Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Herstory: A study into the representation of women, explored through composition

McPhee, Lucy 2022. Herstory: A study into the representation of women, explored through composition. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
Item availability restricted.

[thumbnail of Volume I]
PDF (Volume I) - Accepted Post-Print Version
Download (4MB) | Preview
[thumbnail of Volume II]
PDF (Volume II) - Accepted Post-Print Version
Download (76MB) | Preview
[thumbnail of Cardiff University Electronic Publication Form] PDF (Cardiff University Electronic Publication Form) - Supplemental Material
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (1MB)


Throughout European and Christian history, the act of representing female figures in a creative context has been largely undertaken by men. My exploration indicates that female figures are often underrepresented or misrepresented throughout history with popular views today still heavily influenced by a patriarchal society. This PhD aims to explore the representation of female figures, as well as female health and social issues from my perspective as a woman, through a portfolio of music compositions. I have presented two pieces exploring each figure, each piece offers a different perspective. Figures examined include Mary, the mother of Jesus; Mary Magdalene and Eve from the Bible; Kassiani, a Byzantine poet, composer and hymnographer; as well as Blodeuwedd, Arianrhod and Branwen from The Mabinogi (Welsh Folklore stories). One piece in each pair aims to explore the traditional presentation of these characters, which involves accepting male ideas. The other piece then takes on one of the two forms. The piece either reimagines the story from my own perspective and lived experiences as a woman, alternatively, I consider research done whilst writing the piece. In these cases, the research suggests that the initial representation is incorrect. More recent works in the portfolio explore topics that are taboo, such as maternal mental health and disability, chronic pain or illness. These topics are becoming more frequently discussed in the media, however, are still seldom discussed in general discourse. This PhD also examines my own compositional practice and its development, my use of ciphers and modes (amongst other technical issues), addressing how they have changed through this process. I explored how I use these devices to aid the programmatic elements of my music, as well as the development from instrumental programmatic music to instrumental music which includes text.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 March 2023
Date of Acceptance: 22 March 2023
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2024 08:05

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics