Noise and Creativity Throughout History

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

David Hendy, media historian at the University of Sussex, host of the thirty-part BBC Radio series, Noise: A Human History, and the author of Noise: A Human History of Sound and Listening, talks about the social history of noise and kicks off the call-in on the question of sound and creativity.  What sounds sparks your creativity or do you need absolute quiet?


Electronic Musician Matthew Herbert Re-Tells "Noise: A Human History" in Sound


David Hendy

Comments [15]

Nick from UWS

"I frequently hear music in the very heart of noise." - George Gershwin

Jul. 11 2014 12:39 PM

Satie invented muzak...?? sacre bleu..!!

Jul. 11 2014 11:43 AM

oh......they must've called 311 on Nero's Lyre jamming countless times...

Jul. 11 2014 11:36 AM

I ♥ David Hendy.

Thanks for having him on!

Jul. 11 2014 11:33 AM
Bernette Rudolph from Park Slope, Brooklyn

Just wanted to comment about creativity and music. I am an artist working in my private studio in Park Slope, Brooklyn. When i am in my most creative moment, deciding on my next move , I want total silence. When the non thinking work begins I listen to folk music. And today i am playing all my Pete Seeger records.
Bernette Rudolph

Feb. 05 2014 05:13 PM

Brian Lehrer said he found it difficult to imagine that listening to the show while working would not be a considerable distraction (with the exception of work that is limited to the visual arts) and cited writing as an example.

But doesn't BL encourage people to do just that on these comment pages: write while listening to the show?

Furthermore, I distinctly recall BL revealing that he has no less than three screens in front of him as he speaks on the air. One of said screens being the comment page for the segment in progress.

As I have pointed-out before, the human brain is simply not capable of holding more than thought at a time. "Multi-tasking" inevitably causes each task to suffer.

Feb. 04 2014 11:57 AM
Google is your friend

[[Ruth from Tribeca

Can you forward me the contact info of Arline Bronzaft? Can't find it on your show page. Thanks.
Feb. 04 2014 11:28 AM]]

She's at grownyc. go here

Feb. 04 2014 11:47 AM

do they not pay attention to the comments here anymore? i dont think they read even 1.

Feb. 04 2014 11:45 AM

I'm reading an article on the front of the LA Times web site about a gang that got pushed out by gentrification. Rents went up, gang bangers moved out.

The article details one family. [[When he was 19, the landlord raised the rent by $20 a month. His mother refused to pay until the leaky plumbing was fixed. That never happened and they got evicted. His brother and sister moved in with friends and his mother went to a shelter. He stayed in the empty apartment alone until someone changed the locks.

Eventually, the family settled into a place in Eagle Rock. It was bigger, but he says it was too quiet. No gunshots, helicopters or sirens. So he takes every opportunity he gets to head back to Echo Park.]]

So, not just creative work, but also people preferring what they know.

Feb. 04 2014 11:35 AM

When writing at home I zone out distraction with Brian Eno style Ambient Music--"Music for Airports" is a favorite.
Can't deal with lyric or too much melody. Rhythm ok.
I also created an Ambient Music channel on Pandora

Feb. 04 2014 11:34 AM
Daniel from Munich

I need music when I'm working (I'm a particle physicist, which I like to think is a creative job), generally something with a rhythm helps me think. But I also tune into this show on most days, and find the conversation in the background, whether I'm paying attention or not (sorry), sets the right mood for thinking.

Feb. 04 2014 11:30 AM

when i am designing graphics for a website or print, i listen to extreme heavy metal, like death metal. When i am coding a website, i cant listen to music, so i prefer to listen to talk radio like WNYC. guess what i'm doing now? lol.

Feb. 04 2014 11:29 AM
Ruth from Tribeca

Can you forward me the contact info of Arline Bronzaft? Can't find it on your show page. Thanks.

Feb. 04 2014 11:28 AM
Dennis from West Village

the universe is humming.
learn from John Cage and enjoy it

Feb. 04 2014 11:28 AM
M. Smith from manhattan

Hearing car alarms today makes me nostalgic. When this fad swept NYC they were everywhere overnight. It was hard not to brush a vehicle on the narrow, crowded sidewalks of the West Village where I lived and leaning on a nearby car bumper to tie my shoe became an ordeal that resulted in extreme noise for me and my neighbors. Conversation wasn't possible in my apartment when a car started screeching on my block. There was no time-limit law then for how long the alarm would continue so it rang until the owner arrived or the car battery went dead. Sometimes neighbors would gather around the loud car-some with even louder awakened babies and wait for the owner to arrive.
Michael Moore tried to wind down the fad by parking a city block's worth of alarmed cars in a quiet New York suburb and setting them off on TV. He chose to do this on the road where the CEO of one of the most popular car alarm companies lived.

Feb. 04 2014 10:06 AM

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