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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Christopher Ballantine’s focus is on timbre, in particular the timbre of the singing voice, and how this combines with the imagination to create meaning. His investigation is largely philosophical; but the growth in popularity of opera in post-apartheid South Africa provides empirical means for Ballantine to indicate this powerful but analytically neglected way of creating meaning in the performance of music. His case study shows how timbre can produce musical experiences that have a particular, and often surprising, resonance. Through interviews with leading figures in South African opera, Ballantine demonstrates that timbre is a vital wellspring of imagined meaning; it should especially be seen thus if we seek to understand the singing voice in a sociopolitical context such as that of South Africa during and after apartheid.

Keywords: timbre, meaning, opera, singing voice, apartheid, subjectivity, metaphor, resonance, signifiance, supplement

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