Re: Quick guide to postmodernism (was: Re: Gibson

Subject: Re: Quick guide to postmodernism (was: Re: Gibson
From: Kevin Austin (
Date: Wed Oct 05 2005 - 01:21:37 EDT

>I think what Kevin wants to do is take hearing apart the way (eg)
>cubism in some way takes vision apart. But I think this can only be
>done through metaphor and analogy, and I';ve never been clear on K's
>stand about this.

I think I am proposing a model based upon many of the concepts
articulated by ASA. Metaphor and analogy work in the domain of
(social / personal) memory as far as I can tell.

One way of thinking here is to provide three 'areas': the physical
(acoustics), the psychometric (psychoacoustics) and the memory. I
don't find them as neatly cut up as the words imply. I can describe
the acoustics, and propose models for the psychoacoustic.

IME, metaphor and analogy are extremely personal. If my first
experience with a particular sound was in a violently traumatic
context, my metaphors and analogies would likely be violent and
disturbed. IMV, this is not a function of "the sound", but a function
of how my brain processes / sorts / classifies the sound.

Today in classes, I played the top C on a piano. Several times. I
asked the class if they heard "a" sound. After a short while I damped
the vibration and what was left was the noisy attack transient.

Slowly I lifted my fingers off the string while continuing to play
the note. The ringing of the high C slowly began to be heard.

I asked the class if they (now) heard one sound or two. The consensus
seems to have been "two". It was a practical demonstration of
integration and segregation, and demonstrated that it is possible to
integrate (in ASA terms) two quite different qualities of sound.

If I were teaching a Communications Studies class, I would ask them
what it means. Were I teaching a philosophy class I would ask them
what it means to ask someone what it means.

I do not find that cubism takes vision apart. For this I would
recommend very very clean acid.

For me ... what has music got to do with sound?

>It's problematic to me that Kevin doesn't want to say "music" but
>instead says "studies."

I take this to be about "electroacoustic studies", rather than
speaking about "electroacoustic music". There are many people who
have difficulties when I won't use the word "music", but I seem to
have difficulty when they won't tell me what they mean by it.

Eliot, does music need to be listened to, or is it enough for it to
(simply) be heard? What are some of the parameters of "music"? You
and I are listening to the Mozart G Minor Symphony in my car. A long
freight train goes by. Have you 'missed' any of the music?

Would you care to give a "musical" commentary of the news as it comes
from a loudspeaker? Electroacoustic studies (as I propose the use of
the term) includes everything that 'comes out of' a loudspeaker
(electrical signal transduced to acoustic signal).

The boundary of this definition is pretty clear. If you have a
clearer one that encompasses all sounds from a loudspeaker, I'm
prepared to seriously contemplate it. It's been half a decade and
10,000 emails, and no one (as far as I can tell) has proposed another
adequately broad and adequately clear definition.

>Mondrian IS painting, and I don't see why any analysis of what
>hearing is like could be knowable as anything but music.

That's fine. Right now there is the hum of the computer fans, the
click of the keys and my tinnitus. Is this knowable to you as music?
If I were able to, I would give all three to you on a permanent basis.



This archive was generated by hypermail 2b27 : Sat Dec 22 2007 - 01:46:12 EST