Ivan Raykoff, Eugene Lang College for Liberal Arts at The New School (NY), presents "How Does Music Feel? Tactile Listening from Sound Art to Live Performance."
Musical haptics is a burgeoning field of research and creative experimentation that explores how we perceive and produce musical sound through touch and how we respond in embodied ways to music’s vibrotactility. Through advances in neuroscience, cognition, psychophysics, computing, engineering and design, this interdisciplinary field examines how vibration manifested as sound stimulates our senses of touch, including proprioception and kinesthesia, prompting physical and emotional “feelings”—a word that reveals the intrinsic connectedness of these responses. There is a rich historical and philosophical background to such investigations, from Marinetti’s Futurist and fantastical ideas for tactile theaters to Cage’s imaginative claims about the anechoic chamber to La Monte Young’s metaphysical inspirations and intentions for his Dream House installation. Many musicians describe their embodied relationship with their instrument as a tactile encounter, and the percussionist Evelyn Glennie demonstrates how “hearing is basically a specialized form of touch.” Recent scholarly work on this topic includes Marko Aho’s study of embodied learning of a musical instrument (The Tangible in Music, 2016) and the collection Musical Haptics (2018) on research and design ideas addressing the tactile aspects of music perception and performance.
Works of “sound art” can offer further creative possibilities for tactile listening beyond the limits of traditional instruments and performance settings. This presentation will discuss six interactive sound art installations that invite listeners to reconsider their relationships with sound and music through touch, reframing larger questions about music and affect through synesthetic experience. What can composers, performers and listeners learn from the wide range of possibilities—and the inherent limits—that sound art brings to the sensation of feeling music?
Ivan Raykoff is associate professor of music at Eugene Lang College for Liberal Arts at The New School in New York, where he teaches courses on music history, theory, film music and interdisciplinary aesthetics. He studied piano at the Eastman School of Music and received his PhD in Critical Studies and Experimental Practices in Music from the University of California at San Diego in 2002. He was a Fulbright Visiting Professor at the University of Vienna in 2013, researching and lecturing on the topic of visual music. He co-edited the collection A Song for Europe: Popular Music and Politics in the Eurovision Song Contest (Ashgate, 2007), and his book Dreams of Love: Playing the Romantic Pianist (Oxford Univ. Press, 2014) explores the concert pianist as a popular culture icon. He is currently working on a new book project titled Touching Sounds: Tactility in Music.
Image credit: Giacomo Balla, "The Hand of the Violinist (The Rhythms of the Bow)," (1912)
Lectures in Musicology is co-sponsored by The Ohio State University Libraries.
Lectures are held Mondays at 4 p.m. in the 18th Avenue Library, 175 W. 18th Ave. (Music/Dance Library, second floor, room 205). These events are free and open to the public.