Sensing Sound: Singing and Listening as Vibrational Practice
The Acoustic Mediation of Voice, Self, and Others
“The Acoustic Mediation of Voice, Self, and Others” deals with spatial-relational and acoustic dimensions that are naturalized through distinct sonic, performative, and listening practices. Two operas are examined: Meredith Monk’s 2008 Songs of Ascension (originally composed for a sculptural tower with a double helix stairway and subsequently rearranged for traditional performance venues) and the 2013 opera-for-headphones production of Christopher Cerrone’s Invisible Cities (performed in the bustle and everyday activity of Los Angeles’s Union Station but delivered to audiences via headphones). The chapter shows that most of the live music we hear in the Western context is presented within an acoustic frame so naturalized that any other acoustic setting is understood as wrong rather than different. Based on this, I posit that acoustic and spatial specificity also participate in giving form to the figure of sound, and that the acoustic mediation of sound and habituations related to it profoundly influence our experience of self and others.