Wednesday, January 28, 2009

W=O=R=D | Noise/Music A History - Hegarty

Noise/Music: A History
by Paul Hegarty, is an intellectual exploration of the importance of noise in music, and how simply writing "noise" off as only noise, fails to see the aesthetic purpose that noise, and the avant-garde serves in our current soundscape. Using literary critiques by philosophical giants such as Hegel and Bataille, and musical interpretations by Adorno and Kahn as starting points, as well as comparative points, Hegarty proves the worth of noise, which I interpret as the complete absence of expectation in sound (or even the absence of composed sound as in Cage's 4'33").

Noise works on many levels. One of those levels is the initial perception of the sound, which, in many cases is off-putting. It also works on intellectual, spatial, personal and emotional levels, many times reflecting the world we live in, thus serving a higher cultural purpose than just something that makes us cringe. Hegarty, obviously explores this in much more detail and depth and with much more erudition than I ever could, juxtaposing it against a number of different artists, movements and theories, which helps strengthen its place in music, and gives us an idea where experimentation in noise might lead us in the future.

If you're like me, you are completely fascinated with the new sounds and textures that are being created these days, and you see that the creative process is alive and strong in the musical underground. You also want to delve deeper into the meaning of it all, because you realize that just "enjoying" it is only half the fun. Hopefully those of you interested in the movement of noise in music throughout the 20th century and into the 21st and beyond will find an impetus to pick up this book and obtain a deeper understanding of the workings in the sounds we experience.

1 comment:

Jason said...

I'm still in the middle of this book, but I agree, it is essential for anyone listening to anything off the beaten path. Paul Hegarty gets into every aspect of sound ....period.
Great book.