Prep for meeting 12/03/19:

revised outline + thesis + research question, notes from two readings with summaries

How does the presentation of sound in Johnny Cash’s prison album demonstrate sound’s capacity to permeate controlled environments?


Older version: Hearing the sounds of Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Albums as well as considering reception theory we argue that this album documents sound’s ability to permeate controlled environments as well as the prisoners relationship to the space of the prison.

Newer Version: Never before has anybody paid attention to the sounds that are not explicitly the focus of the Folsom Prison Album (a re interpretation of the album via annotation of external sounds) (Part I + III) . This helped prison reform because it provided people with an audible insight into prison… (IV)

I. Introduction

  • Folsom Prison Blues entrance

II. Sound of Prisoners

  • Deconstruct folsom prison blues
  • Other sounds of prisoners
  • Voices
  • Create interactive timeline of album where prisoners are heard

III. Sounding the Prison

  • Announcement from guards, doors etc…
  • Echoes
  • Space/Cultural Insight (SANDOVAL)
  • Interactive timeline where prison is heard

IV. Underlying Narrative: curating an impression of prison

  • editing
  • Imagining via compartmentalised space (of prison and album)

V. Conclusion


Sound Art and Spatial Practices: Situating sound installation art since 1958:

  • Spatial poetics
  • A version of a sound installation? ‘Centrally concerned with organising sounds in space.’

Sound ,Material: A New Reception, Pascal Gobin

Good terminology for when we speak about the sound and good way of demonstrating how our transcription and re interpretation of album’s value means in regards to reception theory

  • ‘Liberation of musical potential via the use of new sounds (particularly those originated from sources other than “musical instruments” and the conception of ways of “playing” these sounds → exploration of musical composition
  • ‘Techniques of sound synthesis, notably the real-time systems of control that were tied initially to techniques of analog synthesis and that have developed since then due to numerisation systems’
  • sound may be approached as a musical duration based on the overall perceived qualities of the sound itself rather than as an ensemble of parameters determined by the listener’s ability to perceive the sound in terms of quantifiable units that are subject to systematic organization
  • Western musical tradition : ‘separate the work of writing from the work of interpretation’
  • ‘Not everything can be fixed by notation — sonorous phenomena are much too complex for notation to capture in all its details: it is necessary to make a choice to notate the certain aspects of sound (or instrumental gestures allowing one to reproduce the sound) that seem particularly pertinent in relation to a musical project.’
  • ‘Notation became necessary in order to fix innovative changes in tradition due to improvisation, mistakes and chance.’
  • ‘Timbre’ instrumental timbre, commonly defined as the character of sound that varies as two notes of equal pitch and duration are played by two different instruments.’ // response to sound “type” and does not speak of physical realities (to speak of a note from a trumpet says nothing in particular about the essential physicality of sounds that one hears and, in effect, masks part of the reality of the sounds)
  • Possibility of recording, understanding and transforming sound via listening, imagination and creativity
  • In that which we perceive, what role does conditioning play? PERCEIVED SPACE, CONCEIVED SPACE, LIVED SPACE
  • REDUCED LISTENING: listening to a sound object without concern for its causes and temporarily ignoring them (in a more habitual listening, a sound serves generally as both an intermediary for the objects to which it refers and a reflection of the event of its creation) — this attitude of listening: sonorous phenomenon is the SOUND OBJECT
  • INTENTIONAL HEARING: scientific, musical/technical, musical/artistic, aesthetic ( a concertgoer) etc… reduced listening as a form of intentional hearing → All objects perceived through sound only exist because of our intention to listen. Nothing can prevent a listener from vacillating, passing unconsciously from one system to another or form a reduced listening to a listening which is not reduced. (Schaeffer)
  • SOUND OBJECT: audible phenomenon made whole via the act of perceiving, which can be qualified outside of the context from which it is extracted // not the physical object that produces the sound
  • MUSIQUE CONCRETE: instead of noting musical ideas with the symbols of traditional notation and confiding their concrete realisation to recognised instruments, it was a question of re-welcoming the raw sound from where it comes and of abstracting from it the musical values it potentially contained
  • SEMIOTIC TEMPORAL UNITS: fragments of sound types (ranging in duration from 1/20 to of a second to 3 or 4 seconds0 that can be isolated from their musical contexts by force of the unity of character they have (or appear to have) in relation to their temporal signification and CONSERVE THEIR TEMPORAL SIGNIFICATIONS WHEN OUTSIDE THE CONTEXT
  • TEMPORAL SIGNIFICATION: evocation of these sound fragments of a sensation or image bound to the experience of time passed (an experience involving muscular tensions or an observation of the movement of objects)
  • Sound object as a term cast aside ideas of movement and evolution in favor of fixed criteria
  • Models of organisation issued from everyday life might be useful to implement in the domain of sound — relating to sound via these ~typical~ experiences of passed time — when sound seems suspended or pushed forward for example
  • ‘We established minimum conditions for aspects common to all sound extracts through a particular sonorous configuration in order to reveal initially ignored details that proved to be determinants at the moment of categorisation’
  • Sound fabric (timbre, color) to shape (duration, rhythm, time) — temporal character toed to sound fabric (lightness or heaviness for example
  • ” In the following examples [21]-all of which consist of  unique, held (absent of rhythmic character), non-evolving (formless), homogenous sounds-we can perceive differences in temporal modalities that are doubtlessly also tied to a semantic (for example, hesitant, timid, majestic, et
  • “Feel” of sound : comparing electro acoustic music to “live” instrumental music one tends to neglect the fundamental, revolutionary possibility of the composer intervening directly on sounds as sonorous phenomena at the moments they develop and establish themselves in their durations, and, therefor, the possibility of constructing, developing and articulating a musical idea of the “sensation” of the duration as opposed to an abstract logic of structure
  • ‘Musical works as experiences in time rather than as constructed objects’ → the music stays the same after the relation changes, even if the compositional elements change
  • Eliminate confusion between symbol and reality via notation
  • Conceiving of an instrument implies fixing the constraints, passageways, possibilities and impossibilities of the material, and the manner in which to play it, therefore such conception already constitutes an engagement in musical composition
  • Introducing new musical value
  • Musical chance: consists of the composer setting processes in place while assuming an attitude of “non-intent”
  • Written work as opposed to recorded work always exists a “promise of sound”
  • Even if principles of indeterminacy considerably modifies the notion of a musical work, teh composer’s place in the work and the rules of the work (rules of organisation or simple instructions that allow the work to end up at an unforeseeable result) are conceived together as an object in which the musical sense exists through the organisation of the elements that form it prior to and independently of its realisation (improvisations and performances)
  • Schaeffer: ‘paper can never show these sparkling speeds, it promises them, implies them’
  • ‘Must one clearly perceive a piece’s modes of organisation or can one claim the work is instead intuitive and immediate?
  • ‘Sound art’ making the sounds exist in time
  • ‘Aural duration into which one must “sink” in order to seize their musical sense’

Adorno, Theodor Philosophie de la Nouvelle Musique

Eco, Umberto L’oeuvre Ouverte

Sound Matters: Towards an enactive approach to hearing media by Lisa Schmidt

Against reception theory, for enactive account of sound that would treat sound and image as interdependent. Sound as an embodied experience

  • ‘Sound is fundamental to the aforementioned gut resonse’
  • ‘An experience both heard and experienced as embodied’
  • Visualism fundamentally equals a disembodiment
  • Phenomenology (Maurice Merleau Ponty): a method of inquiry that is often defined simply as the study of experience : does not see the world as hiding behind a veil of language and signification, a critique of science
  • ‘We must not wonder, then, if we really perceive a world. Rather, we must say that the world is that which we perceive’  — begin simply with what is in front of us
  • But you do not perceive sound
  • Cartesian view privileges a ‘view from nowhere’ associates seeing, knowledge and understanding
  • ‘By bringing my body into the movie theatre, I have brought in a locus for multiple, overlapping and cross-modal styles of perceptual relationship.’
  • ‘The shape of hearing’?
  • Hearing gives me spatial and temporal
    information that places objects in both visual and auditory horizons, gives
    them an outline, an extent and a duration (Ihde 2007: 50–51). It also gives me
    information about an object that I might otherwise know only by touching and
    handling it. For instance, if someone in my vicinity picks up and drops a ball, I
    perceive its distance to me, its solidity or hollowness, its softness or hardness,
    its size, and even the material of which it is made. However, this information
    is dependent upon time already spent as a human being in my body, touching,
    handling, tasting and moving about. Just as for seeing, I must have a way of
    ‘representing to myself’ the distance between myself and the object, which is
    always a function of movement. I cannot know/hear the ball without representing
    to myself the same kinds of perceptual information. In short, I must be a
    perceiving embodied organism embedded in a world of relationships
  • Not passive recipients of sounds and images if we consider an enactive model of hearing (and seeing)
  • Perhaps it is commonplace to lament the relative
    lack of attention to sound in the study of film; even so, the ocular emphasis of
    western thought prevails. Where sound is discussed in the context of reception
    theory, it is frequently little more than lip service. An enactive account would
    necessarily treat sound and image as interdependent.