Re: Disembodiement (Re: encouraging polemics and reflection)

Subject: Re: Disembodiement (Re: encouraging polemics and reflection)
From: DG Malham (
Date: Mon Feb 15 1999 - 12:12:25 EST

On Sat, 13 Feb 1999, Douglas Doherty wrote:

> Paul Rudy said
> >We have been trained since the invention and wide commercial use of the
> >telephone (sometime 75 years ago or more, i'm not exactly sure), to
> >accept the disembodied the voice.
> This seems to me to be technological literalism, and not strictly correct.
> We have been hearing disembodied voices for CENTURIES; some of Athanasius
> Kircher's devices, choirs and orchestras off etc.

I have to disagree with this - IMHO these are not truly disembodied,
merely distant. I understand what you are getting at, but those sounds
exist within a true, three dimensional, acoustic context whereas what
happened when, well over a hundred years ago, the phone was invented (and
even more so when the gramophone was developed a little later) was that we
suddenly were faced with 'remoted' (in space or time) sounds which were
largely shorn of their true acoustic context and thus truly disembodied.
Recording engineers have tried for many years to find ways to put it back
and have not yet fully suceeded - even with Ambisonis, tho' it's close. On
the other hand, ea composers have been (and are, and will) having a great
time exploiting and exploring all the possibilities the technology has
given us.


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