Noise Music : A History, Paperback
2.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


"Noise/Music" looks at the phenomenon of noise in music, from experimental music of the early 20th century to the Japanese noise music and glitch electronica of today.

It situates different musics in their cultural and historical context, and analyses them in terms of cultural aesthetics.

Paul Hegarty argues that noise is a judgement about sound, that what was noise can become acceptable as music, and that in many ways the idea of noise is similar to the idea of the avant-garde.

While it provides an excellent historical overview, the book's main concern is in the noise music that has emerged since the mid 1970s, whether through industrial music, punk, free jazz, or the purer noise of someone like Merzbow.

The book progresses seamlessly from discussions of John Cage, Erik Satie, and Pauline Oliveros through to bands like Throbbing Gristle and the Boredoms.

Sharp and erudite, and underpinned throughout by the ideas of thinkers like Adorno and Deleuze, "Noise/Music" is the perfect primer for anyone interested in the louder side of experimental music.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Theory of music & musicology
  • ISBN: 9780826417275



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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

Suffers from the dreaded "I HAVE A LOT OF COOL RECORDS" disease, as well as the "REFERENCE THEORY AND PHILOSOPHY WITHOUT DOING MUCH ELSE" disease. There's some good there, but Microbionics, while not doing the exact same thing, is far, far better.

Review by

In the end, this was a good book. Although, clearly the author is into some crazy shit. Like music that consists of nothing but feedback and chickens.

Review by

Not perfect, but probably the best thing out there on the topic. I would prefer if the author would have stuck to either a purely theoretical-semiotic approach or a strickly formal analysis. It's a mixed bag with mixed results. It gets four stars because I'm in love with subject matter.

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