[SoundStudies] Reminder: Sound Studies Colloquium TODAY at 4:30

Carmel Raz carmel.raz at yale.edu
Mon Feb 16 12:57:55 EST 2015

Dear Sound Studies Community,
The Yale Sound Studies Working Group (SSWG) invites you to join us*
today,* *February
16, *at *4:30 PM* in the Whitney Humanities Center, *Room B04* for our
first meeting for the Spring 2015 semester. *Pauline LeVen (Classics) will
be speaking about "Syrinx' voice: violence, vibrant materiality, and the
musical object." *Professor LeVen's paper is attached below.

To facilitate our discussion, Prof. LeVen has included a synopsis of the
book project from which this paper comes, along with "the following
suggestions where feedback would be the most useful." As always, all
questions and ideas are welcome.

   - Are the passages contextualized enough (narratively and
   historico-culturally) for a non-classicist reader? What other information
   would be needed?
   - Does the third part (on vibrant materialism and the idea of the
   instrument as cyborg) need to be announced more carefully earlier in the
   - Any ideas on what views (if any) the Achilles Tatius passage may
   contain on instrumental music?

*Title: **The Music of Nature and the Nature of Music: Seven Readings in
Greek and Roman Myths *

*Synopsis: *The subject matter of this book is the music of nature: the
vocalizations of birds, whispers of marsh-reeds, sounds of winds, croaking
of frogs, rippling of echoes, and singing of cicadas. I examine a corpus
that has surprisingly never received sustained critical attention, the
Greek and Roman myths devoted to the music of animals and natural
phenomena. Most of these stories share the same narrative structure: a
human being, after encountering some great misfortune, gets turned into a
musical animal, instrument, or natural sound. My main claim in the book is
that these fantastic tales of animal evolution are important loci of
reflection on aesthetic questions. My readings of seven representative
ancient myths are windows onto a rich web of ideas about the beauty of
music, appropriate responses to it, and the nature of the experience of
sound and song, ideas that the Greeks and the Romans shared in elaborate
mythical narratives representing animals.

The following table of contents provides an illustration of the themes
examined. Each chapter can be read independently, but a thread leads from
questions brought up by the simple cry of the ringdove to the complex
issues addressed through myths about music and the emotions, *mimesis*, and

Chapter 1- Ringdove: on the uncanny power of performance (Longus, *Daphnis
and Chloe*)
Chapter 2- Cicadas: on the voice (Plato, *Phaedrus*)
Chapter 3- Echo: on listening (Ovid, *Metamorphoses*)
Chapter 4- Reeds: on musical objects (Achilles Tatius, *Leucippe and
Chapter 5- Nightingale: on emotion, representation and expression (Hyginus,
Chapter 6- Beetle: on rhythm and life-value (Antoninus Liberalis,
Chapter 7- Swan: on music and death (Philostratus, *Imagines*)


Upcoming SSWG events:

March 30th: Carter Mathes (English, Rutgers), author of *Imagine the
Sound: Experimental African American Literature after Civil Rights*
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