Delta Goodrem’s musical expression before, during, and after traumatic illness: an interdisciplinary analysis
AuthorSharp, Christine Audrey
AffiliationMelbourne Conservatorium of Music
Document TypeHonours thesis
Access StatusOnly available to University of Melbourne staff and students, login required
© 2020 Christine Audrey Sharp
While scholars of Western art music have begun analysing trauma directly, scholars of popular music have largely focused on what I call ‘indirect analyses’ of trauma through issues of consumerism and identity. Because trauma is at the heart of mainstream media narratives, I contend that scholars should directly research it in popular music. In this dissertation, I examine how popular music can be used to express a personal transformative experience resulting from trauma. I analyse Australian popstar/singer-songwriter Delta Goodrem’s transformative experience as a result of traumatic illness, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, in her first three albums Innocent Eyes (2003), Mistaken Identity (2004), and Delta (2007). I employ an interdisciplinary approach using positive psychology’s Post-Traumatic Growth Theory (PTG) as an analytical lens to demonstrate how Goodrem’s transformation reveals issues of resilience, gender, and maturation. I argue that Goodrem’s musical expression in the albums reflects the three main areas of growth found in PTG: self-identity, relationships, and life philosophy. Until this research, no scholar has attempted to use PTG as an analytical framework for analysing trauma in music. This dissertation thus introduces PTG as a new theoretical concept to music studies and contributes to our understanding of how artists employ music to make sense of personal trauma.
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