[SoundStudies] Thurs, March 28, 3:30pm - Stoeckel 312 - Brian Kane

Joseph Clarke joseph.clarke at yale.edu
Fri Mar 22 20:50:01 EDT 2013


Our next Sound Studies Colloquium meeting will be held this coming Thursday,
March 28th, from *3:30-4:30* in *Stoeckel 312* (note the slightly earlier
time and the location, one floor above usual, just for this week).

This week we will feature Professor Brian Kane, who will lead a discussion
of his work on acousmatic sound. The discussion will revolve around the
attached book chapter, "Kafka and Acousmatic Underdetermination," from
Professor Kane's forthcoming book, *Sound Unseen: Acousmatic Sound in
Theory and Practice* (Oxford University Press). Also attached as an
optional reading is Franz Kafka's short story "The Burrow."

****

>From Prof. Kane:

For this session, I am circulating a chapter from my manuscript, *Sound
Unseen*. In it, I offer a reading of Kafka’s late tale, “The Burrow,” in
order to develop some central propositions about acousmatic listening. (I
have included Willa and Edwin Muir’s translation of “The Burrow,” in case
you aren’t familiar with the story.)

For those who aren’t familiar with the term “acousmatic,” it is typically
defined as “a sound that one hears without seeing its cause.” In
electroacoustic music, the term has been closely associated with the
theorist and composer Pierre Schaeffer, who thought that the acousmatic
experience of sound (made explicit in the age of sound reproduction) was
central to the experience of music generally. Schaeffer defined the
acousmatic experience in phenomenological terms, and you’ll see that I
spend the beginning of the chapter describing how phenomenologists (other
than Schaeffer, but congruent with him) use the separation of a sound’s
effect from its cause to establish the autonomy of musical tones.
Typically, the difference between seeing and hearing, central to acousmatic
experience, has been understood as a difference between a sound’s cause and
effect, and traffic between the sensory and causal registers has been
promiscuous. In this chapter of *Sound Unseen*, I try to understand the
acousmatic situation in epistemic terms—not as simple split between cause
and effect or seeing and hearing, but as a site of uncertainty or spacing.

Brian Kane
Brian Kane is an Assistant Professor of Music at Yale University. Before
coming to Yale in 2008, he was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Music at
Columbia University. Kane’s research explores the intersection of music
theory, philosophy and contemporary music with a particular focus on sound,
signification, the senses, phenomenology and critical theory. Publications
include writings on Pierre Schaeffer, Les Paul, acousmatic sound, Jean-Luc
Nancy and David Lewin, in journals as varied as *qui parle*, *Current
Musicology*,*The Journal of Visual Culture*, *Music Theory Spectrum*,
*Contemporary
Music Review* and *Organised Sound*. Kane is the chair of the Music and
Philosophy Interest Group in the Society of Music Theory and a central
figure in the contemporary expansion of philosophical studies within music,
editing a special issue of *The Journal of Music Theory* on Stanley Cavell
(with Stephen Decatur Smith) and a colloquy on Vladimir Jankélévitch’s
philosophy of music in *The Journal of the American Musicological
Society*(with Michael Gallope). He is also an editor of the Journal of
Music Theory
and *nonsite.org*.

****

We hope to see you there.

(To subscribe or unsubscribe to the Sound Studies list, please visit
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Kind regards,

Lynda Paul, Postdoctoral Associate in the Integrated Humanities
Joseph Clarke, Doctoral Candidate in Architecture
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