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Invited Articles

Vol. 1 No. 2 (2020): Soundscapes, Sonic Cultures, and American Studies

Sound + Bodies in Community = Music

  • Barry L. Shank
February 2, 2021


The analytical framework of sound studies is transforming our understanding of the political force of music. Following the lead of scholars like Nina Eidsheim and Salomé Voegelin, this essay considers the resonating force of listening bodies as a central factor in the musical construction of political community. This essay traces the tradition of African American music from congregational gospel singing through early rhythm and blues up to the twenty-first-century rap of Kendrick Lamar, showing how particular musical techniques engage the bodies in the room, allowing communities of difference to find their rhythms together.


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