Hodgson, Samuel James (2022) Songs of Place : What techniques can songwriters use to portray place in song? Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The focus of the following thesis is to examine the techniques that songwriters can use to portray place through song.

The research involved in discovering and analysing these techniques was approached from two perspectives. Firstly, through the examination of ten place-inspired songwriters and then through the exploration of myself as a place-inspired songwriter. The songwriters examined for this research are: Björk, Darkstar, Jarvis Cocker, Paul Simon, Richard Hawley, Sigur Rós, Sufjan Stevens, The Magnetic North, Tinariwen, and Toby Martin. Data was collected by cross-referencing what the songwriters say about their process with the music and lyrics in their place-inspired songs. Through the data patterns emerged which suggested some techniques were used more frequently than others. This led to the identification of eight prominent place-based songwriting techniques. I then used those techniques to write my own songs, all the while reflecting on my process through journals and evaluations.

The findings are discussed qualitatively throughout this thesis within sections. Each section is devoted to the understanding of one place-inspired songwriting technique. In Part One, for example, there is a section dedicated to the technique of drawing on landscape and climate in song. Then, Part Two, a corresponding section explores how I have used that technique to produce new place-inspired songs.

This thesis aims to be a guide for future place-inspired songwriters. The hope, through extrapolation, is that a Part Three might one day exist in which another songwriter would use this resource to create their own songs of place and write up their findings.

HODGSON - THESIS.pdf - Accepted Version
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