X

Just Vibrations

The Purpose of Sounding Good

William Cheng

Modern academic criticism bursts with what Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick once termed paranoid readings -- interpretative feats that aim to prove a point, persuade an audience, and subtly denigrate anyone who disagrees. Driven by strategies of negation and suspicion, such rhetoric tends to drown out softer-spoken reparative efforts, which forego forceful argument in favor of ruminations on pleasure, love, sentiment, reform, care, and accessibility.

Just Vibrations: The Purpose of Sounding Good calls for a time-out in our serious games of critical exchange. Charting the divergent paths of paranoid and reparative affects through illness narratives, academic work, queer life, noise pollution, sonic torture, and other touchy subjects, William Cheng exposes a host of stubborn norms in our daily orientations toward scholarship, self, and sound. How we choose to think about the perpetration and tolerance of critical and acoustic offenses may ultimately lead us down avenues of ethical ruin� or, if we choose, repair. With recourse to experimental rhetoric, interdisciplinary discretion, and the playful wisdoms of childhood, Cheng contends that reparative attitudes toward music and musicology can serve as barometers of better worlds.

Purchase Paperback from Publisher

Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Imprint: University of Michigan Press
Published: 01/2016
Pages: 180
Subject: Music - General, Social Science - People with Disabilities
Print ISBN: 9780472053254
eBook ISBN: 9780472900565

DESCRIPTION

Modern academic criticism bursts with what Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick once termed paranoid readings -- interpretative feats that aim to prove a point, persuade an audience, and subtly denigrate anyone who disagrees. Driven by strategies of negation and suspicion, such rhetoric tends to drown out softer-spoken reparative efforts, which forego forceful argument in favor of ruminations on pleasure, love, sentiment, reform, care, and accessibility.

Just Vibrations: The Purpose of Sounding Good calls for a time-out in our serious games of critical exchange. Charting the divergent paths of paranoid and reparative affects through illness narratives, academic work, queer life, noise pollution, sonic torture, and other touchy subjects, William Cheng exposes a host of stubborn norms in our daily orientations toward scholarship, self, and sound. How we choose to think about the perpetration and tolerance of critical and acoustic offenses may ultimately lead us down avenues of ethical ruin� or, if we choose, repair. With recourse to experimental rhetoric, interdisciplinary discretion, and the playful wisdoms of childhood, Cheng contends that reparative attitudes toward music and musicology can serve as barometers of better worlds.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

William Cheng teaches music, media, and ethics at Dartmouth College and is the author of Sound Play: Video Games and the Musical Imagination.

REVIEWS

“Just Vibrations is without question a groundbreaking book, both accessible to a wide readership (including undergraduate students) and theoretically nuanced. Cheng elegantly balances clarity of explanation with scholarly depth and breadth. All this is accomplished through a writing style that is eminently readable, even poetic at times.”
—ANDREW DELL'ANTONIO, the University of Texas at Austin, Author of Listening as Spiritual Practice in Early Modern Italy