The Contemporary Literature-Music Relationship: Intermedia, Voice, Technology, Cross-Cultural Exchange, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Contemporary Literature-Music Relationship

Intermedia, Voice, Technology, Cross-Cultural Exchange, 1st Edition

By Hazel Smith


202 pages

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This book explores the relationship between words and music in contemporary texts, examining, in particular, the way that new technologies are changing the literature-music relationship. It brings an eclectic and novel range of interdisciplinary theories to the area of musico-literary studies, drawing from the fields of semiotics, disability studies, musicology, psychoanalysis, music psychology, emotion and affect theory, new media, cosmopolitanism, globalization, ethnicity and biraciality. Chapters range from critical analyses of the representation of music and the musical profession in contemporary novels to examination of the forms and cultural meanings of contemporary intermedia and multimedia works. The book argues that conjunctions between words and music create emergent structures and meanings that can facilitate culturally transgressive and boundary- interrogating effects. In particular, it conceptualises ways in which word-music relationships can facilitate cross-cultural exchange as musico-literary miscegenation, using interracial sexual relationships as a metaphor. Smith also inspects the dynamics of improvisation and composition, and the different ways they intersect with performance. Furthermore, the book explores the huge changes that computer-based real-time algorithmic text and music generation are making to the literature-music nexus. This volume provides fascinating insight into the relationship between literature and music, and will be of interest to those fields as well as New Media and Performance Studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Literature-Music Relationship: Past, Present and Future 1. Musical Imaginaries, Disability and the Real in Vikram Seth’s An Equal Music 2. Glocal Imaginaries and Musical Displacements in Richard Powers’s The Time of Our Singing 3. Voice, Improvisation, Cross-culturality 4. The Rhythm of Living: Kurt Elling’s songtalk 5. The Voice in Computer Music and its Relationship to Place, Identity and Community 6. New Media Miscegenations: Sound and Screen Synergies in New Media Writing Coda

About the Author

Hazel Smith is a Research Professor in the Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University. She is author of The Writing Experiment: strategies for innovative creative writing, Hyperscapes in the Poetry of Frank O’Hara: difference, homosexuality, topography and other academic books. Hazel is also a poet, performer and new media artist. Her website is at

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies