M4C Logo AHRC Logo

Aidan Teplitzky

Music, Birmingham City University

Thesis title:

Working Class-ical Music: Embodying Working-Class Identity within Compositional Practice

There has been a reduction in current discourse concerning class in the UK. This has led to the establishment of a ‘class ceiling’ to opportunity (Friedman and Laurison, 2020), and education (Reay, 2017; Reay and Lucey, 2020). The reduction of working-class presence across industries (e.g. media) has resulted in a limited and stereotyped representation of working-classness in arts and culture (de Waal, 2018; BBC, 2020). This can be seen in documentary series’ such as Benefits Street (Benedictus et al., 2017; Harrison et al., 2020) and the use of working-class aesthetics in the fashion industry (e.g. Models: Street to Catwalk) (Brown, 2019; Jeffries, 2020). Whilst a limited representation of working-classness has been examined within the performance and culture of classical music (Bull, 2019; Born, 2010) there has been a paucity of research examining working-classness beyond its use as subject matter (e.g. Rough Voices by Higgins (2020) and Greek by Turnage (Schotts Publishing, 1988)).

My PhD will examine how the embodying of working-classness within compositional practice can provide original creative developments to the field. I am a composer from a working-class background. In working within contemporary classical music, I have noticed a lack of new compositions that consider working-class identities alongside recent developments in identity-based compositional practices (e.g. BAME identities).

This practice-based research project will generate a folio of new compositions that explore the creative possibilities working-classness can have on compositional practices through interdisciplinary methods.


Research Area

  • Composition
  • Music

Conferences

Midlands Music Research Network Conference Proposal
19/04/2021

Just Enough: affect in compositional practice

 Key Words:

Working-classness, Affect, Composition, Value

I am a doctoral researcher at RBC exploring the creative potential of embodying working-classness in new interdisciplinary compositions. Working-classness can be understood through considerations of the affectual significance of cultural artefacts (Stallybrass, 1998; Skeggs, 2011). Inherited Jewellery, ornaments, and other antiques by the working-classes hold a relational value embodying the memories of family and friends. Derived from Skeggs' concept of 'Person Value' in recontextualising working-class identities, affectual value focuses on the evaluation of objects/cultural practices through the "gift of attention over time" (Skeggs, 2011: 505 emphasis in original). In my practice-based research exploring the embodying of working-classness in classical music, the idea of affectual value is considered in relation to compositional processes. In this paper I will explore the use of affect in the work of Grayson Perry in relation to my composition "Just Enough" to analyse the creative potential of affect on compositional practice and what this offers in embodying working-classness in classical music. By exploring the translation of subjective evaluations to compositional language, I aim to open a dialogue in exploring the creative potential of recontextualizing economic adversity as resourcefulness born from alternative cultural practices and what this may mean for future creative activity.

2nd International Working Class Academics Conference 
13/07/2021

Get to the _ _ _ _ing point:

Embodying the affectual value of swearing in compositional language

Key Words:
Working-classness, Affect, Composition

I am a composer whose work explores the creative potential of embodying working classness in new interdisciplinary compositions. As part of my inquiries I am examining the significance of swearing in relation to working-class identity. Swearing can be perceived as an attack on authority. For others as a sign of low intelligence and illiteracy. In reflecting on my own use of swearing and its use by other working-class individuals, I consider it to hold a greater meaning than either of these understandings. However, I am aware of the complex nuance that exists in the use of swearing and the challenges of expressing this nuance within creative outputs. In my practice-based research exploring the embodying of working-classness in classical music, the idea of affectual value is considered in relation to compositional processes. Derived from Skeggs' concept of 'Person Value' in recontextualising working-class identities, affectual value focuses on the evaluation of objects/cultural practices through the "gift of attention over time" (Skeggs, 2011: 505 emphasis in original).

In this paper presentation I will be sharing my piece "_ _ _ _" and analysing how I have encapsulated the affectual value of swearing through considerations of censorship and intent. By exploring the translation of subjective considerations to compositional language, I aim to open a dialogue in exploring the creative potential of working-classness and the original creative opportunities to be found within this research.

Irish Working Class Studies Conference
11/11/2021

Get to the _ _ _ _ing point:

Embodying the affectual value of swearing in compositional language

Key Words:
Working-classness, Affect, Composition

Public Engagement & Impact

"What Is Your Working Class" podcast season 1 - 31/03/2021 to 08/09/2021

"Almost Achilles, Always the Heel" performed as part of the Glasgow Barons Live performance of The Air Inbetween & Live Today - 29/10/2021 - Drygate, Glasgow