Acoustic

Sound cage for experiments in sound localization, in Matataro Matsumoto, “Researches on Acoustic Space,” Studies from the Yale Psychological Laboratory, 5, 1897, 1–75: 3.

Max Planck Research Group (Acoustics)

Epistemes of Modern Acoustics

Research Group Leader Viktoria Tkaczyk

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In recent years, historians have placed modern science under the sign of a “hegemony of vision” in Western culture—one that, despite extending back to antiquity, only became a radically defining moment with the beginning of the early modern period and the invention of new optical instruments and visual technologies. Without calling into question the modern primacy of vision in general, this research group initiates a more intensive consideration of sound in its dual function as a research object and as an epistemic tool. The genealogy of acoustic knowledge is traced throughout the modern era. We ask about the conditions that enable acoustic knowledge—guided by the premise that the genealogy of acoustic knowledge goes beyond the history of the exact sciences and involves a considerably broader cultural and historical context.

The Max Planck Research Group Epistemes of Modern Acoustics thus focuses on the religious, political, and artistic practices, the media technologies, and the material cultures that prompted a new study of the nature and perception of sound. Acoustic strategies of knowledge production are another of the research group’s interests. What historical knowledge could be acquired or represented only acoustically? When and how were acoustic apparatuses, instruments, and machines deployed as alternative means of research?

Research Themes

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Betwixt and Between: Sound in the Humanities and Sciences
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Sound Objects in Transition
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Testing Hearing
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Projects

Thinking with Sound
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Signal, Symbol, Measure, Model
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Tuning the World
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Harmonies at Work
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After Mapping the Avant-Garde
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Sound & Science: Digital Histories
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Events

Instrumentalizing Musical Form in Early Modern Europe: The Case of Nicola Vicentino and Enharmonic Keyboards

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Thinking with Sound: A New Program in the Sciences and Humanities around 1900

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Publications & Digital Resources

News & Press

Research Group "Epistemes of Modern Acoustics" publishes special issue of Technology and Culture

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Radio interview on The Oxford Handbook of Music Listening in the 19th and 20th Centuries

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Lotte Marie Schüßler awarded Förderpreis der Gesellschaft für Theatergeschichte

 

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