Sunday, February 24, 2008

Booming Walls, And The Like

Please forgive my silence in this area of the blogosphere. It turns that it is difficult to occupy multiple spheres at the same time, especially when one or two of them has recently become much higher in intensity. But fret not, musicology, I have not forgotten about you.

Apparently I am slow on the uptake, but Radical Musicology has an excellent article by Ian Biddle on the sound relations between neighbors. Like many of my colleagues who occassionally worry about post-WWII life in the United States, this piece set off alarm bells about how much the great move to suburbia had to do with sound.

I know that in my many years of apartment life in major metropolitan areas, sound matters. To clarify, I'm not talking about passing cars that blast reggaeton and hip-hop subsonic bass to bodies within a 50 foot radius. I'm talking about TVs positioned against the wall that you share with your bedroom. Or for the more familiar, the parties that happen to coincide with the night before you must get up early. This is the sort of urban experience that many of us look upon fondly after the fact (much as I did when I recalled the roosters that woke me up every day in Rio de Janeiro), but actually force an unwelcome sonic intimacy. And I haven't even touched upon what it feels like to audibly witness domestic disputes. Never fun.

So point your browsers over to Biddle's article. As someone avidly watching the rising influence of sonic studies/sound studies in our field(s), this is an excellent example of work that speaks directly to the concerns that many musicologists and ethnomusicologists share.


PMG said...

To plug another article about music and space, Caroline O'Meara's recent piece in American Music is great. It's unfortunately not available for free online, but details are.

KG said...

Clearly I am WAY slow on the uptake.
Thanks pmg!