The rhetoric of rock: the stylistics of amplified sound

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


Vesntik TSU. Philology. 2013

The rhetoric of rock: the stylistics of amplified sound

Author: David Cocksey

About the author:

David Cocksey,
Dr. Philol. Sci., Head of English Language Institute, Jean-Francois Champollion University Centre, Albi (France)


This article postulates rock music as a palimpsest in which artists’ musical discourse builds upon a pre-existing and renewable technological score composed of electronic components chosen to produce particular sonic effects within boundaries which constitute musical genres. These components can be considered as micro- or macrostructural figures within musical discourse, and as such enable sound to be replicated or imitated in the same way as a literary pastiche. Like a musical score, the rhetoric which arises from the combination of these figures can be read visually in the form of circuit diagrams, pictorial representations and even the instruments themselves. The latter are visual shorthand for their own sonic properties, and so frequently become a part of groups’ stage scenography or discursive ethos.