Reason and Resonance

Veit Erlmann


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“I am the resonance and the tone.”


Erlmann’s intensive “auditory history of knowledge” follows and unravels the close ties between philosophy, science, and aurality: all that is related to sound and hearing. Fighting the expectation that hearing is a passive second-place to the dominant sense of sight, he references a range of researchers, philosophers, poets, psychologists, and music theorists. It begins with an explanation of anatomist Samuel Sommering’s belief that the brain’s ventricular fluid was an interface joining the auditory nerve and the soul. How is sound tied to experience? What is this “intimate animosity” between reason and resonance? Does all art, and all that is created by human hands, attempt to achieve the abstraction that is found only in sound and how we hear it?