New article: Prehistoric sound, modern classification

What significance did various kinds of sound have for people in the distant past? How can we approach this question today? My article “Classification of Sound, Sound Tools, and Soundscapes” discusses some issues of sound, meaning and classification. It is based on a paper given at XII Nordic Theoretical Archaeology Group meeting in Oulu, Finland, and is now published in Monographs of the Archaeological Society of Finland 2. The article discusses many ways of approaching and classifying sounds, sound tools and soundscapes of the past. For instance, sounds might be regarded as either man-made or non-man-made, and either intentional or non-intentional. “Music” is a problematic concept with an ethnocentric bias, while “intentional sound” is a better concept. The article suggests a tripartite classification of intentional sound, distinguishing between sounds made for functional reasons, for ritual reasons, and, finally, for pleasure and pure expression.

Gjermund Kolltveit

Music archaeologist, ethnomusicologist, musician – Nesodden, Norway. Main research interests: sound and sound tools (e.g. jew’s harps, lyres, ringing stones, bells) in human culture and soundscapes.

Leave a Comment

New publication: The Archaeology of Sound, Acoustics and Music

April 27, 2020

Cajsa S. Lund has been a pioneer and a central voice in the interdisciplinary field of…

Samuel Hellen’s songs: Comprehensive music project finished

November 23, 2019

For some years I have been involved in a fascinating and rewarding music project that…

Video interview and improvisations

September 19, 2019

I Novgorod, during the  Slovisha festival in August my jew’s harp fellow reseacher Aksenti Beskrovny…

Impressions from the festival Slovisha in Novgorod

September 1, 2019

Back from Veliky Novgorod I am full of impressions after the Slovisha Musical Antiquities Festival,…

Norwegian lyres!

May 16, 2019

Here is a glimpse into my pratical work with lyres. This winter I have worked…