Project without external funding

The aesthetics of loudness


This project
will focus on an elementary, but very important category: the loudness of
music. It seems of subordinate importance whether the technical sound pressure
level (measured in decibels )(Fletcher &
Munson 1933) or the subjectively perceived volume
level (measured in phon or sone) (Louven, Oehler,
Lehmann, & Kopiez 2018)is addressed.  Rather, what seems crucial to popular music
is that, at least in certain genres, an increase in volume not only causes a
linear increase in intensity, but also enables novel experiences. With the
concept of the rock'n'roll-threshold, (Todd & Cody
2000)for first time provided evidence,
why (in certain frequency ranges and from about 90dB) body movement is induced
automatically. From about 1970, different rock bands outdid each other with the
predicate "The loudest band in the world"(Guggenheim
2010), and later this trend was also
adopted in the House / Electronica area (for example by Leftfield). Here, the
acoustic threshold of pain (from approx. 120dB) was clearly exceeded. However,
fans and followers must experience some kind of pleasure from these events.

reciprocal fertilization of pleasure and pain, which was previously known from
the blues (Schubert 1996;
2016), now seems to be taking effect,
whereby volume develops into an independent aesthetic category. However, there
is hardly any (empirical) research on this, which is why the question is first
raised as to whether Jacques Lacan's theory of jouissance (Evans 2002) is suitable for exploring the
borderline between pleasure and pain in cultural studies.


Fletcher, Harvey
& Munson, Wilden A. (1933): Loudness, its definition, measurement, and
calculation. Journal of the Acoustical
Society of America, 5
, S. 82-108.

Schubert, Emery (1996): Enjoyment of negative emotions in music. An
associative network explanation. Psychology
of Music, 24
, S. 18-28.

Todd, Neil P. McAngus & Cody, Frederick (2000): Vestibular
responses to loud dance music: A physiological basis of the "rock and roll
threshold"? Journal of the
Acoustical Society of America, 107
(1), S. 496-500.

Evans, Dylan (2002): Artikel "Genießen". In: Wörterbuch der Lacanschen Psychoanalyse
(S. 113-115). Wien: Turia + Kant.

Guggenheim, Davis (2010): It might get loud: Drei Musiker, drei Generationen,
jede Menge Gitarren / The Edge ; Jimmy Page ; Jack White [DVD, 98 min.]. USA:
Arsenal Film.

Schubert, Emery (2016): Enjoying Sad Music: Paradox or Parallel
Processes? Front Hum Neurosci, 10, S.

Louven, Christoph; Oehler, Michael; Lehmann, Andreas C. &
Kopiez, Reinhard (2018): Psychoakustische Grundlagen des Musikhörens. In:
Lehmann, Andreas C. (Hrsg.): Handbuch
(S. 483-511). Göttingen: Hogrefe.

Principal Investigator

Last updated on 2020-29-06 at 18:15