Techniques of Magical Sound
This chapter inserts an interruption into the story usually told about sound control in modernity, arguing that scientific and secular rationalisms were not the only forces shaping responses to the problem of noise in the early twentieth century. The chapter takes account of those seeking sonic “re-enchantment” via sounds that promised to reconnect the hearing self with the magical vibrations of the cosmos. The chapter takes the Theosophical movement as its case study, tracing the influence of this movement on a range of cultural projects that emerged in response to modern noise, including self-help writing, social sound projects such as John Foulds’s “Cenotaph in Sound” as well as Maud MacCarthy’s experiments in musical healing.
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