Blog Post #6

In “Living with Music” Ralph Ellison describes that music affected his living experience in his New York City apartment building by observing people who live close to him, but rather than observing his subjects, he often hears them through his walls of his apartment building. In hearing these sounds it reinforces his perception of the place and community. Ellison mentions the sounds of loud neighbors that drive him mad as he wishes for peace and quiet, he starts to hear the sounds surrounding him in a dissimilar way once he starts making his own sounds in the apartment. He hears the sounds as a depiction of his neighbor’s lives rather than assorted noise.

Ellison mentions “In those days it was either live with music or die with noise”. What Ellison means by this is that there is a dissimilarity between the two types of sounds, which are music and noise. Ellison would fight noise with noise and realized that when his neighbor finished singing, and with music in his own apartment, the chaotic sounds from without and above had sunk. This juncture is where the distinction between noise and music is clear. Ellison has the option to either hear music from his city-dwellers or be disrupted by the noises that disintegrate the silence.

In ¬†Ways of hearing episode 2: Space, Krukowski speaks about noise and his experience growing up in New York City. Krukowski mentions the noise of the city as “less of a roar and more like being hit with a massive wave of sounds and people”. And mentions how listening to music using heads phones cancels the city noise. This point is similar to that of Ralph Ellison because yet again there is a clear distinction between two sounds which are noise and music. The city noise is that of Ellison’s apartment building noise and Ellison cancelled out the noise by playing music in his apartment while Krukowski explains how technology like headphones cancels out the loud city noise.

2 thoughts on “Blog Post #6

  1. Crystal J Wilson (She)

    I agree when you said that there is a dissimilarity between the two sounds- music and noise in which he chose the way how he dealt with the music from the neighbors and the sounds from outside.

  2. Paul Fess

    Ibrahima, this is very interesting. You do a nice job of tying together several strands of these pieces: music/noise, space and place, and technology. The intersection of these three aspects of sound is a rich site for thinking about what sound is and what it does.

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