Auditory ch 11 & 12 questions 3/26

1. Some voices that stand out to me culturally, historically, and/or politically range from celebrities to robots. Many celebrities have distinct voices that people can automatically pick up on, a few of these are Morgan Freeman, Kim Kardashian, Oprah Winfrey, etc. Other more generic voices would be the voice on the buttons you hit when trying to cross a street that says “wait,” the voice on commercials that list the risks and side effects of medications very quickly, the “walk do not run to the nearest exit” voice in movie theaters, and the flight attendants “speech.” They all have the same things to say over and over and most of the time it is the same voice. Robotic voices that stand out are the voices on GPS directions and the voice of Siri. They are usually the same robotic voice on each device. All of these voices remind me of specific places or things that I have associated with over time.

2. The idea I came up with for “listen through place” would be how I listen to dancers step, jump, turn, etc. on a hard wooden floor. Now someone who is not familiar with dance might associate those sounds with basketball players running, jumping, etc. on a hard wooden floor. The sounds would be similar but mean different things to different people depending on their background and the context. Any “unnatural” silence or sound to people would be an example of this.

3. Here are a few examples of how a social justice could be approached with sounds. Injuries that are connected to sports can be very serious, and the sound of helmets hitting or people tackling each other could be a way to contribute to the awareness of the issue. Another issue would be the number of medications the U.S. uses. The sounds of pills in a pill bottle and the beeping of machines in hospitals would bring attention to this problem. Lastly, there have been many school shootings recently and to bring awareness to support gun control/violence would be to listen to recordings of the shootings they have and to listen to phone calls parents have received. The high emotional impact would make people listen and hopefully cause a change.


Group 3 presentations

The Sonic Color Line Chapter 2

The Sonic Color Line Chapter 5

Radio and the Gendered Soundscape: Introduction

Radio and the Gendered Soundscape ch. 3

Sound Play: Introduction

Group Project: Exploring Spaces and sounds

Group Project: Exploring Spaces and sounds

Floors of the library

  • “Now we must learn to judge a society by its noise” (p.2) The Auditory Culture Reader
  • “Theorists of listening, using aural imagery and musical strategies to explore listening as a form of agency, a technique of survival, an ethics of community building, a practice of self-care, a guide through racialized space, a site of racialization, and a mode of decolonization” (p. 17) The Sonic Color Line
  • “A listening subject is comprised of auditory information processed through interactive and intersectional psychological filters that include habits, assumptions, desires, and repulsions shaped by gender, class, national, regional, and linguistic identities” (p.32) The Sonic Color Line
  • Any of the “ineffable and the inexpressible” sounds Numbers 1-8 (p. 55-56) The Auditory Culture Reader
  • “Historically and analytically, there are difficulties involved in integrating or braiding together the resulting strands of thought into a single overarching diasporic soundscape that reveals the localization as well as the globalization of the world (p. 331-332) The Auditory Culture Reader


Record the different sounds of the library depending on the floors. Use the readings related to sounds, to show how each floor affects students differently and their ability to find a place to study. Record specific sounds from each floor to make distinctions between each floor and the students on each floor.

1st floor: Writing Center, RLC, print & copy center, checkout desk, building of Einstein Bros Bagels

2nd floor: Periodicals and presentation practice room

3rd & 4th floors: Quiet floors (3rd floor: Administration Offices, 4th floor: Assistive Technology)

5th & 6th floors: Absolutely Quiet floors

7th floor: Computer Lab

Script Sound Memoir Engl 320

Script 320

  • Start with the sound of dance movements without music
  • Play “Ballet Jumps”
  • “The sounds of a dance studio. These are the sounds I have grown up with and have learned to love. From taking classes to teaching students, dance has been an important factor in my life. Growing up as a dancer I have learned a lot and now I am happy to share my experiences with my students and now you. I teach students the movements and vocabulary and give them feedback and corrections to improve.
  • I believe ballet is the backbone of dance and most other styles branch out from ballet. One thing that is universal in dance is how we count. We count in 8s, so if you here me saying 5, 6, 7, 8 that is an introduction to start counting and dancing. The first class I teach is a ballet class and usually in a ballet class instrumental music is played. Ballet class starts at the barre, which is a horizontal pole or rail that dancers use for support during exercises. Ballet terms are in French since ballet originally developed in France. There are many terms in ballet and when someone does it for a long time, jargon becomes an issue. So I will try my best to explain and I’ve used the American Ballet Theater dictionary for reference. Some of these exercises at the barre include plies, which means to bend, tendus, which mean to stretch, fondus which means to melt, frappes which means to strike, and more. Here I am teaching a tendu combination and my students practicing.
  • Play “Ballet with barre”
  • Ballet also includes exercises in the center of the floor and across the floor. These exercises are sautés or jumps, pirouettes or turns, grand allegro or leaps and more. Here the students are practicing a pirouette combination across the floor.
  • Play “pirouettes with corrections (45-53)”
  • As I said earlier, ballet branches out into other genres. One of these genres and the 2nd class I teach is called jazz. Jazz is more upbeat and fun than the serious ballet class. Usually, in a jazz class, I play upbeat, pop songs. For teaching jazz, I start with a warm-up because I always want my students’ muscles warm before doing any movement. Some exercises are jumping jacks, burpees, crunches, and pushups, then we stretch.
  • Play “*Jazz warm up middle” “*Jazz warm up push-ups Lights down low”
  • Then similarly to ballet we go across the floor and work in the center. Some of the exercises include kicks, leaps, turns, etc.
  • Play “Jazz 5,6,7,8”
  • The last genre and 3rd class I teach at my studio is lyrical or also known as contemporary. This style is slower paced and the movement relates to the words being sung. But before the movement, I also start lyrical with a warm-up of the same jazz elements. And we also go across the floor.
  • Play “Lyrical”
  • One element of lyrical is improv. Which means a student creates movements on the spot to follow the song that is playing.
  • Play “Improv”
  • Dance has been a gift in my life and sharing the experiences have given my job and life purpose.
  • Play “Ballet jumps”

SSR #1 320

Nastasia Vasconcells

ENGL 320: Sonic Studies

19 February 2018

The Challenges Black Artists Faced SSR#1


In chapter 25 of The Auditory Culture Reader, Bull and Back bring awareness to the struggles and the issues black artists faced and still currently face due to a myriad of reasons. One reason was, “music…a structure of feeling that might function to make wrongs and injustices more bearable” (Bull & Back p.324). Politics were involved with a lot of music and many used this as a way to justify things they were doing. For example, in The Sonic Color Line in chapter 4, Stoever explained how, there was visual objectification and sonic commodification, which revealed how the sonic color line sought to limit black voices (p.194). Many thought it was a privilege to have black artists when in reality many black artists were made to be marketable. Because of this history, many black artists struggled.


In the introduction of The Sonic Color Line, Stoever shows one of the struggles black artists may have faced due to the sonic color line. For example, “The Jubilees and Chesnutt succeeded in shifting definitions of “authentic” blackness away from blackface performance; however mainstream American media outlets appropriated their representations to shore up a new sonic image of blackness focused on sounds of suffering” (Stoever p. 26). This means that white Americans changed the meaning of black artists’ music from what it was to what they wanted. This was a commonality that occurred with black artists and black music and made it challenging for them.

Chapter 7 of The Auditory Culture Reader discusses the way slaveholders treated their slaves and that the black person (their slaves) had specific sensory characteristics that separated them from whites. This chapter also brings awareness to the separation black artists would face; “the late nineteenth century saw the legal consolidation of this desire to establish separate spaces for black and white, and even in the driest legal document we find senses playing pivotal roles in segregating streetcars, restaurants, theaters, and all manner of public accommodations well into the twentieth century” (Bull & Back p. 102). Segregating theaters was not an ideal for black artists. Being separated because of the way they “smelled, looked, tasted, etc.” caused literal separation from whites.

The Sonic Color Line details the way whites controlled the details of listening in order to favor them. Chapter 1 says “Jacobs further explores the differences between white listening practices and those developed by slaves, using rich description to detail the white supremacist assumptions enabled by and encoded in the sonic color line, revealing them as specific sonic symbols of American patriarchy and white supremacy rather than universal affective experiences” (Stoever p.58). This created a racialization of listening that would, in turn, make it difficult for a black artist to escape the white supremacist assumptions.

The introduction of The Auditory Culture Reader discusses an audition of a black man to the audition of a white man. The one critique given was to sing in his natural voice (Bull & Back p. 17) meaning the black man did not sound the way he was supposed to. Continuing, Bull & Back say, “put simply, you can’t segregate the airways” (p. 17). This meant people could not control the way they sound and segregation was more based on skin color or race rather than the way people sound. This artist was judged for his voice not sounding black enough creating an issue to succeed.

Another artist that had issues with not sounding black enough was Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, who is discussed in chapter 2 of The Sonic Color Line. Stoever says “The sonic color line divided white women from black women, and the listening ear amplified perceived differences in the face of abolition and women’s rights activism, devaluing Greenfield’s voice and appearance while representing Lind’s soprano as the embodiment of the tenets of upper-class Victorian femininity, even as her performances immanently subverted them” (p. 88). Jenny Lind was a white artist in the same time period. The chapter reflects the different experiences they each had due to their differences in race. Both of the artists had similar sounds but because Greenfield was black, she was treated differently. Many criticized her because of her “whiteness” which was reflected in her singing voice. She was also criticized because of her “blackness” which was reflected in her skin color. She was not “enough” of either color so she had difficulties as an artist.

Chapter 3 of The Sonic Color Line discusses the Jubilee singers and Charles Chesnutt. The Fisk Jubilee Singers challenged America’s sonic color line and altered the dominant listening ear (Stoever p. 133). This, however, was not without risk, “but only through dangerous performances that risked affirming the listening ear by constructing new sonic representations of “blackness” (Stoever p. 133). The chapter also talks about conservation of the music and artists throughout time and how it showed the hardships faced. Remembering what people went through trying to be black artists and trying to change the way black artist were viewed is an important part of history.

In conclusion, the struggles black artists faced throughout time is highlighted in both The Sonic Color Line and The Auditory Culture Reader. Racism, slavery, white supremacy, segregation, and more challenged black artists in ways white artists would never have to encounter.


  1. Does criticism for not sounding “white” or “black” enough still occur today? Why has this not evolved to not be an issue?
  2. When people audition, are people still turned away because of the way they look? What strategies are in place to prevent this from happening?
  3. How much history has been erased due to the fact whites changed many things to be what they want rather than what it was?


Word count: 968

Works Cited

Bull, Michael, and Les Back. The Auditory Culture Reader. Bloomsbury, 2016.

Stoever, Jennifer Lynn. The Sonic Color Line: Race and the Cultural Politics of      Listening. New York University Press, 2016.

Memoir Project Proposal

My project will go through the life of a dance teacher and the different classes, sounds, and interactions I deal with. I teach dance at the studio where I grew up dancing. I teach ballet, lyrical/contemporary and jazz classes. For this project, I will go through what music I use, what the typical schedule is, and different things I teach and do in each of those disciplines.

For many, the dance world is alien and introducing the practices will open the door to what really happens in a studio. The sounds in a studio introduce people to how the teachers and students interact and learn. This art form is made with an importance on music and sound. Dance has been an important factor in my life and I would like to share the dance experience with others.

Sound Matters Application:

The first podcast we listened to made me realize how important personal information and stories help one to relate to the audience. Making sure I do that in my project will be beneficial.
Also, we discussed how the recording of the long jump was very good and I’m trying to figure out a way that I could incorporate something like that into my recording.
The last recording I really enjoyed the layering when he was talking about the rainforest. I would like to incorporate this into my project somehow. I could start with just movement without sounds and later add them in to get a similar effect.
With both recordings, they had smooth transitions from voice to voice, sound to sound, etc.