Most accounts of rhythm focus on notions of duration, pulse and metre, to explore the practices and constructs by which those involved in music performances co-ordinate their involvement. Yet there is a significant body of musical practice where sounds co-habit in time, without the same sorts of constraints found in metric co-ordination: from the gentle singing of Joseph Beuys during his Action Piece I Like America and America Likes Me, to Paul McCartney's song ‘Blackbird’. This is similar, say, to the improvisation practice of composer and trombonist George Lewis in his work with the computer programme Voyager. Starting from some ideas laid out by Gaston Bachelard and Gregory Bateson, and recent writings on critical post-humanism, this paper explores ways of considering ecologies of sounds in time, and their consequences for human musical experience.
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