Razor Lemon: Metaphors and Narrative in the Process of Creating Music

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Alexander Bie
4. term, Music, Master (Master Programme)
In this paper I propose that musicians and producers, through the use of metaphors, establish underlying narratives during the creation of music. These constructed narratives relate to the process of music creation, as well as to music itself. As such, the narratives directly influence the way the creators and the listeners perceive and experience the songs, and have a direct influence on the sound of the music, both on the record and in a live context. Each individual has their own circumstances for interpretation based on their personal backgrounds. In order to validify this proposal I have created a metaphorbased model for interpreting narratives in music as well as the process of creating the music by combining cognitive metaphor theory, blending theory and narrative theory.

This paper is both theoretical and practical, and as such I dive into philosophical points of discussion in terms of the incorporation of metaphor in not just the way that we talk about music, but as a determining factor in the way we ultimately understand and experience music. Furthermore, extensive theoretical discussions about the anthropological research method of ethnography and the challenges that it presents when observing and examining highly advanced social worlds, such as studio sessions, illuminate the limitations and possibilities of social research methods in general.

In order to collect empirical evidence on which to base my analysis, I have conducted an autoethnographic field research based on my own band, Maaneland, in which I have observed the band during practice, studio and mixing sessions. The field work is primarily located in Studio Communale in Skanderborg over a period of three days. Being a founding member of the band establishes my position as a complete member tesearcher, affording me uncompromised access to the field and as such a deep insight into the intricacies of the field through a unique situation of observing, as well as access to several different versions of the bands tracks.

Following the methodological and theoretical discussions of this paper I carry out the analysis, which is primarily based on the empirical evidence that collected through the field research. Through the structures outlined by the model for interpreting narratives in and relating to music I analyse various versions of Maaneland tracks 'Nordjyske Motorvej' and 'Familie' supplemented by empirical evidence in the shape of conversations and supplementary recordings of our practice sessions. The analysis illustrates that narrative can directly influence the decisions that musicians and producers make when creating music, expressed by a tendency to gravitate towards sound design, arrangement and overall feeling of the music that correlates with the underlying narrative.

I advocate the idea that musicians and producers, sometimes without being aware of it, structure underlying narratives relating to music creation as well as to music itself. The narratives are highly influential in regards to the way the music turns out. Although a lot of criticisms can be directed at the autoethnographic method, I argue that it presents a valid way of obtaining unique, qualitative empirical evidence when examining advanced social worlds.
SpecialisationPopular Music and Sound Production
Publication date2022
Number of pages72
ID: 471676708