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New in The Musical Times
Spatial Awareness

In a recent review in for The Musical Times, Arnold Whittall discusses Alien Listening: Voyager’s Golden Record and Music from Earth by Alexander Rehding and Daniel Chua. Click here to learn m ore about the book. Click here to access the online edition of the journal or see the button to the left to read the full review. An excerpt appears below:

Alien Listening boldly goes in the direction of determining how a theory of music accessible to aliens-with-sentience might differ from – improve on? – what is usually understood by that term on earth. The main point is not to offer a detailed critique of a currently comprehensive exposition of the phenomenon as conventionally understood, like the still invaluable Cambridge history of western music theory (2002/2004). Instead, the exercise of providing some other life-form in the cosmos (if – big if – they should ever actually encounter and access the golden disk attached to Voyager, and have an understanding of its nature somehow comparable to that of the launchers) treats the humanly unimaginable essence of any such outcome as the opportunity to rethink what sound and listening ‘really’ are: the end-product of what they have (so far) been for humanity is, of course, what civilisation and scholarship have compositionally understood them to be. You couldn’t wish for a more eloquently contemporary presentation of this radical rethinking than Chua & Rehding’s, with its liberal scattering of lighter asides and self aware disclosures to subvert pomposity or hints of mundane academicism.”