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Sound Ideas: Music, Machines, and Experience

Aden Evens
Volume: 27
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Sound Ideas
    Book Description:

    Aden Evens provides an acute consideration of how music becomes sensible, advancing original variations on the themes of creativity and habit, analog and digital technologies, and improvisation and repetition. Sound Ideas reinvents the philosophy of music in a way that encompasses traditional aspects of musicology, avant-garde explorations of music's relation to noise and silence, and the consequences of digitization.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9708-3
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xvii)
  5. ONE Sound and Noise
    (pp. 1-25)

    WHAT IS HEARING? To hear is to experience air pressure changing. Waves of pressure propagate from the sound source, causing over time a fluctuation of the air pressure in the surrounding space, pressure rising and falling at each point, now higher, now lower, more compressed, then more rarefied. The wave of pressure travels through the air, into the outer ear, causing the eardrum to fluctuate in step with the air. For a sound to be hearable by human ears, its fluctuation must be relatively rapid: at least fifteen times per second the pressure must rise and fall. The rate of...

  6. TWO Sound and Time
    (pp. 26-61)

    WHAT WALLACE STEVENS MEANS is that sound is rhythm, “The blackbird whistling / Or just after.” Sound is always thus articulated, punctuated, it starts and stops. He does not prefer one to the other, the blackbird whistling or just after, inflection or innuendo, because a sound does not go away when it stops, nor does it begin without dragging its genesis along. Innuendo persists in inflection, and inflection in innuendo. If innuendo—frominnuere,to nod at—if innuendo nods at something, then this is precisely an inflection: attention, following the nod, is directed elsewhere, inflected or bent from its...

  7. THREE Sound and Digits
    (pp. 62-125)

    FIFTY YEARS AGO, around the time when computers became machines, Martin Heidegger questioned concerning technology. In a primordial sense, the essence of technology, says Heidegger, is to bring something about(poeisis),to send something into the light of being. What technology lights up is how things work. When we do things with it, technology pits forces against each other and pools them together in order to solve our problems and so serve our ends. As such, technology reveals those forces it brings to bear, those problems it addresses, and those ends it serves; it brings them forth into presence. Heidegger’s...

  8. FOUR Making Music
    (pp. 126-174)

    OUR FICTIONS warn of the dangers of technology. In the typical scenario, the technology achieves an autonomy and turns against its users, whose hubris, indolence, or avarice spelled their doom from the start. In the case of the computer, its eschatologies depict its triumph over humans via a simulation so effective that it comes to produce reality.¹ George Orwell’s forecast is not so much inaccurate when he titles his book1984; rather, he sees already in the origins of the computer its telos: a binary machine that dictates reality. “War Is Peace; Freedom Is Slavery; Ignorance Is Strength”: the arbitrary...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 175-192)
  10. Works Cited
    (pp. 193-196)
  11. Index
    (pp. 197-204)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 205-205)