- About the Companion Website: www.oup.com/us/ohss
- The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies
- New Keys to the World of Sound
- The Garden in the Machine: Listening to Early American Industrialization
- Turning a Deaf Ear? Industrial Noise and Noise Control in Germany since the 1920s
- “Sobbing, Whining, Rumbling”: Listening to Automobiles as Social Practice
- Selling Sound: Testing, Designing, and Marketing Sound in the European Car Industry
- Sound Sterile: Making Scientific Field Recordings in Ornithology
- Underwater Music: Tuning Composition to the Sounds of Science
- A Gray Box: The Phonograph in Laboratory Experiments and Fieldwork, 1900–1920
- From Scientific Instruments to Musical Instruments: The Tuning Fork, the Metronome, and the Siren
- Conversions: Sound and Sight, Military and Civilian
- The Search for the “Killer Application”: Drawing the Boundaries around the Sonification of Scientific Data
- Inner and Outer Sancta: Earplugs and Hospitals
- Sounding Bodies: Medical Students and the Acquisition of Stethoscopic Perspectives
- Do Signals Have Politics? Inscribing Abilities in Cochlear Implants
- Sound and Player Immersion in Digital Games
- The Sonic Playpen: Sound Design and Technology in Pixar’s Animated Shorts
- The Avant-Garde in the Family Room: American Advertising and the Domestication of Electronic Music in the 1960s and 1970s
- Visibly Audible: The Radio Dial as Mediating Interface
- From Listening to Distribution: Nonofficial Music Practices in Hungary and Czechoslovakia from the 1960s to the 1980s
- The Amateur in the Age of Mechanical Music
- Online Music Sites as Sonic Sociotechnical Communities: Identity, Reputation, and Technology at ACIDplanet.com
- Analog Turns Digital: Hip-Hop, Technology, and the Maintenance of Racial Authenticity
- iPod Culture: The Toxic Pleasures of Audiotopia
- The Recording That Never Wanted to Be Heard and Other Stories of Sonification
Abstract and Keywords
This article uses the story of the phonautograph as a way of investigating the development of a cluster of practices called “sonification,” or the transformation of nonsonic data into audible sound. It begins with introducing the phonautograph and reasons as to why its study is relevant under the field of sound studies. It considers the possibility of listening to a phonautograph recording as marking an aesthetic and epistemic shift in the history of sound. It then reviews a range of practices of sonification, all of which move data and experience between the sonic and nonsonic registers. This study advances three nested methodological propositions. It argues for attending to the modularity of sensory technologies, modularity of the relations between senses, subjects, and technologies, modularity of the senses themselves. Finally, the article concludes by returning to the case of the phonoautograph in order to advance some speculative propositions regarding the present conjuncture in the history of sound.
Jonathan Sterne is in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University.
Mitchell Akiyama, McGill University, Canada
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