Review of The Sound Studies Reader and The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies
Journal of the American Musicological Society 67:1 (2014), 257–66
The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies (OHSS) and The Sound Studies Reader (SSR) are rowdy in the best sense of the word—vibrant, intense, materially diverse. These volumes invite us to journey into cities, enter laboratories, streak across microchips, zoom in on atoms, tread into gardens, and dive into watery depths in search of soundworlds that book and bloom. Authors lend their ears to a jumble of mediums, spaces, topics, agents, data, devices, cultures, historical moments, and futures. Together, the resonant texts mirror and reflexively critique two of sound studies' leading concerns: first, that we live in noisy times (acoustically, discursively); and second, that the very challenges of writing about sound may offer vital clues into sound's definitions, properties, and epistemologies.