The career of the guitarist Les Paul provides a case study for the theory of acousmatic sound developed in chapters 4 and 5. Paul, like a magician, played with listeners of his radio program by creating scenarios that depended on uncertain attributions of source and cause. One scenario involved the creation of a fictional machine, the “Les Paulverizer.” These radio techniques had to be modified when Paul and his wife Mary Ford performed live. Live performance posed a challenge to music that required a high degree of acousmaticity. Paul’s solution involved the use of hidden performers and recalled the legendary Pythagorean veil. Later, Paul’s creation of an actual “Les Paulverizer”—a guitar-mounted black box that controlled a hidden playback device—allowed him to maintain acousmatic spacing during live performance while forcing him into the unusual position of ventriloquizing his own voice.
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