Sound Matters: Essays on the Acoustics of Modern German Culture

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Berghahn Books, 2004 - Music - 257 pages
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The sounds of music and the German language have played a significant role in the developing symbolism of the German nation. In light of the historical division of Germany into many disparate political entities and regional groups, German artists and intellectuals of the 19th and early 20th centuries conceived of musical and linguistic dispositions as the nation's most palpable common ground. According to this view, the peculiar sounds of German music and of the German language provided a direct conduit to national identity, to the deepest recesses of the German soul. So strong is this legacy of sound is still prevalent in modern German culture that philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, in a recent essay, did not even hesitate to describe post-wall Germany as an acoustical body.

This volume gathers the work of scholars from the US, Germany, and the United Kingdom to explore the role of sound in modern and postmodern German cultural production. Working across established disciplines and methodological divides, the essays of Sound Matters investigate the ways in which texts, artists, and performers in all kinds of media have utilized sonic materials in order to enforce or complicate dominant notions of German cultural and national identity.


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German Identity Music
The Third Symphony and the Political
Nazi Germany as
The Politics and Sounds of Everyday Life in Kuhle Wampe
Aural Strategies in Rolf Thieles
Word and Flesh in Fassbinders
Benjamins Silence
Silence Is Golden? The Short Fiction of Pieke Biermann
Transmission Dissemination
Sounds Familiar? Nina Simones Performances
Roll Over Beethoven Chuck Berry Mick Jagger 1960s Rock
The Music That Lola Ran To
Heiner Goebbels and the Music
Music Media and Memory
Notes on Contributors

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About the author (2004)

Nora M. Alter is Professor of German, Film and Media Studies at the University of Florida. She is author of Vietnam Protest Theatre: The Television War on Stage (Indiana UP, 1996) and Projecting History: German Non-Fiction Film 1967-2000, (University of Michigan Press, 2002). She has published articles in New German Critique, The Germanic Review, Cultural Critique, Studies in Twentieth Century Literature, and contributed essays to Beyond 1989, Imperialism and Theatre and Triangulated Visions. She is currently working on a project on the "The Essay Film."

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