Variations on a Theme: Reclaiming Feminine Agency with Tori Amos's <italic>Night of Hunters</italic>

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McLeland, Kara
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Middle Tennessee State University
For several decades music scholars have criticized the Western classical music canon for its failure to represent authentic female voices. This thesis demonstrates how Tori Amos's album <italic>Night of Hunters</italic> is an important work in reclaiming feminine agency in the canon. As a twenty-first century song cycle, <italic>Night of Hunters</italic> is a twofold variation on a theme. Literally, the album is based on existing pieces written by canonical composers. Figuratively, the album serves as a variation on the long-standing theme of masculine dominance in the canon. Amos establishes feminine agency in this album in very strategic ways: by drawing from subversive models, through the construction of matriarchal lineages and overt invocations of feminine spirituality and mythology, and with the practice of musical borrowing. Drawing on interdisciplinary feminist scholarship, this thesis considers <italic>Night of Hunters</italic> as a significant work in the ongoing negotiation of feminine agency in the Western classical musical canon.
Canon, Gender, Music, Night of Hunters, Tori Amos, Women