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Environment Matters

Why Song Sounds the Way It Does

Series:

Lynn Whidden and Paul Shore

Why does human music sound the way it does? To better understand this, the authors look at the human and even animal ability for mimicry, at existing acoustic niches and introduce the idea of at least three habitats for music. Is there a unified sound quality for music created indoors, for song sung outdoors, and for music produced with electric signals?

Whidden and Shore seek answers from music ethnography, from the closed space of medieval churches, from Gothic architecture, from particular buildings such as the Prague Estates Theatre and from their own experience and that of others in the contemporary electronic music environment. Drawing on fieldwork, archival materials and media studies research, they propose a model that will inspire scholars to explore human music in its rightful and important place in the natural world.

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