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“Music as Action: Singing Happens before Sound” posits that sound is a subset of vibration and suggests that singing and listening constitute vital exchanges of energy. It interrogates the basic principles of singing and sound production by examining performance art pieces by Elodie Blanchard and a chamber opera by Alba Triana. In part because no sounds are predetermined as sounds per se, sounds in these projects cannot maintain static definitions based on numerical values (such as 440 hertz) or significations (such as the note A). Instead, sound is an exchange that takes place during singing and listening. This chapter denaturalizes sign- and discourse-based analyses of sound, proposing in their place a material, sensory-based analysis that assumes sound to be the result of an action rather than the action itself. In this way, this chapter questions the position and origin of the definition of work.

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