Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Noise, porous bodies, and the case for creative listening
by Hertz, Samuel, M.F.A., Mills College, 2015, 46; 1589454
Abstract (Summary)

Inharmonicity is a concept implicit in acoustic systems that explains the production of non-linear (non-integer) harmonics. While inharmonicity in and of itself is not always audible per se, its effects are no less than creating the basis for timbre and differential sound discrimination. In other words, inharmonic and non-linear signals are essential for human audition, yet they appear and disappear almost instantaneously. This paper attempts to elucidate the wide-reaching effects of inharmonicity and non-linear dynamic systems in a concrete sense by examining their relationships to the listening body and mind, as well as in an abstract sense in considering the theoretical implications of noise and non-linearity on the process of thought, potentiality, and subjective meaning-making.

The paper opens with several accounts related to foregrounding historical ideas about the relationship between sound and body, leading up to a contemporary understanding of sound in the sense of physics and acoustics. Therein, a modern account of inharmonicity and perception is given through current research in psychoacoustics, psychology, and dynamic systems. Finally, the tactic of ‘creative listening’ is introduced following from a discussion of the relationships between noise and thought in 20th- and 21st century aesthetics and philosophy.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Parkins, Zeena, Fei, James
Commitee: Bernstein, David, Bischoff, John, Brown, Chris, Frith, Fred, Mitchell, Roscoe
School: Mills College
Department: Music - Electronic Music and Recording Media
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 54/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Music, Philosophy, Acoustics
Keywords: Inharmonicity, Listening, Musical thought, Noise, Perception, Psychoacoustics
Publication Number: 1589454
ISBN: 9781321770827
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