Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Genres develop as historical narratives are created: the narrative pinpoints certain
bands and "eras" as markers of the style. In the case of avant rock, the narrative
repeatedly relies on a language of "hybridity." This language forms the foundation for
how the bands influential to the avant rock genre are interpreted and discussed by critics,
biographers, and fans. The introduction suggests "origins" for the high artllow art
discourse that carries over into the avant rock discourse. Chapter Two examines the
associations between the Velvet Underground and influential members of the avant garde
art world, such as Andy Warhol, John Cage, and La Monte Young. These interactions in
turn feed the high artllow art narrative that makes the Velvet Underground an appropriate
"point-of-origin" band for avant rock. Chapter Three examines the avant garde
background of some of the Sonic Youth band members, and the band's interactions with
avant garde composers such as Glenn Branca. The band's position as a "Ieader-in-crisis"
also relies heavily on a high art/low art hybrid narrative in order to position Sonic Youth
as the "resolution" between high art/low art rivalries. The final chapter shifts focus to the
present discussion surrounding early twenty-first century bands, looking at how the
discourse is shaped around bands that fall into the avant rock category, and how the
discourse fluctuates in the process of carving out new categories, even as genealogies are
repeatedly invoked to support the existing genres.
Funke, Sarah, "AVANT ROCK'S HYBRID GENEALOGY: "ORIGINS," "BRIDGES," AND "MERGERS" ACROSS THE HIGH ART/LOW ART DIVIDE" (2007). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6523.
McMaster University Library