Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Textured Voices and the Performance of Ethical Life in the Case of the Laff Box (1966)

  • DAVID McCARTHY
Abstract

Textured voices include both voices heard as interpolated into a musical texture and voices heard as having their own textured character, whether as a ‘voice’ with a ‘timbre’ or as a ‘collective voice’ with a ‘composite timbre’ made up of many voices, each textured itself. They have often been heard as performances of ethical life. Comparisons between these performances can be misleading because the contingencies characterizing the textured voice for a listener who listens in a particular way can make each performance irreducible. A pair of articles and cartoons in TV Guide from the summer of 1966 depict the making of a textured laugh track as a contradictory activity. Yet they seem to resolve contradictions into surface conflicts between individuated parties. Listening for textured voices in this case was itself a political activity because it was productive of more than one distinct form of ethical life.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Email: dmccarthy@gradcenter.cuny.edu
References
Hide All
Adorno, Theodor W.History and Freedom: Lectures 1964–1965, ed. Tiedemann, Rolf, trans. Livingstone, Rodney. Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2006.
Adorno, Theodor W.Negative Dialectics, trans. Ashton, E. B.. New York: Continuum International, 2007.
Althusser, Louis and Balibar, Étienne. Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays, trans. Brewster, Ben. New York: Monthly Review Press, 2001.
Althusser, Louis and Balibar, Étienne. Reading Capital, trans. Brewster, Ben. New York: Verso, 2009.
Barthes, Roland. The Responsibility of Forms: Critical Essays on Music, Art, and Representation, trans. Howard, Richard. New York: Hill and Wang, 1985.
Braverman, Harry. Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1998.
Brick, Howard. Age of Contradiction: American Thought and Culture in the 1960s. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998.
Briscoe, Desmond and Curtis-Bramwell, Roy. The BBC Radiophonic Workshop: The First 25 Years. London: British Broadcasting Corp., 1983.
Burke, Kenneth. A Grammar of Motives. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1969.
Burke, Kenneth. Attitudes Toward History. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.
Cage, John. Silence: Lectures and Writings by John Cage. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1973.
Carter, Elliott. String Quartet No. 4. London: Boosey & Hawkes, 1986.
Chion, Michel. Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen, trans. Gorbman, Claudia. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994.
Copland, Aaron. What to Listen for in Music. New York: Whittlesey House, McGraw-Hill, 1939.
Cowell, Henry. Fabric: For Piano. New York: Breitkopf, 1922.
Cowell, Henry. New Musical Resources. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1930.
Crary, Jonathan. Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999.
Dobb, Maurice. Studies in the Development of Capitalism. New York: Routledge, 1946.
Dunsby, Jonathan. ‘Considerations of Texture’. Music & Letters 70/1 (1989), 4657.
Erickson, Robert. Sound Structure in Music. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975.
Fass, Paula S.Outside In: Minorities and the Transformation of American Education. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.
Fassett, James H. and Goldberg, Mortimer. Strange to Your Ears: The Fabulous World of Sound. Columbia Masterworks ML 4938. LP. Circa 1955.
Frazier, E. Franklin. Black Bourgeoisie. New York: Free Press Paperbacks, 1997.
Ginzberg, Eli, Bryan, Vincent, Hamilton, Grace T., Herma, John L., and Yohalem, Alice M.. The Middle-Class Negro in the White Man's World. New York: Columbia University Press, 1967.
Goodman, David. ‘Distracted Listening: On Not Making Sound Choices in the 1930s’, in Sound in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, ed. Suisman, David and Strasser, Susan. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012. 1546.
Gracyk, Theodore. Rhythm and Noise. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996.
Habermas, Jürgen. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, trans. Burger, Thomas. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991.
Hayek, Friedrich A.The Road to Serfdom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944.
Helmholtz, Hermann L. F.On the Sensations of Tone as a Physiological Basis for the Theory of Music, trans. Ellis, Alexander J.. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1875.
Hobsbawm, Eric. The Age of Empire, 1875–1914. New York: Pantheon Books, 1987.
Hobsbawm, Eric. The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914–1991. New York: Pantheon Books, 1994.
Hobson, Dick. ‘The Hollywood Sphinx and His Laff Box (First of Two Parts)’. TV Guide 14/27 (1966), 36.
Hobson, Dick. ‘The Laff Box (Second of Two Parts)’. TV Guide 14/28 (1966), 20–3.
Hodeir, André. Jazz: Its Evolution and Essence. New York: Grove Press, 1956.
‘Historical Outline’, November 1956, typescript, Oram 3/2/1, Daphne Oram Collection, Goldsmiths, University of London.
Jameson, Fredric. The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1981.
Jencks, Christopher and Riesman, David. The Academic Revolution. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1968.
Kahn, Douglas and Whitehead, Gregory. Wireless Imagination: Sound, Radio, and the Avant-Garde. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992.
Kahl, Joseph A.The American Class Structure. New York: Rinehart, 1957.
Kessler-Harris, Alice. Out to Work: A History of Wage-Earning Women in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
Kiesler, Frederick. ‘Second Manifesto of Correalism’. Art International 9/2 (1965), 1619.
Lacey, Kate. Listening Publics: The Politics and Experience of Listening in the Media Age. Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2013.
Lee, Pamela M.Chronophobia: On Time in the Art of the 1960s. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006.
Lehto, Mark R. and Buck, James R.. Introduction to Human Factors and Ergonomics for Engineers. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2008.
Luhmann, Niklas. Art as a Social System. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000.
Lukács, Georg. History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics, trans. Livingstone, Rodney. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1971.
Mallet, Serge. Essays on the New Working Class, ed. and trans. Howard, Dick and Savage, Dean. St Louis: Telos Press, 1975.
Marx, Karl. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, trans. Fowkes, Ben. New York: Penguin, 1990.
Marx, Karl. The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. New York: International Publishers, 2008.
McTavish, Brian. ‘Laugh Track is Serious Business’. The Baltimore Sun, 3 July 2003. http://articles. baltimoresun.com/2003-07-03/features/0307030060_1_bob-douglass-laugh-track-canned-laughter (accessed 3 April 2013).
Miller, Dayton. The Science of Musical Sounds. New York: Macmillan Company, 1916.
Mills, C. Wright. White Collar: The American Middle Classes. New York: Oxford University Press, 1956.
Moholy-Nagy, László. ‘Produktion-Reproduktion’. De Stijl 7 (1922), 97101.
Nakai, You. ‘Inside-Out: David Tudor's Conception of the Pepsi Pavilion as a Musical Instrument’. Paper read at the American Musicological Society/Society for Music Theory National Conference, 6–9 November 2014.
Nash, George H.The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945. New York: Basic Books, 2006.
Paik, Nam June. ‘New Ontology of Music’. Postmusic: The Monthly Review of the University for Avant-garde Hinduism, ed. Paik, Nam June. 1963. Museum of Modern Art, Fluxus Collection (2623.2008.x1-.x4). Front.
Parker, James. ‘Family Portrait’. The Atlantic, 3 October 2011. www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/11/family-portrait/308685/ (accessed 4 April 2013).
Pollard, Sidney. The Genesis of Modern Management: A Study in the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965.
Richter, Gerhard. ‘Interview with Rolf Schön’, in Gerhard Richter, 11.6-1.10.1972: 36, Biennale in Venice, German Pavilion. Essen Museum Folkway, 1972. 23–5.
Schaeffer, Pierre. A la recherche d'une musique concrète. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1952.
Shanken, Edward A.Cybernetics and Art: Cultural Convergence in the 1960s’, in From Energy to Information, ed. Clarke, Bruce and Dalrymple, Linda (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2002). 155–77.
Simpson, Robert. ‘Thoughts on Composing’. The Listener 1602 (1959), 1034.
Smith, Jacob. ‘The Frenzy of the Audible: Pleasure, Authenticity, and Recorded Laughter’. Television and New Media 6/1 (2005), 2347.
Spigel, Lynn. Make Room for TV: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.
Spigel, Lynn. TV By Design: Modern Art and the Rise of Network Television. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.
Stanyek, Jason and Piekut, Benjamin. ‘Deadness: Technologies of the Intermundane’. The Drama Review 54/1 (2010), 1438.
Stark, Steven D. ‘Is Canned Laughter a Joke?’ New York Times, 3 January 1988.
Steege, Benjamin. Helmholtz and the Modern Listener. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
Sterne, Jonathan. The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003.
Sterne, Jonathan. MP3: The Meaning of a Format. Durham: Duke University Press, 2012.
Stiles, Kristine. ‘Introduction [to Part 2 Geometric Abstraction]’, in Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings, ed. Stiles, Kristine and Selz, Peter. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996. 6373
Stoops, Nicole. ‘Education Attainment in the US’. Current Population Reports (June 2004).
Thompson, Edward Palmer. The Making of the English Working Class. New York: Pantheon Books, 1963.
Tisdall, Caroline. Joseph Beuys, Exhibition Catalog. New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1979.
Van der Wee, Herman. Prosperity and Upheaval 1945–1980. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1986.
Wakeman, John. World Film Directors. Vol. 1 1890–1945. New York: H.W. Wilson, 1987.
Wallerstein, Immanuel. The Politics of the World-Economy: The States, the Movements, and the Civilizations. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984.
Wiener, Norbert. The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1950.
ZakAlbin J., III Albin J., III. The Poetics of Rock: Cutting Tracks, Making Records. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Twentieth-Century Music
  • ISSN: 1478-5722
  • EISSN: 1478-5730
  • URL: /core/journals/twentieth-century-music
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 4
Total number of PDF views: 22 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 332 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st July 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.