The uncanny valley in contemporary music
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The uncanny valley theory explores the particular disturbance felt towards an entity in relation to the degree of human-likeness that is portrayed through that entity’s anthropomorphic traits. Although the concept initially emerged from the field of robotics, its far-reaching influence on aesthetics became notably manifest in art. On the other hand, this aesthetic understanding also had roots in an earlier, seminal concept referred to as the uncanny (das Unheimliche). Within this context, this thesis will first of all outline the critical relationship between the uncanny and uncanny valley concepts under the overarching topic of uncanny aesthetics. The primary objective of this thesis will be to identify the various occurrences of the uncanny valley effect in contemporary music. For this purpose, the causal factors of the phenomenon has been divided into seven categories, being Bodily Appearance, Bodily Motion (Gesture, Facial Expression, Corporeality), Speech, Voice, Persona, Crossmodal Mismatch, and Fiction. Each category and subcategory will be matched with a pertinent example from contemporary music, followed by a discussion on the emotional and contextual significances of the specified categories within those works. Ultimately, this thesis intends to draw a historical correlation between uncanny aesthetics and the various artistic approaches that can be observed in the referenced contemporary music works.