Stockhausen's Influence on Popular Music: An Overview and A Case Study on Björk's Medúlla




Richardson, Claire Elizabeth

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Karlheinz Stockhausen’s innovations as a serialist and electronic music composer have not only captivated such composers as Brian Ferneyhough and Wolfgang Rihm, but those of popular genres as well. Indeed, such contemporary popular musicians as Björk, for example, cite him as an influence in their work. While there are numerous sources that address Stockhausen’s influence, an up-to-date overview of his presence in the popular realm has yet to be written in English. In this thesis, I provide such an overview, surveying the available literature on Stockhausen’s influence on popular musicians from the late 1960s to the 2010s. More specifically, I present a case study comparing Stockhausen’s work Stimmung (1968) to Björk’s almost entirely vocal album Medúlla (2004), as well as considering his profound influence on her music as a whole. Ultimately, this study will highlight the continuing importance of Stockhausen’s musical impact on popular musicians, while investigating in greater depth the specifics of his influence on Björk. As my findings will show, many popular musicians such as The Beatles and Pink Floyd have listed Stockhausen as an influence, but the presence of details of this influence is scarce in scholarly literature. My case study comparing Stimmung to Medúlla provides an example of such needed details and offers distinct evidence of his direct and indirect influences on Björk and her music.



Stockhausen, Björk, Popular music, Influence, Medúlla, Stimmung


Richardson, C. E. (2015). <i>Stockhausen's influence on popular Music: An overview and a case study on Björk's Medúlla</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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