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Earth Sound Earth SignalEnergies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts$
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Douglas Kahn

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257801

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257801.001.0001

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Sound of the Underground

Sound of the Underground

Earthquakes, Nuclear Weaponry, and Music

(p.133) 11 Sound of the Underground
Earth Sound Earth Signal

Douglas Kahn

University of California Press

The sounds and seismological signals of earthquakes and nuclear weapons are related to the sublime, to sensing the earth at a global scale, and to music. The seismological sublime is shown to be transportable once recorded on a tape recorder and sped up to render subaudible sounds audible. The sounds associated with the US atomic bombs are extended to seismological sounds, and the intersection of music is examined through the popular science LP Out of this World, Hugo Benioff’s electric instruments based upon his seismometer technology, Sheridan Speeth’s use of musicians for discrimination of underground testing signals, and Gordon Mumma’s Mograph compositions.

Keywords:   earthquake sounds, earthquakes and the sublime, atomic bomb sounds, underground nuclear testing, seismology and music, seismology history, Hugo Benioff, Sheridan Speeth, Gordon Mumma, tape recorders and music, tape recorders and science

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