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La voix-peux : understanding the physical, phenomenal, and imaginary limits on the human voice through contemporary music


This dissertation examines the philosophical meditations behind a particular use of the voice in contemporary classical music. Certain works such as John Cage's Song Books, Alvin Lucier's I am sitting in a room, Kurt Schwitter's Ursonata, György Ligeti's Aventures, Maurizio Kagel's Phonophonie, Karlheinz Stockhausen's Mikrophonie, and Vinko Globokar's ?Corporel combine ordinary speaking modes with singing, attempt to destroy the linguistic order of verbal language, and amplify the visceral timbres of the voice and the unrecognized sounds of the human body. Analyzing this aesthetics, my dissertation ends up with a new conception of the human voice, la voix-peau, skin-voice. La voix-peau owes its conceptual nature to French psychoanalyst Didier Anzieu's notion of le moi-peau, skin ego. Anzieu discusses the Freudian ego as skin, as the interface between inside and outside. Similarly, the notion of skin-voice urges us to revisit the bodily sounds as the nexus of both sensory and affective experiences that reciprocates the material outside with the psychic inside, and thus, to imagine the human voice as the first tactile envelope, as skin. Drawing on this definition, I theorize the voice as a corporeal assemblage of internal and external sounds, a physical and phenomenal matrix of senses. The premise is to investigate whether such a theory of the voice unsettles the discursive categories of language, speech, and self

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