Book ID: CBB001214629

The Psychophysical Ear: Musical Experiments, Experimental Sounds, 1840--1910 (2013)

unapi

Hui, Alexandra (Author)


MIT Press


Publication Date: 2013
Physical Details: xxii + 233 pp.; ill.
Language: English

In the middle of the nineteenth century, German and Austrian concertgoers began to hear new rhythms and harmonies as non-Western musical ensembles began to make their way to European cities and classical music introduced new compositional trends. At the same time, leading physicists, physiologists, and psychologists were preoccupied with understanding the sensory perception of sound from a psychophysical perspective, seeking a direct and measurable relationship between physical stimulation and physical sensation. These scientists incorporated specific sounds into their experiments--the musical sounds listened to by upper middle class, liberal Germans and Austrians. In The Psychophysical Ear, Alexandra Hui examines this formative historical moment, when the worlds of natural science and music coalesced around the psychophysics of sound sensation, and new musical aesthetics were interwoven with new conceptions of sound and hearing. Hui, a historian and a classically trained musician, describes the network of scientists, musicians, music critics, musicologists, and composers involved in this redefinition of listening. She identifies a source of tension for the psychophysicists: the seeming irreconcilability between the idealist, universalizing goals of their science and the increasingly undeniable historical and cultural contingency of musical aesthetics. The convergence of the respective projects of the psychophysical study of sound sensation and the aesthetics of music was, however, fleeting. By the beginning of the twentieth century, with the professionalization of such fields as experimental psychology and ethnomusicology and the proliferation of new and different kinds of music, the aesthetic dimension of psychophysics began to disappear.

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Reviewed By

Review Hans-Joachim Braun (2014) Review of "The Psychophysical Ear: Musical Experiments, Experimental Sounds, 1840--1910". Icon: Journal of the International Committee for the History of Technology (pp. 191-193). unapi

Review Hans-Joachim Braun (2014) Review of "The Psychophysical Ear: Musical Experiments, Experimental Sounds, 1840--1910". Icon: Journal of the International Committee for the History of Technology (pp. 191-193). unapi

Review Robinson, David K. (2014) Review of "The Psychophysical Ear: Musical Experiments, Experimental Sounds, 1840--1910". Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences (pp. 119-120). unapi

Review Campbell, Bruce B. (2014) Review of "The Psychophysical Ear: Musical Experiments, Experimental Sounds, 1840--1910". German Studies Review (p. 179). unapi

Review Cahan, David (2014) Review of "The Psychophysical Ear: Musical Experiments, Experimental Sounds, 1840--1910". Technology and Culture (pp. 256-258). unapi

Citation URI
http://data.isiscb.org/isis/citation/CBB001214629/

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Authors & Contributors
Pantalony, David Alexander
Jackson, Myles W.
Kursell, Julia
Hui, Alexandra
de Quadros, Andre
Bunbury, Richard
Journals
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Osiris: A Research Journal Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Modernism/Modernity
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Psychoanalysis and History
Publishers
Springer Science + Business Media
Johns Hopkins University Press
University of California, Los Angeles
Boston University
Bloomsbury Academic
Columbia University
Concepts
Music
Science and music
Musical instruments
Sound reproduction
Acoustics
Technology and music
People
Helmholtz, Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von
Koenig, Karl Rudolph
Stumpf, Carl
Freud, Sigmund
Carey, William M.
Schoenberg, Arnold
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
18th century
20th century, late
Modern
Places
Germany
France
United States
Institutions
Académie Royale des Sciences (France)
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