Delian Modes: Listening for Delia Derbyshire in Histories of Electronic Dance Music


  • Frances Morgan Royal College of Art



Delia Derbyshire, BBC Radiophonic Workshop, electronica, feminist histories, archival practice, music blogging, music journalism, hauntology, fan studies


This paper examines the work of English composer and sound designer Delia Derbyshire (1937-2001) in the context of histories of EDM and historical accounts of women in electronic music. Examining the media discourse around Derbyshire, whose reputation has grown significantly since her death, I consider how Derbyshire has come to be regarded posthumously as both a pioneering electronic composer and a forerunner of dance music and electronica in the UK. I consider how these identities are related to her gender, and how gender is constructed and expressed in the discourse around her life and work, with reference to the musical-critical phenomenon of hauntology.