Friday 3 January 2014

RMA Research Students' Conference 2014

For anyone attending, I will be speaking at the RMA Research Students' Conference next week, held at the University of Birmingham. My paper is entitled 'The Influence of Anxiety', and I will be speaking at 14:45 on Wednesday 8th January in the 'Psychology of Music' session.

My paper is on the significance of Harold Bloom's book The Anxiety of Influence, and its applications in musicology, followed by wider thoughts on the aesthetics of influence in music (with a few references to my work on Weinberg). Please find my paper abstract below:

Daniel Elphick, The Influence of Anxiety
Harold Bloom’s theories of influence in poetry are well known and many scholars have sought to apply them to wider fields of art. His aggressive vision of artistic influence has new authors ‘appropriate’ their predecessors’ works leading to an Oedipal elimination of the father-figure of influence. Bloom’s theories have proved highly significant in musicology, but also problematic. This paper seeks to give a brief overview of Bloom’s writings and move to a review of Musicologists’ attempts to utilise his theories as set out in the book The Anxiety of Influence. It becomes apparent that these cannot be easily adapted to music since they perpetuate the contested concept of ‘originality as progress’. I seek to demonstrate this with short case studies of friendships between composers that cannot be easily moulded to fit alongside Bloom’s aggressive writings. With these, I suggest a new template of musical influence, utilising thoughts from T.S. Eliot, Benjamin Britten and several others authors simultaneously calling for a reassessment of this complex issue from the perspective of musicology.

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