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Gestures of Music TheaterThe Performativity of Song and Dance$
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Dominic Symonds and Millie Taylor

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199997152

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199997152.001.0001

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The Song’s the Thing

The Song’s the Thing

(p.9) Chapter 1 The Song’s the Thing
Gestures of Music Theater

Dominic Symonds

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores ways in which the conceptualization of singing as an active articulation has developed into the conceptualization of song as a commodifiable object. It suggests that technological developments and changes in habit have caused a paradigm shift paralleling the transition from oral to literary traditions. It considers how our packaging of the song onto recorded artefacts has sedimented the “thingness” of song, and it discusses a number of cultural myths whose dynamic rhetoric performs this objectivity of song. Despite consolidating “the song,” these myths are balanced by others that express nostalgia for the practice of “the sung.”

Keywords:   little mermaid, voice, singing, oral tradition, Jerome Kern, Gilbert and Sullivan

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