Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Emily Wilbourne

Committee Members

Scott Burnham

Emily I. Dolan

Joseph N. Straus

Subject Categories



Instruments, Brass Instruments, Horn, Embodiment, Bodies, Performance


Roland Barthes famously described the “grain” as “the body in the voice as it sings, the hand as it writes, the limb as it performs.” Stated simply, this project asks What is the body in the horn as it sounds? Instrumentality is typically understood as extension and expression beyond the boundaries of the body; brass instrument musicking, however, begins not where the sound emerges from the bell, but at the very least at the meeting point of the player’s breath, the surfaces of the body, and the tube of the instrument. This project of instrumental incorporation understands music as a place where bodies technological and corporeal, real and conjectural meet. Using perspectives from critical organology, embodiment, disability studies, voice studies, and performance-based approaches, I examine the technologies and techniques of bodies and instruments in four case studies in the hornist's repertoire: Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony; Brahms’s Trio for Piano, Violin, and Waldhorn; Messiaen’s “Appel interstellaire”; and Ligeti’s Trio. I propose that the sounding of this repertoire be understood as composing and re-composing intercorporeal encounters and articulations, weaving polyphonic connections between instrumental and bodily techniques and technologies, and revealing multiple and contingent voices at work when we make music.

Included in

Musicology Commons