Wednesday 9 July 2008

Quotes of the Day 09/07/08

R. Murray Schafer

'We are usually more touched by what we hear than what we see. The sound of rain pelting against leaves, the roll of thunder, the whistling of wind in tall grass, the anguished cry excite us to a degree that visual imagery can seldom match. Music is for most people a stronger emotional experience than looking at pictures or scenery... Partly, perhaps, because we cannot close our ears as we can our eyes. We feel more vunerable to sound...
...Auditory space is very different from visual space. We are always at the edge of visual space, looking in with the eye. But we are always at the centre of auditory space, listening out with ears.... Visual awareness faces forward. Aural awareness is centred.'

'R. Murray Schafer: Quoted in Resonance: Essays On The Intersection Of Music and Architecture.

Man has not always been dominated by vision. Robert Mandrou stated that "the hierarchy of the senses was not the same as in twentieth century because of the eye, which rules today, found itself in third place, behind hearing and touch and far after them. The eye that organises, classifies and orders was not the favoured organ of time that preferred hearing."

Walter J. Ong in his book Orality and Literacy points out that the "the shift from oral to written speech was essentially a shift from sound to visual space," and that "print replaced the lingering fearing of dominance in the world of thought and expression with the sight dominance which had its beginning in writing."

The dominance of the sense of vision in architectural design was reinforced by writings of modernist architects like Walter Gropius, who stated that the designer "has to adapt knowledge of the scientific facts of optics and thus obtain a theoretical ground that will guide the hand giving shape, and create an objective basis," and Le Corbusier, who wrote "I exist in life only if I can see," supporting the notion that vision is the crux of everything by stating "I am and I remain an impenitent visual - everything is in the visual," and "one only needs to see clearly in order to understand."
Galia Hanoch-Roe; Scoring The Path: Linear Sequences in Music (printed in Resonance: Essays On The Intersection of Music and Architecture)

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