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Joyce and Berio: De-constructors and Re-constructors of the Language of Music

Joyce and Berio: De-constructors and Re-constructors of the Language of Music

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An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Ben Oliver. Originally submitted for Music Technology at National University of Ireland Mayooth, with lecturer Katherine O' Callaghan in the category of English Literature
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Ben Oliver. Originally submitted for Music Technology at National University of Ireland Mayooth, with lecturer Katherine O' Callaghan in the category of English Literature

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 31, 2012
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10/27/2013

 
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Undergraduate Awards Submission Abstract
 Joyce and Berio: De-constructors and Re-constructors of the Language of Music
.It is important to understand the influence that artists have outside of their ownmedium of creation, and how their work and how the influence of their work can be definingto others in a way they may never have intended. The connection between the tumultuousmediums of artistic creation are much more closely knit than originally presumed, and theinterest lies in the ability for influence to permeate and destroy the boundaries between thevarious mediums of artistic endeavour. Using the microcosm of the effect of Anglo-Irishpostmodernist literature on musique concrete composition, I plan to demonstrate the everchanging nature of influence and the variation of its results when it is applied to a mediumwhich differs from the influential medium. Comparing
the work of Joyce, one of Ireland‟s
most influential postmodernist writers, to that of Luciano Berio, the famous Italian composerand key founder of the burgeoning field of electronic music, this essay will show how theinfluence of an artist of one discipline on one of another can bring to fruition a vastlydifferent result, despite similar using a similar approach and method.. Both Joyce and Beriodestroy and rebuild their medium; for Joyce it is language, syntax and structure, and theexperimentation with which rules can be bent or broken. Berio works within the sonic realm,but by comparing him to Joyce, this essay shows that both sets of methods are closely linkedand interwoven, despite the vastly different results they create. The fact that the influence of Joyce on his work is made very clear by Berio allows the two to be linked very succinctly,
and interviews with him allow us to pinpoint the exact elements of Joyce‟s writing the Italian
composer applied to his own sonic endeavours. Vast difference is created through a similarapproach, due to the medium that each is created within. This information is vital inunderstanding the nature of influence. When examining a piece of work, this essaydemonstrates that it is vital to look further beyond the discipline of the focus of any critical
 
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evaluation. Writers are not merely influenced by other writers, but in the tradition of literarycriticism, generally speaking, a heavy focus is placed on other writers as sources of influence.Creativity is the essential to producing art of any form, and the creativity and its origins,rather than the piece itself to pieces of a similar nature within the same discipline, should beexamined in greater detail than is usually the case. Art transcends boundaries, and it is thistranscendence that is highlighted as a source of greater understanding into the nature of influence.
 
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Joyce and Berio:De-constructors and Re-constructors of the Language of Music
James Joyce can be regarded, for a multitude of reasons, as a titan of post modernistAnglo-Irish literature. Despite coming of age at a time when the talents of many Irish greats:Yeats,
Synge, Shaw and O‟Casey,
who each in their own right are widely recognised ashaving captured the hearts and minds of an entire nation, Joyce rose to new heights in termsof the influence of his writing on a plethora of artistic outlets, most notably on poetry, prose,art and music. His innovative developments and new approaches towards style, structure, plotdevelopment and language opened the minds of a generation, which followed in his footsteps,exploring new depths of the relationship between artist and art, and pushing the boundaries of the ways in which we perceive artistic vision. Residuals of his ideologies and creativetechniques can be found in a wide and far reaching variety of fields, not least in the area of post modernist and avant-garde musical composition. His work directly and indirectlyinfluenced many great post war composers, inspiring them to seek new avenues of self expression, as well as fuelling them to create many of the most famous works of 
musiqueconcrete
.
Joyce‟s widespread influence can be directly related
in part to his alternativeapproaches to syntax and word contextualisation. He was highly intrigued by language, andthe effects of manipulation upon it
, an area of linguistic studies which is known as „theremainder‟ of language. He maintained that a word‟s removal from the context in which it is
set allows for a new interpretation of the individual word, giving it new meaning and contextin its own right.
In his earlier works, particularly in “A Portrait of the Artist as a YoungMan”, Joyce de
-constructs language from the confines of sentence structure and syntax. He

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