Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Future of Sound Studies, 03102007

Jay Beck -- Tony Grajeda is lying on his back with a slipped disc and he has sent a group of questions for us to look at. A brief introduction about this -- let us look at interdisciplinary links with scholars and the like. Rick Altman has argued that sound studies has been able to step out from the realm of cinema studies. Radio and TV scholars asks is there a field of Sound Culture studies... she states that it only exists as a field that is always emerging. she notes that there is a lot of work on this and that it is something to deal with in a number of other disciplines. The challenge is to cohere around sound studies. Sterne asserts that there is a field of work but there is something that is due to a lack of coherence in bringing these issues. sound studies exists still in a asymptotic relationship with image studies. Let us engage to sound cultural studies and issues of film sound and media sound studies, and can they work together.

Norma Coates -- I am calling this paper, popular music, sound and media, all of the above or none of the above. My focus is on popular music and what this means. I am concerned about the material specificity of popular music and I am concerned that my work would be further marginalized. What is popular music? It is music, it is a commodity... and it is media. However, this is often not concerned the case. The issue of popular music and the idea of this is that people look at me and they note that I look too music, when I am a trained media scholar.

So why study it as media? Well, popular music allows us to explore the text - context history - audiences mode. This is key. Why do people in our students revere Jim Morrison? well, the answer is a media studies question.

For me, this is the primary issue and the idea that we need to think about. Music as well as television is key, since music is something that always gets subverted and the idea is that the music and what is a pop star becomes key in a lot of music television. Why does pop music fit so in TV genre? Well, I would ask why does TV fit so many issues in popular music? We can explain a lot about this.

Michele Hilmes -- I have to say that the pessimistic attitudes about popular music studies is reflected in the fact that I do not have any handouts, which is "Towards a taxonomy of TV sound" -- I have always thought about sound is always key since there is little specific scholarship on sound on TV. In many ways this is key and the fact that sound may be the key since so much was lifted from practices developed in radio genres. The issues that drive popular music become key. This is something that I want to talk about.

The Taxonomy is a beginning stab that is at work and it would be nice to see what is and what is not here. I was really trying to think through many of the issues that have developed in other areas such as sound. This has to do with television sound as well... this is key and when I think about sound, due to my training, I am thinking about sound in narrative.

How many here have studies in sound from sound engineers? Not many

Let us think of sound that I have taught in sound seminars? When do you see Iraqis who talk in their own voices? How many get voiced over? How many are chosen simply because they speak in English?

Think about the jingles and bits from news and how this frames the news.

Moving into the area of non-diegetic sound... there is no history of the laugh-track for instance.

What about advertising sound?

Music-based television programming? What about? The many many kinds of musical performances.

What about meta-sound where sound relates to the issue of television programming.

What about the streaming of broadcasting? This is something that is a unique quality of TV and radio.

Anahid Kassabian -- Tony sent me questions so I answered them and looked at ubiquitous music and the future of sound studies. Ubiquitous music has a long long history and there is something where we think about the way that music helps us score our lives. Music has always been the network where a subjectivity is distributed. It is not unreasonable to think of music that is the part of the organism that holds these issues together.

Let us think about the types of projects I would like to see -- a quantitative study on music listening activities and it seems to me that we need to know something about that. Right now we don't know anything about this.

Let us think of non-aggressive music deterrent. That would be varied and interesting.

These spaces where music and sound become taught are interesting in places such as "dubstep" where sound is taught.

What about sonic weaponry... you use music and musical torture where music is utilized to make this operant.

An understanding of listening as ubiquitous where sound and subjectivity can think about this -- let us think about affect seriously in these cases. I hope that sound studies decides to do this.

Jonathan Sterne -- It's good to see this many people at a panel titled the future of sound studies. I am going to produce you with a problem that is problematic when you deal with interdisciplinarity. One issue i am dealing with comes from the humanities and another is from the sciences. There are two completely opposed sets of propositions where I need to think of things as both true and false.

This is something that is dealt from MP3 where people claim that this model mimics human perception separate from issues of meaning whatsoever. I am beginning to claim that the issue really comes from monopoly capitalism and bio-power.

Psychoacoustics then become the issue -- the centrality of psychoacoutics is key and this is news only to us in the humanities. In the sciences this is absolutely true. But this is wholly absent in the work of most of our work sound studies in the humanities. Well, in the sciences you think about how people hear and think that your model is absolutely universal as the operative assumption in the work.

Most sound work of the humanities in a critical domain assumes that the universalism needs to be critiqued always and almost always with issue of meaning. Sciences are not interested in meaning this way.

Now, if I cite this stuff from psychoacousticians about how we hear humanities people nod in acceptance as if they have a monopoly of knowledge. But if our goal is to create an interesting social and historical these issues then I go history.

I am also running into the problem of text based history and oral history. I am dealing with the MP3 formats, and it is a problem for me since these engineers are alive and talk back, unlike, say Edison or Bell.

Steve Wurtzler -- I decided that I wanted to look at the voice of the teacher and the voice of the pedagogue. I looked at the issue of this from where I think it really exists and this is in our classroom. Sound studies seems to be an oddity... are we talking about a field, a discipline, a subdiscipline?

My experience in sound studies helped me understand issues in Frequency Response, Amplification, and so on that helped me underscore that the audiologist and the world of the humanities scholar, me, overlaps. This is an interesting for me. sound studies is a series of not always related to one thing in this since since this has to deal with social practices, physiology, psychology, history, etc... it is the liberal arts curriculum. Sound studies provides the possibility to make links.

Sound studies, tailor made, is perfect for a cluster of courses. You could have a multidisciplinarian set of issues -- you could use all of these issues that are key throughout. Let us embrace the messy and the disciplinary collisions in sound studies and we enact some of these collisions in these classrooms.

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