Sound Matters

Essays on the Acoustics of German Culture

Nora M. Alter,

Sound Matters: Essays on the Acoustics of German Culture
 
 

The sounds of music and the German language have played a significant role in the developing symbolism of the German nation. In light of the historical division of Germany into many disparate political entities and regional groups, German artists and intellectuals of the 19th and early 20th centuries conceived of musical and linguistic dispositions as the nation's most palpable common ground. According to this view, the peculiar sounds of German music and of the German language provided a direct conduit to national identity, to the deepest recesses of the German soul. So strong is this legacy of sound is still prevalent in modern German culture that philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, in a recent essay, did not even hesitate to describe post-wall Germany as an "acoustical body."

This volume gathers the work of scholars from the US, Germany, and the United Kingdom to explore the role of sound in modern and postmodern German cultural production. Working across established disciplines and methodological divides, the essays of Sound Matters investigate the ways in which texts, artists, and performers in all kinds of media have utilized sonic materials in order to enforce or complicate dominant notions of German cultural and national identity.



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