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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Johannes Mulder and Theo van Leeuwen investigate how the microphone, the amplifier, and the loudspeaker have changed the semiotic potential of the sound of the voice. Based on a social semiotic understanding, the authors discuss the voice from three perspectives: physical, focusing on how bodily experience from speaking and singing informs the understanding of the sound of the voice (covering implications such as pitch, loudness, and alterations of various kinds); social, based on the way human social and cultural experiences, such as accents and different vocal styles, inform the understanding of sound; and, finally, the technologically enhanced voice, showing that, even though the appreciation of this voice rests on prior understanding of biological and social voices, this voice introduces extraexperiential dimensions that slowly assimilate into the culture as a form of disembodied, nonhuman voice.

Keywords: sound production, music technology, voice, singing, sound semiotics

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