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In The Race of Sound Nina Sun Eidsheim traces the ways in which sonic attributes that might seem natural, such as the voice and its qualities, are socially produced. Eidsheim illustrates how listeners measure race through sound and locate racial subjectivities in vocal timbre—the color or tone of a voice. Eidsheim examines singers Marian Anderson, Billie Holiday, and Jimmy Scott as well as the vocal synthesis technology Vocaloid to show how listeners carry a series of assumptions about the nature of the voice and to whom it belongs. Outlining how the voice is linked to ideas of racial essentialism and authenticity, Eidsheim untangles the relationship between race, gender, vocal technique, and timbre while addressing an undertheorized space of racial and ethnic performance. In so doing, she advances our knowledge of the cultural-historical formation of the timbral politics of difference and the ways that comprehending voice remains central to understanding human experience, all the while advocating for a form of listening that would allow us to hear singers in a self-reflexive, denaturalized way.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. i-viii
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xiv
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  1. Introduction. The Acousmatic Question: Who Is This?
  2. pp. 1-38
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  1. 1. Formal and Informal Pedagogies: Believing in Race, Teaching Race, Hearing Race
  2. pp. 39-60
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  1. 2. Phantom Genealogy: Sonic Blackness and the American Operatic Timbre
  2. pp. 61-90
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  1. 3. Familiarity as Strangeness: Jimmy Scott and the Question of Black Timbral Masculinity
  2. pp. 91-114
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  1. 4. Race as Zeros and Ones: Vocaloid Refused, Reimagined, and Repurposed
  2. pp. 115-150
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  1. 5. Bifurcated Listening: The Inimitable, Imitated Billie Holiday
  2. pp. 151-176
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  1. 6. Widening Rings of Being: The Singer as Stylist and Technician
  2. pp. 177-200
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  1. Appendix
  2. pp. 201-204
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 205-242
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 243-258
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 259-274
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781478090359
Related ISBN
9780822368564
MARC Record
OCLC
1115104754
Pages
282
Launched on MUSE
2020-07-04
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
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