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The Journal of Sonic Studies
Journal of Sonic Studies, volume 4, nr. 1 (May 2013)Maarten Walraven: HISTORY AND ITS ACOUSTIC CONTEXT: SILENCE, RESONANCE, ECHO AND WHERE TO FIND THEM IN THE ARCHIVE

To refer to this article use this url: http://journal.sonicstudies.org/vol04/nr01/a07

Abstract

Listening to history requires the historian to compose sonic events from the archive. This essay explores how Audible History has developed since Alain Corbin’s ground-breaking Village Bells. The listening historian has broadened the scope of social and cultural history by rearranging existing and creating new narratives. However, historians need to go beyond interrogating the earwitnesses of aural cultures. They need to listen to sounds-as-objects and the acoustic context of events. Three concepts are introduced to develop a methodology for this: 1) silence, which is the silence of the archive as well as the role silence played in history’s sonic register; 2) resonance, which demonstrates the way that resonances between people and their environment and among people created community; 3) echo, as a concept that allows for the objectification of sounds at the same time that it attends to the origins of sounds-as-objects.