Pauline Oliveros’s notion of the sonosphere is described in terms of physical energies, natural and technological factors, and esoteric and New Age beliefs, with concentration on two compositions: Primordial/Left, based on the Schumann resonances, and Echoes from the Moon, based on bouncing radio signals off the surface of the moon. Her esoterism is contextualized within similar interests of earlier American composers, Theosophical ideas of earth and larger scale sound, and the mystical music tropes in the theoretical physics of string theory. Her moon bounce composition is discussed in terms of Cold War exigencies, earth-scale television transmissions, the latency in President Nixon’s phone call to the moon during Apollo 11, and Katie Paterson’s more recent moon-bounce artwork.
Keywords: Pauline Oliveros, experimental music, sonosphere, geophysics and music, Theosophy and music, New Age music, New Age and science, Schumann resonance, moon bounce, earth-moon-earth, global television, moon landing and art, Katie Paterson
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