Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 30 November 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter tracks timbre through the mediated public sphere of Milan, as it came to congeal in Italian Futurism. Long mythologized as the origin of noisy art, sound scholars have yet to consider what the movement’s timbres meant in their time. They emerged beneath the rubric of “musical sensibility”—a coinage that harked back to timbre’s eighteenth-century emergence under the sign of aesthetic attention within Western modernities. The Futurists’ activities can thus be broadly historicized; vice versa, in their own context, timbre becomes estranged as a centuries-old concern. The Futurists’ interest in timbre dates them; it also proves their undoing: they set out to colonize the world of timbre, but social and technological factors intervene. Thus, while Futurism may not yield origins for modernism, it underscores the relational nature of listening—especially listening for timbre, which, as the social organization of concentrated listening, unexpectedly manifests when aesthetic attention breaks down.

Keywords: Futurism, timbre, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Francesco Balilla Pratella, Futurist music, Luigi Russolo, musical instruments, musical noise, intonarumori, enharmonic sounds

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.