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Acoustics

Acoustics IntroductIon LMJ 22: Acoustics ound is a very physical thing. Admittedly, much music these days is crafted by ephemeral lines of code inside a computer instead of springing from vibrating strings, sputtering reeds or a diva’s lips. We listen through tiny earbuds or tinny cellphone speakers rather than from the plush seat of a concert hall. We dismiss much of the urban soundscape as mere noise and actively try to ignore it. But we can’t. Our ears have no lids, and even if they did, sound still buffets our entire bodies (think of the dance floor, orchestral FFF, fireworks or Formula 1). In such physicality lies not only sound’s power to please, awe or frighten but also the mechanism of meaning in music: The grammar of melody and harmony is rooted in ratios of the lengths of strings, air columns and pressure waves. Over the past century, composers have stretched that grammar to its limits. Serialists, minimalists, noise musicians and sound artists speak different languages but all reference the essential physics of sound—acoustics. The acoustical reality of sound, and its quirky interaction with our sense of hearing, periodically drives artists to return to the “year zero” in music—before http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Leonardo Music Journal MIT Press

Acoustics

Leonardo Music Journal , Volume December 2012 (22) – Dec 1, 2012

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Publisher
MIT Press
Copyright
© 2012 ISAST
Subject
Introduction
ISSN
0961-1215
eISSN
1531-4812
DOI
10.1162/LMJ_a_00083
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

IntroductIon LMJ 22: Acoustics ound is a very physical thing. Admittedly, much music these days is crafted by ephemeral lines of code inside a computer instead of springing from vibrating strings, sputtering reeds or a diva’s lips. We listen through tiny earbuds or tinny cellphone speakers rather than from the plush seat of a concert hall. We dismiss much of the urban soundscape as mere noise and actively try to ignore it. But we can’t. Our ears have no lids, and even if they did, sound still buffets our entire bodies (think of the dance floor, orchestral FFF, fireworks or Formula 1). In such physicality lies not only sound’s power to please, awe or frighten but also the mechanism of meaning in music: The grammar of melody and harmony is rooted in ratios of the lengths of strings, air columns and pressure waves. Over the past century, composers have stretched that grammar to its limits. Serialists, minimalists, noise musicians and sound artists speak different languages but all reference the essential physics of sound—acoustics. The acoustical reality of sound, and its quirky interaction with our sense of hearing, periodically drives artists to return to the “year zero” in music—before

Journal

Leonardo Music JournalMIT Press

Published: Dec 1, 2012

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