Accepted Paper:

Trajectories of lament: sonic speficities and shifting dynamics of affect   


Korina Giaxoglou (Kingston University London )

Paper short abstract:

This paper calls for the study of the poetics of discourse circulation and affect, based on an eclectic analysis of the sonic specificities of pain and violence in the register of lament, from ‘traditional’ Maniat lament performances to the vocal performances of Diamanda Galas.

Paper long abstract:

This paper focuses on the sonic specificities of laments, broadly defined as mourning performances of grief expressed along a speech-song continuum. More specifically, the paper examines the acoustics of pain and violence in the register of lament (Seremetakis, 1991, pp.118-120). The starting point for the discussion is the Inner Maniat lament (Greece, South Peloponnese) and its multiple trajectories. From 'traditional' rituals to ordinary communicative events of local significance to contemporary vocal performances by the avant-garde composer and musician Diamanda Galas who creatively draws on the lament register in her compositions, the affective dynamics of the lament register shift constantly. Specific features of rhythm, intonation, tempo and breathing that serve as markers of those different, though interrelated types of lament performance indexed by and at the same time, indexing varying levels of emotional intensity are identified and discussed. The present analysis, combining linguistic, narrative and ethnopoetic analytic tools, argues for the continuing force of lamenting in manifold guises and calls for the systematic study of the discursive and vocal delicacies of the poetics of its circulation beyond 'traditional' contexts of grief and mourning.

Panel W003
Saying the unspeakable: the uses of voice in the narration of traumatic events