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TOHU BOHU: Considerations on the nature of noise, in 78 fragments

TOHU BOHU: Considerations on the nature of noise, in 78 fragments LMJ13_02body_005-096 11/25/03 2:57 PM Page 43 A R T I S T ’ S N O T E B O O K TOHU BOHU: Considerations on the nature of noise, in 78 fragments Guy-Marc Hinant Tohu va-bohu in the Torah is usually translated as “empty and shapeless,” but in Hebrew tohu means “ruin,” and bohu, “desolation”; for French speakers today, tohu-bohu means chaos, mess, hubbub. Noise—a set of unharmonious sounds. This sends us back to the definition of harmony—but harmony in a specific historical context. We see at once how difficult it is to speak simply and plainly about such familiar concepts. By noise is meant essentially our perception of it. In a sense, there is no adequate definition of noise. Noise usually implies loud or unpleasant sounds—we tell kids to stop making a noise. It’s contrasted with silence, which is supposed to be golden, enlightening. John Coltrane’s Ascension [1], in 1965 dismissed as undifferentiated noise, is now seen as a more subtle form of harmony that combines chaotic material and an ascending movement. Ascension broke with the old view of noise. When I first heard the 30-minute A Little Noise in the System (Moog System, 1966) by http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Leonardo Music Journal MIT Press

TOHU BOHU: Considerations on the nature of noise, in 78 fragments

Leonardo Music Journal , Volume December 2003 (13) – Dec 1, 2003

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Publisher
MIT Press
Copyright
© 2003 ISAST
Subject
Articles; Groove, Pit and Wave: Recording, Transmission and Music
ISSN
0961-1215
eISSN
1531-4812
DOI
10.1162/096112104322750773
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

LMJ13_02body_005-096 11/25/03 2:57 PM Page 43 A R T I S T ’ S N O T E B O O K TOHU BOHU: Considerations on the nature of noise, in 78 fragments Guy-Marc Hinant Tohu va-bohu in the Torah is usually translated as “empty and shapeless,” but in Hebrew tohu means “ruin,” and bohu, “desolation”; for French speakers today, tohu-bohu means chaos, mess, hubbub. Noise—a set of unharmonious sounds. This sends us back to the definition of harmony—but harmony in a specific historical context. We see at once how difficult it is to speak simply and plainly about such familiar concepts. By noise is meant essentially our perception of it. In a sense, there is no adequate definition of noise. Noise usually implies loud or unpleasant sounds—we tell kids to stop making a noise. It’s contrasted with silence, which is supposed to be golden, enlightening. John Coltrane’s Ascension [1], in 1965 dismissed as undifferentiated noise, is now seen as a more subtle form of harmony that combines chaotic material and an ascending movement. Ascension broke with the old view of noise. When I first heard the 30-minute A Little Noise in the System (Moog System, 1966) by

Journal

Leonardo Music JournalMIT Press

Published: Dec 1, 2003

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