This in-progress exploration considers both some relationships between sounding and silent formants in music and the compositional idea of spectral aggregates. Using poststructuralist lenses and also interpretive spectrographic techniques informed by music theorist Robert Cogan, it offers a reading of Laurie Anderson’s 1982 hit “O Superman” that connects the aforementioned concerns of timbre with interpretive processes of musical meaning. In doing so, it contributes to the expanding musicological considerations of timbre beyond its physical, psychoacoustic, and orchestrational aspects.
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