The new aural actuality: an exploration of music, sound and meaning in the composed feature documentary podcast

PhD Thesis

Horner, B. 2019. The new aural actuality: an exploration of music, sound and meaning in the composed feature documentary podcast. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University School of Creative Arts and Industries
AuthorsHorner, B.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification namePhD

This practice-led thesis explores the creative techniques and philosophies used in composing feature documentary podcasts and how listeners engage with the material and make meaning from it. Podcasting as a medium presents a new and so far unexplored way of interfacing with audio documentary and this study works to demonstrate crucial differences from radio practice in terms of intention and expression,how material is made, consideration for its audience, and how its programmes are distributed. Using post-structural theory, specifically Deleuze and Guattari’s ideas on interconnected networks of affective transmission, podcasting’s relationship to radio is explored, as is how listeners make meaning through their interaction with both the heard material and the devices upon which it is accessed. These theories are then applied to the characteristically open remit of the audio documentary to study how speech, music, sound and silence may be understood to generate meaning, emotion and a sense of immersion in the listener. It is suggested that modes of programme access, listening customs, and interpretational symbolism work together to impart information vital to the ability to connote and denote what is being heard, and that in this way the composed feature can be situated very closely to musical practice and engagement. Taking cues from musical and cinematic analytical practice three podcast programmes are closely scrutinised for an understanding of their constituent material, structural shape, and potential affective transmissions, beforeinterviewswith their producers are presented to discuss conceptual intentions and execution. Six programmes are presented as the practice component of the thesis, each made to experiment with and reflect upon different aspects of creative or listening practice, with conclusions drawn concerning their implications and effectiveness.

KeywordsPodcasts; Podcasting; Radio; Documentary podcasts; Interconnected networks; Transmission
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Publication process dates
Deposited20 Apr 2020
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