Soundscape of Modernity Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900-1933

ISBN-10: 0262701065
ISBN-13: 9780262701068
Edition: 2004
Authors: Emily Thompson
List price: $38.95 Buy it from $19.63
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Description: In this history of aural culture in early-twentieth-century America, Emily Thompson charts dramatic transformations in what people heard and how they listened. What they heard was a new kind of sound that was the product of modern technology. They  More...

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Book details

List price: $38.95
Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 9/17/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 510
Size: 8.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 2.750
Language: English

In this history of aural culture in early-twentieth-century America, Emily Thompson charts dramatic transformations in what people heard and how they listened. What they heard was a new kind of sound that was the product of modern technology. They listened as newly critical consumers of aural commodities. By examining the technologies that produced this sound, as well as the culture that enthusiastically consumed it, Thompson recovers a lost dimension of the Machine Age and deepens our understanding of the experience of change that characterized the era. Reverberation equations, sound meters, microphones, and acoustical tiles were deployed in places as varied as Boston's Symphony Hall, New York's office skyscrapers, and the soundstages of Hollywood. The control provided by these technologies, however, was applied in ways that denied the particularity of place, and the diverse spaces of modern America began to sound alike as a universal new sound predominated. Although this sound -- clear, direct, efficient, and nonreverberant -- had little to say about the physical spaces in which it was produced, it speaks volumes about the culture that created it. By listening to it, Thompson constructs a compelling new account of the experience of modernity in America.

Emily Thompson is a Professor of History at Princeton University.

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Sound, Modernity, and History
The Origins of Modern Acoustics
The New Acoustics, 1900-1933
Noise and Modern Culture, 1900-1933
Acoustical Materials and Modern Architecture, 1900-1933
Electroacoustics and Modern Sound, 1900-1933
Conclusion: Rockefeller Center and the End of an Era
Coda
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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