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Sound and Affect

Voice, Music, World

There is no place on earth that does not echo with the near or distant sounds of human activity. More than half of humanity lives in cities, meaning the daily soundtrack of our lives is filled with sound—whether it be sonorous, harmonious, melodic, syncopated, discordant, cacophonous, or even screeching. This new anthology aims to explore how humans are placed in certain affective attitudes and dispositions by the music, sounds, and noises that envelop us.

Sound and Affect maps a new territory for inquiry at the intersection of music, philosophy, affect theory, and sound studies. The essays in this volume consider objects and experiences marked by the correlation of sound and affect, in music and beyond: the voice, as it speaks, stutters, cries, or sings; music, whether vocal, instrumental, or machine-made; and our sonic environments, whether natural or artificial, and how they provoke responses in us. Far from being stable, correlations of sound and affect are influenced and even determined by factors as diverse as race, class, gender, and social and political experience. Examining these factors is key to the project, which gathers contributions from a cross-disciplinary roster of scholars, including both established and new voices. This agenda-setting collection will prove indispensable to anyone interested in innovative approaches to the study of sound and its many intersections with affect and the emotions.

416 pages | 9 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2022

Music: General Music

Philosophy: Aesthetics


“Lochhead, Mendieta, and Smith have assembled a powerful compendium of theoretical and historical essays on sound and affect. This volume represents a synthesis of three rapidly growing areas of new research: affect theory, sound studies, and philosophically inflected music studies. Sound and Affect will make a significant and lasting impact in many fields. It is the type of publication that will challenge current assumptions about method and stimulate the growth of new forms of inquiry.”

Roger Mathew Grant, Wesleyan University

“‘Soundscape’ has become a common term, but most actual soundscapes remain unheard with any degree of specificity. This affecting collection helps remedy that state. It offers multiple entry points into what it regards as ‘sonic affective regimes,’ vibratory fields that impact broad swaths of eco-social life. Sound and Affect covers an astonishing range of topics, figures, and periods. One finds Plato and Ludacris, Proust and Phil Collins, Monk, Deleuze, and the Jesuit Marin Mersenne, and topics swing from desire to labor to the accented voice. Multidisciplinary in the richest sense, the book is a boon for sound studies, the philosophy of music, and musicology, and a primer for those who want to listen better and think more trenchantly about what they hear.”

John Lysaker, Emory University

Table of Contents


Judith Lochhead, Eduardo Mendieta, and Stephen Decatur Smith

Part 1. Sounding the Political

Chapter 1. Waves of Moderation: The Sound of Sophrosyne in Ancient Greek and Neoliberal Times
Robin James

Chapter 2. The Politics of Silence: Heidegger’s Black Notebooks
Adam Knowles

Part 2. Affect, Music, Human

Chapter 3. Sign, Affect, and Musicking before the Human
Gary Tomlinson

Chapter 4. Human Beginnings and Music: Technology and Embodiment Roles
Don Ihde

Chapter 5. The Life and Death of Daniel Barenboim
James Currie

Part 3. Voicings and Silencings

Chapter 6. The Philosopher’s Voice: The Prosody of Logos
Eduardo Mendieta

Chapter 7. Late Capitalism, Affect, and the Algorithmic Self in Music Streaming Platforms
Michael Birenbaum Quintero

Part 4. Affective Listenings

Chapter 8. Music, Labor, and Technologies of Desire
Martin Scherzinger

Chapter 9. Musical Affect, Autobiographical Memory, and Collective Individuation in Thomas Bernhard’s Correction
Christopher Haworth

Part 5. Temporalities of Sounding

Chapter 10. The “Sound” of Music: Sonic Agency and the Dialectic of Freedom and Constraint in Jazz Improvisation
Lorenzo C. Simpson

Chapter 11. Merleau-Ponty on Consciousness and Affect through the Temporal Movement of Music
Jessica Wiskus

Chapter 12. A. N. Whitehead, Feeling, and Music: On Some Potential Modifications to Affect Theory
Ryan Dohoney

Part 6. Theorizing the Affections

Chapter 13. Delivering Affect: Mersenne, Voice, and the Background of Jesuit Rhetorical Theory
André de Oliveira Redwood

Chapter 14. Mimesis and the Affective Ground of Baroque Representation
Daniel Villegas Vélez

Chapter 15. Affect and the Recording Devices of Seventeenth-Century Italy
Emily Wilbourne

Chapter 16. Immanuel Kant and the Downfall of the Affektenlehre
Tomás McAuley


List of Contributors



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