Resonant listening.

Gritten, Anthony (2010) Resonant listening. Performance Research, 15 (3). pp. 115-122. ISSN 1352-8165

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This essay argues that listening is a matter of resonance. The body is an echo chamber for the timbral resonance of sonorous presence, and this is a matter beyond significance and intentionality. The argument proceeds by enlisting the help of related writings on music by Jean-Luc Nancy and Jean-François Lyotard, in particular Nancy’s recent book Listening and Lyotard’s late essays ‘Music, Mutic’ and ‘Anima Minima’, and their unpacking of terms with multiple implications, including entendre (to hear, to understand), matrice (womb, matrix), renvoi (return, repeat, refrain), and sens (meaning, sense, direction). It is argued that listening as Nancy conceives it complicates one of the key components of Lyotard’s philosophy of phrases in The Differend – reflective aesthetic judgement constitutes the basis for critical thought – by affording the emergence of a new form of subject in the resonance of feelings and the “linkages” between them. And it complicates Lyotard’s position by showing how resonance articulates feeling, how feelings (the “inside of thought”) become phrases, and showing how articulating phrases – listening – could actually be ethical, prudent, and sensitive to the event. General issues raised by the positions on listening adopted by Nancy and Lyotard are also considered. In particular: whether or not Nancy’s non-anthropomorphic phrasing of listening is sustainable when specifically musical listening is at issue; how resonance and listening relate to distraction, losing concentration, and interruption; and whether resonance presupposes a minimum threshold of aesthetic love below or without which it is impossible. As this essay will show, both Nancy and Lyotard agree that music has a thing or two to teach us, whether we are philosophers, musicians, both, or neither.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts
Citations on ISI Web of Science:0
ID Code:6306
Deposited On:19 Jul 2010 10:16
Last Modified:06 Oct 2015 09:58

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