I chose to primarily focus on the reading of Chapter 2: The Sharawaji Effect. Going into this, I had absolutely no idea what to expect, but I was immediately intrigued by what this all meant. The concept of sound, and the reality of it, are similar but never quite the same. One of the oldest questions is “If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound?” But how do we know that sound is the same if we aren’t there to perceive it, and if it does happen? We can have an idea in our head of what a sound is like, but without physically observing that exact event or creating it, we will never be able to fabricate a truly representative sound.
The idea of a perfect sound, or Sharawaji, is so subjective and also nearly impossible to obtain, that it seems like this unachievable and fleeting thing. Because even if we find something that we could potentially classify as this, will it ever truly meet our expectations to the fullest? Or will we always feel it wasn’t *quite* right?
I tried to think of what my favorite sound was. On one side, I love the sound of rain, of crashing waves, of moving water. On the other side, I love the sound of a perfectly constructed dissonant but resolving harmony. But have I ever heard an example of these that left me speechless? Not entirely.
I was quite curious on how/if this topic would relate back to the topics we’ve primarily been discussing throughout class: human impact, climate change, etc. The idea of the sound of icebergs crashing into the ocean was an interesting connection. Honestly, this reading was the easiest for me all term because it was on terms that more easily resonated with me. It made me wonder what other things have changed with the development of humans. Do birds sing differently now there’s more smog in the air? Do animals cry out more in pain than they do in harmony as their homes are destroyed? Do the raging fires crackling in the forest drown out the sounds of running water? Why is the talk about human impact always about technology and physical changes, and not about the changes in how we are allowed to perceive the world?
I really liked this week’s reading. So much so that I kind of forgot how grimm this class can be sometimes. The idea of music being innate to life is an interesting one. I read the third chapter, like many of the other blog posts I read. That weird coincidence aside, the chapter did the most work of any of these articles by reminding me of our general insignificance. Before you go calling me a nihilist however, this is actually a kind of relaxing thought. Through these readings we have gone over the impending doom of our species. Actually now that I think of it that was mostly relegated to our discussions but the point still stands. This chapter touched on an entirely different aspect of anthropocentrism. I left this reading feeling much better about myself then any other. It gave me a sort of break with regards to the constant stream of horror and dread we hear about climate change, pollution, PFAS, CFC’s and much much more. All of these things are so far outside of my, or really any one normal person’s, hands that it can be hard to stay positive. But sometimes its just nice to imagine a bird yelling at a clarinetist in a Berlin park.
The more and more I go on through my path of academia I realize more and more how truly disconnected from the earth we all are. This class, along with a few others, have really opened my eyes to how unnatural the lives that humans have created are. I’m not saying this in a purely negative and accusatory way, but more in an observational way. From the food we eat, to the structures we live under, to the way we treat animals and nature, we have disconnected ourselves from out natural selves. And now I realized that almost everything we hear is a sound made by us and not the earth. Rarely do we hear the earth speak, and even rarer do we hear it sing. This makes me sad. I want to be able to hear the earth, but it is being droned out every second of every day by cars, or construction, or lawn mowers, or my roommate fucking blasting t.v. in the living room right now. When I walk to class, I don’t even try to listen anymore. I instead put in my headphones and listen to music, so if a bird was trying to sing to for me I wouldn’t hear them. Music is interesting, because it as well is getting shaped by this unnaturalness that I’m trying to get at. A thousand years ago the only way to hear music would be to sit in the presence of a musician and have them share a song with you. And although you can view humans as shaping a piece of brass into a horn in order to create different sounds as unnatural, I think the natural human aspect of it outweighs the rest. I don’t know if you can say that anymore. With this era of technology, sounds are not created as often as they used to be (with artists actually using something to produce a physical sound), but merely arranging sounds (like using sounds on a computer to create a melody and a beat, for example). Now personally I love today’s music and I have no longing to go back to the days of classical music, nor am I arguing that music today isn’t as musical, but rather that it is not as natural. I like. listening to music in my airpods, but I kinds just wish I could hear the birds sing.