Dr. Art. Thesis
My Dr. Art. thesis 'Reservation Rock: Songs from the Leningrad Rock Club 1981-86'‚ studies rock Leningrad before Perestroika brought on the rock boom of the late 1980s. The thesis addresses two main problem areas. The first is the relationship between the Leningrad rock environment and the various incarnations of Soviet power. Here, it challenges the traditional approach to rock as a form of political counterculture and proposes a different perspective for approaching alternative culture in totalitarian societies. The second is the question of Russian rock's 'russianness'. Here, my work seeks to transcend the traditional division of Russian rock songs into a western musical and a Russian lyrical part, situating the lyrics within a broader rock tradition and considering the possibility of Russian musical traits.
The approach is interdisciplinary, comprising sociology, musicology and literary studies. The sociological background includes a historical account of Leningrad rock from the 1960s to the1980s, with a special emphasis on the LRC, the fanzine Roksi and the AnTrop recording studio. The fieldwork was made in St. Petersburg over three months in the fall of 2001 and six weeks in spring 2002. Musicians, critics, rock club council members and other key persons were interviewed (seven interview transcripts can be found here).
Songs by four different Leningrad Rock Club (LRC) bands were subjected to musical-lyrical analyses. The musical analyses are based on the Philip Tagg's method for non-musicologists, which utilises popular competence as an analytic basis.
The supervisors for this project were: Professor of Russian Literature Jostein Børtnes, at the Dept. of Russian Studies, Bergen University; Ethnomusicologist Dr. Hans Weisethaunet, at the Grieg Academy, Bergen University; and Professor of Musicology Philip Tagg, Faculté de Musique, Université de Montréal.
The project was financed by the Norwegian Research Council (NFR). It was publicly defended at Bergen University on 12th November 2004.