Week 7 Newsletter

Hi all,

This week we continued our turn to sound, and more specifically, the relationship between sound and spatial development. We brought our reading of Schafer’s “The Soundscape” and Ralph Ellison’s essay “Living with Music.” As many of you wrote in the blog, in this essay Ellison engages a hand-to-hand combat of noise/music against outside noise, and he filters his personal history through this music.

One point that kept coming up in the blogs that I’d like to raise here deals with the relationship Ellison sets up between music and noise in his opening sentence: “In those days, it was either live with music or die with noise.” Defining what “noise” and “music” means is an important aspect of what writers and thinkers represented in this unit do. And, one way of reading what Ellison is saying is that our definitions of what constitutes noise and music should be more flexible. In this sense “living with music” signifies thinking about many different kinds of sounds as music, something that could be thought of as purposefully created, even beautiful rather than noise, which most people would reject and discard. Ellison chooses to participate by cranking the records on his record player rather than retreat into simplistic noise complaints.


As for your grades, I have finished grading blog #5 and #6. If I didn’t see the blog posted I entered a grade of zero. You can correct this by posting a response to the blog and contacting me. (If it seems like I overlooked your work please contact me.) Also, please respond to each other’s posts if you haven’t had a chance to yet.

I’m still working on your papers, but I hope to have them finished very soon.

Upcoming work

Week 8 (11/02-11/06)