-based Doctorates in the Creative and Performing Arts and Design (1997), 12.

[7] UK Council for Graduate Education, Professional Doctorates in the UK (2011), 63.

[8] Karen Yair, Craft and Enterprise, (Crafts Council, March 2012).

[9] Ibid.

[10] Austrailian Government Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Research Skills for an Innovative Future: A Research Workforce Strategy to Cover the Decade to 2020 and Beyond (2011), 11.

[11] Arts and Humanities Research Council, The Human World: The Arts and Humanities in Our Time (March 2013), 18.

[12] Paul Bennett and Gosia Turner, PRES2013: Results from the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (Higher Education Academy, 2013).

[13] Vitae, What do researchers want to do? The career intentions of doctoral researchers (Careers Research & Advisory Centre, 2012), 2.

[14] Council of Graduate Schools and Educational Testing Service, Pathways Through Graduate School and Into Careers, Report from the Commission on Pathways Through Graduate School and Into Careers (Princeton: Educational Testing Service, April 2012), 4.

[15] Ibid. 15.

[16] Antony T. Grafton and James Grossman, A very modest proposal for graduate programs in history (26 September, 2011). Retrieved from the American Historical Association website.

[17] Thanks to Tim Middleton and Tracy Brain for their assistance with this paper.

[18] Arts Council England, The Value of Arts and Culture to People and Society: an Evidence Review (March 2014)

[19] NESTA, Better Made Up The Mutual Influence of Science Fiction and Innovation (March, 2013).

[20] Yvon Bonenfant, ‘A portrait of the current state of PaR: Defining an (In)Discipline’ in PaR for the Course: Issues involved in the development of practice-based doctorates in the performing arts, ed. June Boyce-Tillman et. al. (Higher Education Academy, June 2012), 21.

[21] European League of Research Universities, Doctoral degrees beyond 2010: Training talented researchers for society (March 2010).

Recreating the Mixtape Experience: Emotional Attachment and Digital Music Platforms

In this short piece, I want to discuss the recent interest in dead analogue musical formats and whether this might be connected to the recent developments in digital music service provision. In the last few years, the mixtape and the cassette have featured in and across a range of different media:

  • BBC6 Music recently dedicated an entire afternoon to the history of the cassette;
  • Both BBC6 Music and the BBC Asian Network feature programmes that use mixtape in the title;
  • Jamie Cullum has a song titled ‘Mixtape’ on his 2009 album The Pursuit,
  • The Broadway Musical Avenue Q features a comic song that discusses the romantic merits of the mixtape;
  • Gallery exhibitions of mixtape-inspired artworks have taken place in Germany, Australia, and the USA (MIX TAPE 1980S: Appropriation, Subculture, Critical Style, National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, April 2013; Look and Listen: Los Angeles, August 2012; Tin Sheds Gallery, Sydney, June 2011);
  • Books have been dedicated to the subject (Thurston Moore, Cassette Culture, 2004; Jason Bitner, Cassette for My Ex, 2009);
  • And a number of news articles have appeared on the BBC News and Guardian websites that examine the history of the cassette and the so-called cassette comeback.

Perhaps more intriguing than these examples, though, is the references made to cassette culture within digital culture. Not only are there a number of apps that reference mixtapes and cassette culture – such as the digital tape reel that until recently accompanied the playing of podcast episodes on the iPad – but there are also a number of applications and platforms that seek to digitally recreate the mixtape experience.

The Spotify application Share My Playlist, for instance, makes a direct connection between the mixtape experience and the more modern digital playlists, the site explicitly evoking the mixtape in their tag line ‘Long Live the Mixtape’. The recent surge in interest in this supposedly dead analogue format is interesting and begs a number of questions such as:

  • Why mixtapes are being used as a cultural reference point in this modern digital age?
  • Why the analogue past is haunting the digital present?
  • And whether there is any connection between the mixtape and the recent developments of online music services.

Nostalgia as a Critical Tool and the History of the Mixtape

For music critic Simon Reynolds, the return of the mixtape is symptomatic of a much wider cultural trend.[1] He argues that in the last ten years we have succumbed to an intense kind of archive fever that has resulted in a stifling of musical creativity. Mourning the loss of a musical present, Reynolds’s puts forward a view of the modern world as subsumed by an overwhelming preoccupation with the past. The resurgent interest in the mixtape is, in a way, representative of this trend, the mixtape functioning as symbol for a lost era of music listening. Although nostalgia is rarely used as a critical tool, I wonder whether in this case it could be used to inform our understanding of the relationship between material pasts and digital futures.

It seems sensible to give a brief history of the mixtape and to identify what it was that people valued  – and still value – about this musical format. The mixtape was primarily a way by which to share music. Both an artefact and a social activity, mixtapes consisted of a carefully selected sequence of musical tracks and were used either to accompany an event, an activity, or to communicate a musical message to a friend or loved one. The romantic mixtape is, perhaps, the most fondly remembered. It was an affordable – yet powerful – way of showing affection to a potential lover.

The perfect mixtape, though, was not easy to create and required both skill and meticulous planning. As the character Rob describes in Nick Hornby’s novel High Fidelity:

Making a tape is like writing a letter – there’s a lot of erasing and rethinking and starting again…You’ve got to kick off with a corker, but hold the attention…and then you’ve got to up it a notch, or cool it a notch, and you…can’t have two tracks by the same artist side by side, unless you’ve done the whole thing in pairs and…oh, there are loads of rules.[2]

To create the perfect mixtape, you need to think about what songs you will include, how they will be ordered, and what the message is that you are trying to get across.

Jason Bitner’s book Cassette for my Ex: Songs and Soundtracks to Lost Loves provides a fascinating insight into the value attributed to the mixtape.[3] Consisting of a series of mixtape stories told some 10 to 20 years after the mixtape was created, Bitner’s collection shows how mixtapes are social artefacts that have the power to draw out forgotten memories and enable listeners to reflect, reframe, and in some cases idealise their past. A particular interesting story is that told by Jessica Agneessens. She writes:

The tape was an early birthday gift – I’d be in my new city by the time I actually turned 21 – [and] she intended on me listening to it on the drive. It was terrible to say good-bye…The liner notes stated that it would be a while before she could visit. She blamed her class schedule but the sharp edge of that repeated declaration suggested how abandoned she felt by my departure. I played the tape repeatedly on the drive to the Midwest and for a long time after. The mix wasn’t much different from what my peers were listening to, but it was a far cry from that which my peers in Eugene had been listening to…The Pixie had done me a great service, she had prepared me for life outside Eugene. It became the soundtrack to my awkward adjustment to a new town and eventually to my grandfather’s death.[4]

Agneessens story highlights the power of the mixtape. It shows how the personality of the receiver and the creator are both imprinted on the mixtape – and how a mixtape can be reimagined and reframed by the owner over time. The track listings can be seen below for Side One and Side Two of the Cassette:

Emotionally Durable Design and Mixtape Narratives

Inscribed with personal narratives, mixtapes combined musical listening with social experiences. From a design perspective, the social nature of the mixtape actually provides an interesting example of emotionally durable design. A term developed by design theorist Jonathan Chapman, emotionally durable design offers a potential solution to hyper-consumerism and increasing waste.[5] Arguing that ‘emotionally durable design’ has the potential to transport users beyond the ephemeral world of technocentric design, Chapman’s research examines how ideas of narrative, attachment, enchantment, surface and consciousness can be embedded into the design process to enable users to have longer-lasting and more significant emotional connections with their purchases.

By connecting the memories and musical taste of both the creator and the receiver, the mixtape is an artefact filled with enchantment  – a connection established almost immediately between object and user. The emotional

Young couple listening to music and looking at records in a living room (Daily Herald Archive at the National Media Museum)

attachment is heightened by the fact that the mixtape brings together an aural experience with a haptic and visual one. The inlay, the tape, and the casing all form part of the mixtape experience. Like the experience often attributed to vinyl records, mixtapes are as much about listening, as they are about looking, touching, and sharing. Indeed, the contents of the tape, the accompanying album art, and the extra-musical texts all imbue the mixtape with a complex series of musical and non-musical signposts that encourage the listener to hear the mixtape in a particular way. 

Urban and Digital Chill vs. Analogue and Social Warmth

Despite the popularity of the cassette-based mixtape, by the mid 1990s the mixtape began to disappear. A direct result of CDs becoming a more affordable medium and increasing access to the Internet at home, the mix-CD took over as the main way by which to share music. Although it may seem that the change is not that significant, the fact that CDs could be complied by dragging and dropping files meant that the craft element to mixtapes was lost. Couple this with the birth of peer-2-peer file sharing and the gap between mixtapes and mix CDs becomes even more significant. As file sharing provided Internet users with access to a diverse and global library of music (albeit illegal) – some of the imitations of mixtape making were removed. Most significantly, mix CDs were no longer dependent upon the contents of a limited material musical collection.

The introduction of the iPod in 2001 and the option to purchase single tracks rather than albums took this to the next level – iPod-ITunes synchronization enabling users to create multiple and endless playlists quickly and easily. As music journalist Dylan Jones says:

Albums ceased to matter, and I could edit with impunity. Why bother with REM’s New Adventures in Hi-Fi when all you really want is Electrolite and E-Bow The Letter? Why continue to ruin Pet Sounds, the best album recorded by anyone in the 1960s, by suffering the absurdity of Sloop John B when you can simply delete it.[6]

The iPod afforded users with the opportunity not only to create a purely personal library of music at the level of the musical track, but also to curate their collection as they saw fit through the use of user-friendly drag-and-drop digital playlists. As Jones’ notes, albums could be easily tweaked and adapted, and playlists created to suit any mood, activity, or event.

In contrast to the cassette-based mixtape, the iPod encouraged a listening experience that was primarily personal, rather than social. This is something that I think is abundantly clear from Apple’s early iPod commercials – the silhouetted figures here highlighting the private musical experience offered by the iPod.

Stifling Creativity – The Digital Archive

Internet broadband enabled streaming services such as Spotify to further the music service model proposed by iTunes. Through a subscription-based service, Spotify provides users with access to an almost limitless and on-demand, global and timeless archive of music. As of June 2012 there were 10 million active users with over 500 million playlists had been generated.[7] An increasingly important figure in the music industry, Spotify is attempting to transform the music experience through the development of a suite of tools that assist users to navigate the vast global library of music. Using add-on applications, users can search for playlists to accompany specific activities – such as this Reebok application that provides playlists for a range of sports activities:

Still: Reebok Playlist Generator on Spotify

Users can auto-generate playlists based on their mood or their musical taste. Users can chat and discuss music while listening to crowd-sourced music playlists. And users can listen to playlists created by people from across the globe. While Spotify is clearly seeking to develop new ways of music discovery and listening, the platform still pushes more towards a passive model of engagement, applications frequently based on auto-recommendation and pre-selection, rather than the personal creativity we associate with the mixtape.

If we take a moment to reflect on the experience attributed to the mixtapes discussed earlier and the listening experiences offered by Apple and Spotify, we can begin to understand why in the last few years there has been a resurgent interest in the mixtape. To consider once again Agneessens mixtape, we can see that it is defined by the considerable artist repetition (both Sonic Youth and Sebadoh featuring three times), the use of music of a similar generic ilk (the majority of the music having a rock or DIY feel – Stereolab and Bowie being notable exceptions), and, if we listen carefully, the employment of melancholic meta-narrative of loss and frustration. In a sense, the mixtapes emotional power is connected to the technological limitations of the mixtape medium. Mixtape Cover ArtAs the mixtape was necessarily based upon the music you had in your record collection, it was necessarily representative of music that you had both a personal and a financial investment in. As the mixtape required you to sit, select, and listen to the tracks as they recorded, the process of making the mixtape becomes embedded into the way in which it is experienced. (An analogy can certainly be made here with the emotional attachment often ascribed to craft-based, handmade furniture – the process feeding into the way in which the object is understood and appreciated). And as blank cassettes came with blank inlays, the mixtape also afforded the creator with opportunity to create a handwritten inlay and cover design that could heighten the connection between cassette and content and between creator and listener.

While the Internet has provided us with new and exciting new ways by which to discover music, it has also rendered obsolete the characteristic technical limitations of the mixtape, and quite unintentionally the intense emotional connection that the mixtape forged between creator – tape – and listener. Although Spotify is swimming against the digital current in this respect, the digital playlist will never be able to fully recreate the effect of its analogue counterpart – something will always be lacking.

This doesn’t mean, though, that the digital is always destined to fail and that we are to forever mourn analogue technology. As David Gauntlett has recently argued in his book Making is Connecting (Polity Press, 2011), Web 2.0 technologies are perfect for enabling creative and social interactions. The problem, though, is that many of the current digital platforms (such as Facebook and Spotify) do not allow for users to actively engage in social and creative experimentation, only to replicate analogue experiences – think photo albums and Flickr, mixtapes and Spotify, and books and ebooks.

Conclusion and Listening Forward

The challenge, then, is to think about how we can harness Web 2.0 technologies to develop digital environments that go beyond rigid archival structures and that allow for new levels of social engagement and creativity. In short, we need to think about going beyond storage and broadcast, and create new digital experiences.

By looking at the mixtape and comparing it with the development of the digital playlist, I hope to have shown how an investigation into what we value in material culture might inform the way in which we engage with and develop digitally mediated environments. To move beyond the archive and cure ourselves or archive fever, we need to think about how to embed the haptic and the sensory into digital experience. We need to think about social interaction, history, narrative and memory. Music platforms such as Spotify, for instance, need to go beyond providing a library of music and provide a musical experience that is fundamentally social and that provides the listener with a sense of history, of change, and of performance – music is after all is a live art form. As more and more time is spent archiving and recording our lives online, we need to question whether the format by which we share our digital memories is the right format and whether we are inadvertently dispensing with some of the elements to material culture that we hold most dear.

A version of this text was presented at the AHRC-funded Digital Transformers Symposium held at Manchester Metropolitan University (May, 2013).

[1] Simon Reynolds, Retromania (Faber and Faber, 2011)

[2] Nick Hornby, High Fidelity (Riverhead Trade, 1995), 88-89.

[3] Jason Bitner, ed. Cassette From My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves (St. Martin Griffin, 2009).

[4] Ibid., 112.

[5] Jonathan Chapman, Emotionally Durable Design (Routeledge, 2005)

[6] Dylan Jones, iPod Therefore I Am (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2008), 20.

[7] Data acquired from Spotify.