'Stone Deaf Forever': Discourses of Loudness
Percival, J. Mark
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Percival, J. (2015) 'Stone Deaf Forever': Discourses of Loudness, Volume! The French Journal of Popular Music Studies, 11 (2), pp. 29-49.
High volume or extreme loudness is ingrained in the aesthetics of many forms of amplified popular music, most obviously in rock and its associated sub-genres, but also in many other genres and styles including various forms of dance music, hip hop, reggae and electronic music. The primary site of expression of the notion of loud-as-good is in the performance of music in public spaces and the reproduction of discourses of loud-as-good is woven through popular music culture, from bands in tiny rehearsal studios to the world record for loudest- band (Deep Purple, The Who or even Manowar depending on the year of publication of the Guinness Book of Records). This essay is not about perceived volume in recorded music, audio compression and the so-called loudness war-, where a heavily compressed recording can sound loud- even at relatively low acoustic volumes (Deruty, 2011). Work elsewhere addresses the ways in which the human ear and brain perceive and process volume levels...