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Madrid’s great sonic transformation: sound, noise and the auditory commons of the city in the nineteenth century

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This article addresses a key question attending historical sound studies: How do cities shape, intervene in and manage auditory cultures? Focussing in particular on nineteenth-century Madrid, the article seeks to make sense of some of the ways in which shifting imaginaries of the metropolis are also reflected in new imaginaries of the city as soundscape. How did shifting segmentational logics of the city and changes in the public imagination of cities as sites of both sociability and isolation impact on the sonic liveability of the city of Madrid? I approach the question of sonic experience by drawing on the work of Jean-François Augoyard and Henry Torgue (2006, Sonic Experience: A Guide to Everyday Sounds. Translated by Andra McCartney and David Paquette. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press) who, as members of the CRESSON research group based in Grenoble, have developed an impressive and subtle series of analytical tools for thinking about sounds in urban spaces. Another key concept that will prove useful in this article is one developed by Antonio Negri, namely, “the commons”.
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Keywords: Cities; Galdós; Madrid; listening; soundscapes

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: International Centre for Music Studies, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Publication date: July 3, 2019

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