Queer Music, Queer Theory, Queer Music Theory
January 30, 2017
by Lewis Brennen
Congratulations to Dr David Bretherton (Music), who has been awarded £175,236.80 from the AHRC Leadership Fellowship Scheme (Early Career Route) towards his research project ‘Queer Music, Queer Theory, Queer Music Theory’.
The Fellowship will allow David to take a lead in re-energising the debate about the nature of ‘queer music’, and to play a decisive role in the re-conceptualisation of the problematic notion of queer music from a music-theoretical and -analytical perspective. Focusing on selected works from the last two centuries, by composers such as Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Copland, Britten and Finnissy, this research will explore the emergence of queer musicology and critique earlier research. It will then interrogate the concept of queer music through several music-analytical case studies organised around core ideas from the discipline of queer theory.
The notion that modern Western society is dominated by a ‘heteronormative’ discourse favouring heterosexual relationships and ‘normal’ gender behaviours will be particularly important, because its analogue, musical convention, when subverted is often dubiously interpreted as autobiographical evidence of a composer’s queerness. This project seeks more nuanced and thoughtful alternatives, and will align queer musicology with other approaches in the Humanities.