Shufflebotham, James David (2022) Gravitonicity: towards a model of the ‘Gravitation’ in Music. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

[thumbnail of ShufflebothamPhD2022.pdf]

Download (7MB) | Preview


This research develops a model of the ‘gravitation’ in Music. In the literature on the ‘gravitational’ properties of melody and harmony, two sub-metaphors are apparent: ‘distance’ and ‘motion’. Gravitation and Music’s ‘gravitation’ are, therefore, fundamentally separate categories. To benefit from the metaphor without equating the experience of the two, Music’s ‘gravitation’ is designated as ‘Gravitonicity’.
The model is developed from three questions: ‘What is Gravitonicity?’; ‘How and to what extent is it possible to derive a model of Gravitonicity from the ‘neutral level’ (Nattiez, 1990, pp. 12)?’ (e.g., music theory); and ‘How does the listener construct the meaning (Nattiez’s ‘esthesic dimension’) of Gravitonicity and to what extent can this lead to a subjective experience?’.
Conceptual metaphor theory (Lakoff and Johnson, 1980; 1999) is used to argue that the ‘distance’ is metaphorically shaped by our embodied understanding of physical distance. Steve Larson (2012) uses the same approach to explain the ‘motion’ alongside musictheoretic explanations.
Music-theoretic explanations of the ‘distance’ have been historically sporadic and with little consistency in approach. Addressing this lacuna, spectral analysis is undertaken in conjunction with Chord Scale Theory (as taught at Berklee College of Music) to reveal ‘Gravi-Tone Series’’ (GS’): specific mappings of twelve distance (‘g’) values onto all twelve pitch classes (‘gravi-tones’). It is argued that the GS’ are attributed by a four-quality psychological process entitled ‘Gravi-Tone Series Filtering’ (GSF). With a unifying perspective on all types of scales, harmony, and functionality, GSF potentially belongs to the general theory of music.
John Shepherd and Peter Wicke’s ‘Semiological Model’ (1997, pp. 173) is used to extrapolate meaning construction, illustrating how Gravitonicity may be negotiable for ’different individuals and in the same individual at different times (pp. 175). Finally, further details of the model are uncovered through its analytical application to the chord-melody jazz guitar repertoire.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Contributors: Spasov, M (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2022 14:41
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2022 14:41

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item