The sonorous, the haptic and the intensive

New Formations - ISSN 0950-2378
Volume 2008 Number 66

The sonorous, the haptic and the intensive
Claire Colebrook, David Bennett pages -


Two possible understandings of musical postmodernism are contrasted: on the one hand it is seen as a deconstructive art that denaturalises preconstituted relationships between composition, performance and listener; and on the other, in a more ‘positive’ understanding, it is understood in terms of sound having the power to constitute relations through its capacity to transform bodies, organs and territories. Reflecting on works of contemporary sound-art and music by David Chesworth, Sonia Leber, Peter Sculthorpe and James Macmillan, the article explores and defends the second approach, informed by Deleuze’s vitalist and expressivist philosophy, and proposing ways of conceiving in music what Deleuze called the ‘minoritarian’ in literature. It argues for an alternative view of quotation and repetition, which it sees as a drawing-out of the originality (rather than the derivativeness) of ‘sonorous matter’; and it recognises its potentiality for variation and difference, and hence its capacity for constituting new relations through its transforming affects. In contrast to the dominant, ‘linguistic’ strain of postmodern theory, it proposes a new way of thinking positively about difference in music, using the Deleuzian concepts of the sonorous, the haptic and the intensive.

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To cite this article
Claire Colebrook, David Bennett (2008) The sonorous, the haptic and the intensive, New Formations, 2008(66), -

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