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Sound Unseen: Acousmatic Sound in Theory and Practice (Paperback)
  • Sound Unseen: Acousmatic Sound in Theory and Practice (Paperback)
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Sound Unseen: Acousmatic Sound in Theory and Practice (Paperback)

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£21.99
Paperback 336 Pages / Published: 06/10/2016
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Sound coming from outside the field of vision, from somewhere beyond, holds a privileged place in the Western imagination. When separated from their source, sounds seem to manifest transcendent realms, divine powers, or supernatural forces. According to legend, the philosopher Pythagoras lectured to his disciples from behind a veil, and two thousand years later, in the age of absolute music, listeners were similarly fascinated with disembodied sounds, employing various techniques to isolate sounds from their sources. With recording and radio came spatial and temporal separation of sounds from sources, and new ways of composing music. Sound Unseen: Acousmatic Sound in Theory and Practice explores the phenomenon of acousmatic sound. An unusual and neglected word, "acousmatic" was first introduced into modern parlance in the mid-1960s by avant garde composer of musique concrete Pierre Schaeffer to describe the experience of hearing a sound without seeing its cause. Working through, and often against, Schaeffer's ideas, Brian Kane presents a powerful argument for the central yet overlooked role of acousmatic sound in music aesthetics, sound studies, literature, philosophy and the history of the senses. Kane investigates acousmatic sound from a number of methodological perspectives - historical, cultural, philosophical and musical - and provides a framework that makes sense of the many surprising and paradoxical ways that unseen sound has been understood. Finely detailed and thoroughly researched, Sound Unseen pursues unseen sounds through a stunning array of cases - from Bayreuth to Kafka's "Burrow," Apollinaire to Zizek, music and metaphysics to architecture and automata, and from Pythagoras to the present-to offer the definitive account of acousmatic sound in theory and practice. The first major study in English of Pierre Schaeffer's theory of "acousmatics," Sound Unseen is an essential text for scholars of philosophy of music, electronic music, sound studies, and the history of the senses.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780190632212
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 482 g
Dimensions: 236 x 156 x 19 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Much in this substantive book will resonate with the reader after the concluding page is turned. Recommended. * Choice *
The driving force behind Sound Unseen is Kane's argument for a historical, subject-centered theory of acousmatic sound-one that doesn't privilege a particular musical aesthetic, one that doesn't essentialize technologies, and one that admits a consideration of sounds emanating from the interiority of the subjective consciousness...Kane's traversal of the transdisciplinary landscape is graceful and his approach offers a healthy perspective for the field of music research more generally. * Landon Morrison, Society for Music Theory *
Kane uncovers a history of acousmatic sound independent of the legacy of Schaeffer and Pythagoras in order to articulate a rather distinct approach to the study of sound that transcends the divisions between musicology and sound studies...[Sound Unseen] is an essential text for scholars of the philosophy of music, electronic music, sound studies, and phenomenology. * Journal of Sonic Studies *
Kane's methodology is multi-disciplinary, analysing a variety of cases. * Neural *
Brian Kane...has in Sound Unseen written the definitive explanatory tract on the acousmatic. * The Wire *
Sound Unseen is both successful and provocative precisely because of these constructive dissonances. It is a rare book that can put thinkers as diverse as P. F. Strawson or Bertrand Russell on the same page with Derrida or Heidegger, especially with Kane's unassuming clarity. Furthermore, Kane shows how music studies and philosophy can speak to each other when they are conceived as mutually supplemental * questions about sound infect philosophical questions, and thus a musical answer becomes a philosophical answer. Finally, Kane's tone deserves special mention, as it untangles knotty philosophical questions with remarkably accessible language: despite the density of his topics, his prose treads lightly and patiently, requiring little philosophical acumen yet rewarding those who may have it. *
Sound Unseen represents a significant contribution to the field of voice studies...Brian Kane succeeds in developing a cogent and flexible explanatory paradigm for acousmatic sound that is clear without being reductive. Kane's account of acousmatic sound allows one to situate the practices of listening within their historical and cultural contexts...Scrupulously researched and conceptually virtuosic, Sound Unseen asks us to rethink the way we listen. * Journal of Musicological Research *
Kane effectively decenters the privileged position of Schaefferian accounts in present discourse and opens the door to a broader survey of acousmatic listening practices spanning a variety of sociohistorical situations...Without doubt, Kane's book makes a significant contribution to existing literature on acousmatic sound, and it is necessary reading for anyone interested in exploring the fertile intersection of music, sound, and philosophy. * Music Theory Online *

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