Tuning into the unfamiliar

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LC19_paper_30.pdf(122.91 KB)
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McNally, Kevin
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University College Cork
National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
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This research project sits at the intersection of Community Music, Ethnomusicology and Arts Practice Research. The overall aim to explore a more ecological way of being in the world in which sound rather than vision is the primary source of knowledge. This acoustic epistemology (coined ‘acoustemology’ by ethnomusicologist Steven Feld) differs from standard ocular-centric epistemology in several respects. Where vision distinguishes objects as fixed and separate from the perceiving subject, sound is intensely relational. For sociologist Jean-Paul Thibaud, attending to sound produces “a resonant body that gets in tune and in sync with his environment.” (Thibaud, 2018) Sound does not belong to any object, but is a production of the interaction of objects, or “the event of the thing, not the thing itself.” (Connor, 2004, p.157) This form of knowing is familiar to musicians who interact in ensemble situations, but I wish to broaden the application of the idea, following ethnomusicologist Jeff Todd Titon, who imagines a “sound community” which, in concord with the qualities of sound, is “just, participatory and egalitarian.” (Titon, 2015, p.25)
Acoustic epistemology , Acoustemology , Sound , Sound community , Participatory , Egalitarian , Gamelan
McNally, K. (2019) 'Tuning into the unfamiliar', Learning Connections 2019: Spaces, People, Practice, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland, 5-6 December, pp. 174-176. doi: 10.33178/LC.2019.35