Sound Heritage


More info
Contact: prof. dr. J. Fidom,


Sound Heritage explores what sounds and sound concepts have been
approved in the past; under what conditions these might be considered
heritage today; and what saving such concepts for future generations
actually means. In order to keep this huge and new research field
manageable, Sound Heritage focuses on music-related sounds and sound
concepts. Two historic ‘sound carriers’ will be used as research topics:
pipe organs and high-end sound systems, as they both document what
sounds once were considered convincing.

A major complication is that sound is volatile: it exists only in the
now, and only in one’s own ears. This means that Sound Heritage
researchers need to question listening cultures and skills developed in
the past, as well as to question and develop own ones. Put differently:
artistic activity (listening to sound in music) will necessarily be a
major element in this seminar, to be integrated in otherwise ‘normal’
epistemic research strategies. This confronts us with quite a few basic
philosophical/aesthetical issues. What is it to listen, and what to
negotiate sound? How does sound come into existence, and does it ever
cease to exist? To complicate matters even more, sound recording and
reproducing technology, an indispensable tool for Sound Heritage
researchers, is problematic by definition.

During the seminar, these issues will be addressed in a series of
lectures and interactive workshops. Additionally, in order to make Sound
Heritage as practice-based as possible, the seminar includes a fair
amount of field work as well. In the 2018-edition of the seminar, Sound
Heritage students will be assigned, as a group, to map the network
resulting from and producing the preparations of the restoration of the
world-famous Schnitger Organ at Zwolle, built in 1721 and given a
different sound in the 1950s, by identifying and assessing relevant
sources (including interviewing significant ‘actors’); and by exploring
which roles sound recordings (of the organ, in the past and by the
students themselves) play. Eventually, the students are asked to advise
and/or assist the people involved in the decision-making process. Next
to that, students will have to do ‘solo research’ as well, by critically
assessing the sound systems used by themselves in their everyday life.



NOTE: This is not a NICA core activity but an elective announced on this site solely for  your information. You should register for this course through the university that offers it, and the credits you will earn will also be given out by that university. If your program includes a requirement to earn credits from a national research school, the credits for this elective do not count towards that requirement. You may need to acquire the permission of your programme coordinator and/or board of examinations in order to participate and earn credits for this elective.