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'The Rock is Still Rolling': Camus' Absurdity and the Music of Satie

Ilango, Nimishi (2016) 'The Rock is Still Rolling': Camus' Absurdity and the Music of Satie. MA by research thesis, University of York.

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It is nigh on impossible to find examples of musicological scholarship that have correlated Western art music to the philosophical concept of absurdity as theorised by Albert Camus. Erik Satie’s music has characteristics that can be related to aspects of absurdity, despite pre-dating Camus’ theory. Much of the theory of absurdity will come from Camus’ extended essay entitled The Myth of Sisyphus (1942), which delineates his thinking on absurdity as part of the human condition: essentially that life is rendered meaningless by its unceasing, repetitive cycles. My thesis will focus on two of Satie’s works in relation to absurdity, Socrate and Vexations. Their characteristic features, such as repetition and immobility, bear a striking resemblance to the corresponding plays of the Theatre of the Absurd. The term for this category of plays and their grouping was coined by Martin Esslin, whose comparison of absurdity to another art form has been invaluable in the formulation of my own methodology. Whilst Satie may not have written in a consciously absurd way, ultimately I aim to reveal that a new and illuminating reading of Satie’s music can be generated through the lens of absurdity.

Item Type: Thesis (MA by research)
Academic Units: The University of York > Music (York)
Depositing User: Miss Nimishi Ilango
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2017 08:20
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2017 08:20
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/18109

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