Marie’s article ‘Creaking, Growling: Feminine Noisiness and Vocal Fry in the Music of Joan LaBarbara and Runhild Gammelsaeter’ is now available. It’s published in Volume 37, SOUND?NOISE!VOICE! of the feminist art journal, N.Paradoxa. Copies of the journal are available to purchase here. A text-only version of the article can be found here.
Here’s the article’s abstract:
In recent years, much media attention has been paid to the phenomenon of ‘vocal fry’ – a creaking, growling affectation that occurs when the voice is in its lowest register. Vocal fry has been understood as a specifically feminine affliction. Yet this vocalisation is neither new nor gender specific; indeed, vocal fry has long been used in music as a means of aiding expressivity and generating unusual vocal sonorities. In this article, Marie Thompson interrogates the phenomenon of vocal fry and its use as a musical resource. She argues that vocal fry, as it has been characterised in recent accounts by ‘feminist’ and media commentators, connects to a historical lineage of ‘feminised’ noise. In Eurocentric cultures, feminine vocal qualities and speech have long been admonished as ‘noisy’ – that is, unwanted, irritating, meaningless and damaging. She also examines vocal fry’s utilisation in music in relation to the work of Joan LaBarbara and Runhild Gammelsæter: arguing that if LaBarbara extends the creak, Gammelsæter extends the growl. Consequently, Marie Thompson proposes that LaBarbara and Gammelsæter’s work can be interpreted as alluding to the connections between noise and femininity.