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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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Singing and a Song

Singing and a Song

The “Intimate Difference” in Susan Philipsz’s Lowlands (2010)

(p.178) Chapter 11 Singing and a Song
Gestures of Music Theater

Zeynep Bulut

Oxford University Press

What happens when we anonymously sing a song into a particular landscape? How does a song locate, extend and transform the landscape for us, while being changed by the very landscape itself? What would be the sensory and spatiotemporal play of a song for our performing selves? Susan Philipsz’s famous sound installation Lowlands (2010) evokes these questions. Philipsz sings an old Scottish lament, and installs her recording under three bridges in Glasgow. Walking around the bridges, one encounters Philipsz’s voice everywhere. Re-embodied, one sings the song Lowlands along with the bits and pieces of Philipsz’s voice. A new definition and function of song and singing emerges: song as a corporeal play of spatiotemporal sounds and singing as an act of navigating, finding and re-sounding one’s embodied voice within a soundscape. In light of Lowlands and the questions addressed above, this chapter discusses this definition and function of the song.

Keywords:   song, singing, embodied voice, spatiotemporal sounds, intimate difference, resonance, noise, distributed familiarity, performance of sound

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