Silence in the Room: The End of the Age of Acoustics | Babylonia

The sounds do not speak for themselves. But so are the pictures. Not to mention the words. The huge amount of information necessary to understand a word, even the simplest, for example, water, is almost immeasurable. It requires knowledge of the world to understand the word. Or maybe not much. But it is very complicated. And if we move from organized domains, such as those of language, to more volatile domains, such as image or sound, then the question seems more complex. In fact, even Raymond Murray Schafer, who died on August 14 at the age of 88, no proper analysis in such a detailed manner has been performed. There was sound psychology already in the 1920s. Theses on phonetics, centuries ago. However, no one has ever attempted to understand the relative autonomy of sound within the world it generates.

Soundscape and acoustic environment

Raymond Murray Schafer was a brilliant innovator of the terms now standardized: listening, sound design schizophreniaAnd Ultrasound imagingAnd sound mark or acoustic ecology. And though it is recognized, above all, by the first concept, which gave his most systematic book its name, the sound (1977), his obsession revolved around the latter. In fact, the driving force behind Murray Schafer’s work has been the fatal impact that changes in the sound landscape over the past three hundred years have had on the population. The root of the problem for the author was the Industrial Revolution. This has led the world to levels of noise pollution that it considers unsustainable. He filtered out his frank struggle through an important educational work. And his suggestion was clear: step back, and return to a healthy and sustainable environment. Gesture reaction, that Revenues To the country – miserable perhaps, but noble – having tried his luck in the city – inhuman and caustic – who represents well The Phalanges Handbook directed by Nevis Conde, slits.

Schaeffer was a brilliant innovator of terms now standardized: sound scene, “clairaudience”, sound design, “schizophrenia”, “sonography”, “sound” or acoustic environment

For all the complexity of the concepts he weaves, al-Kindi’s proposals had no other effective purpose than to serve as an appeal to the powerful to legislate on noise (one of the main topics of interest to him). Outside his analytical framework was the fact that this noise which he frightened was the result of an economic mode of production that gave rise to irreversible social conflicts whose resolution, whatever legislation, is of course useless. It is the limit of any theory that wants to represent sound as an independent entity. Because while Murray Schafer’s analyzes are unpublished, claiming a sonic environment is an ideology that is now more than a century old.

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One of the current researchers in sound studies, Samuel Lano, benefiting from it in his book conflicting notes (recently translated into Spanish) for a new term very close to the acoustic environment: auditory hygiene, which serves as a guide to understanding the legislative practice on noise that the middle class itself—that is, the petty bourgeoisie emerging in the late nineteenth century—describes. working woman; A case of practical application of the idea of ​​’social hygiene’, with all the meaning given to the term by Lombroso and Nordau or here in Spain (the field studied by Llano), Salillas or Bernaldo de Quirós.

Two men discover the body of a woman in the street during the Great Plague of London (woodcut by J. Jellicoe after H. Railton). Among many other records, The London Sound Survey combines sounds with descriptions and references to sounds from London’s history, such as the plague that struck the city in 1603. Wellcome Group

healthy social history

On another theoretical, almost hostile point, is the recently disappeared Ian Rouse, who died after a “brief illness” on October 19 at the age of 56. His relationship to sound was very different. I was in charge of the project London Voice Survey, the largest archive of field recordings created in any city. Rawes, although in recent years he was already very reluctant to theoretical practice (“at first he wrote delightful texts documenting the sounds of the city, as if to do the people a favor…”) and his obsession was merely an archivist, he coined the resonant term social history for his work. His primary intuition was that useful information is preserved in voices lost in other sources. If Murray Schafer actually sifted Vancouver and compared it to the French countryside to show how tough the city could be, Rouse questioned the reasons for the acoustic differences between a suburb and a residential neighborhood in the City of London. Furthermore, Rawes did not use the field as a realistic example. Derek Walmsley recalls that by 2019, Royce was considering using his audio-recording techniques to represent the booms experienced by workers in the interior of Cambridge straddling rural and industrial areas with the change in land-use dynamics. For Rouss, the sounds were able to recreate the parts of social relations that the image or the word escaped from.

Rouse was responsible for The London Sound Survey, the largest archive of field recordings ever created in any city

His interest in sound recording also led him to make up an impressive vocal history in London. His archive consists of several tens of thousands of non-musical audio recordings, including the field recordings he made and the historical recordings he collected. Although he has been clear about the function of recording as a resource for historians—indeed, one of his main concerns in recent years has been to find a way to preserve a digital archive, an example of obsolescence par excellence—at times he has allowed himself to be carried away by pleasure, Artizaba Archive, cease to Being an archivist to become a collector, and showing a certain kind of fetishism (understandable when you live a life between records). In fact, his work is much more appreciated in the field of musical experiments than in the field of social history. The methodology has yet to be developed, and for the vast majority of historians the audio recording is a source that is, at the moment, incomprehensible. Icons are missing. Because it is an illusion to let the voices speak. Because sounds, like words, do not speak, but encode relationships and situations; Relationships and situations that are worth understanding. Raymond Murray Schaeffer and Ian Rouse have dedicated their lives to this ungrateful mission. in the same field. at the opposite poles.

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Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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