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Sound UnseenAcousmatic Sound in Theory and Practice$
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Brian Kane

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199347841

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199347841.001.0001

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Acousmatic Phantasmagoria and the Problem of Technê

Acousmatic Phantasmagoria and the Problem of Technê

(p.97) 4 Acousmatic Phantasmagoria and the Problem of Technê
Sound Unseen

Brian Kane

Oxford University Press

When creating acousmatic sound, techniques are often employed to occlude the source or cause of the sound. Following Marx, the occultation of the means of production is called “phantasmagoria.” Acousmatic phantasmagoria requires the use of techniques, whether architectural or bodily, to occlude the sonic source. This chapter offers a history of such techniques and the uses for which they have been employed in music primarily after 1800, but with a few precursors. Some cases include Schopenhauer’s aesthetics, Wackenroder’s Outpourings, Dunkelkonzerte, and architectural reforms leading up to Wagner’s Festspielhaus in Bayreuth. Acousmatic phantasmagoria is employed to produce an experience of transcendence. Aristotle’s analysis of technê and physis is developed to provide a philosophical account of the production of transcendence in acousmatic techniques. In all cases, transcendence (taken as music’s physis) requires the use and simultaneous expulsion of technê. Transcendence is never guaranteed.

Keywords:   phantasmagoria, Richard Wagner, Bayreuth, Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder, aural architecture, technê, transcendence, Arthur Schopenhauer, Dunkelkonzerte, body techniques

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