Cardboard Vibrations

The idea that sound travels from one point to another, when examined, is revealed to be no more than an illusionary concept, for ‘sound’ remains in the only place it is engendered.

The world seen with the eyes is a world entirely without sound, no birdsong sweetens the air and the soughing of wind among the trees has never happened, for soundwaves are nothing more than puffs of disturbed air; vibrations which extent in all directions from their source; but they are themselves profoundly silent.

Sound occurs when these vibrations of disturbed air encounter the mechanism of an eardrum, activating the nerves connecting it to the brain. The brain then interprets the vibrations of the drum as sound and therefore the sound perceived occurs entirely within the head, while the world which we see outside remains in eternal silence.

Music: The manipulation of specific tones on a musical instrument, each with a unique rate of vibration and arranged generally into recognisable patterns; these are also absolutely silent until reaching an eardrum, but at least these vibrations, directly received from such an instrument, are genuine.

Recorded and amplified music is however somewhat false, since the original vibrations from the instrument are lost when translated into electrical impulses via a microphone or wireless signal; these travel (silently) along a wire to emerge at the other end by activating the cardboard diaphragm of a loudspeaker.

The vibrations from the instrument itself are not heard at all but have been replaced by these cardboard (facsimile) vibrations.

All sound occurs only inside the head via the ears, while out there is a world which is utterly silent.

However, whether these vibrations are genuine (directly from a musical instrument); or cardboard facsimiles; or even come to that, birds, wind, or the voices of one’s friends ultimately makes no difference, for what one ‘hears’ is nothing more than one’s own ear drums rattling.

Dave Tomlin
Art Nick Victor

 

 

 

 

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