Pipe up the volume : the role of the flute in progressive rock

Guy, R 2007, Pipe up the volume : the role of the flute in progressive rock , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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In this thesis I investigate the use and the effect of the flute within rock music. I focus upon the period 1965-1975, the era that saw the development of progressive rock - a genre in which the importation of instruments from other musical traditions formed an important compositional device. My primary concern is how the flute-playing styles and techniques to be found in rock music are linked to the flute's pre-existing musical and cultural roles, and the potential semantic implications for listener experience. Accordingly, the thesis begins by examining aspects of the flute's history, its functions in various musics, and its acquired cultural connotations (such as, for example, the military and the pastoral); from this a paradigmatic framework is developed by which the flute's effect in the more recent genre of rock can be analysed. Following this, the flute's multiple routes into progressive rock music are traced, analysing the role it plays in the diverse musical repertoires - including art music, jazz and Celtic folk music - that fed into the soundscape of the genre. The playing styles and techniques of some individual flute players are then analysed in detail, using as case studies four prominent flute-using bands; Jethro Tull, Genesis, Focus and King Crimson. I discuss how the roles the flute has played in progressive rock can be related to aspects of the socio-cultural background of the genre, and close by summarising the effects of the flute's identified musical and semantic connotations as observed across the four case studies. The thesis as a whole provides new insight into the evolution of flute-playing techniques, the compositional processes and cultural context of progressive rock, and the genre-bridging communicative potential of instrumental timbre.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Depositing User: USIR Admin
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2017 09:01
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 20:41
URI: https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/43016

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