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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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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

Pauline Oliveros

Pauline Oliveros


(p.174) 13 Pauline Oliveros
Earth Sound Earth Signal

Douglas Kahn

University of California Press

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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