SCIENCES

A Book of Noises: Notes on the Auraculous

Univ. of Chicago Nov. 2023. 272p. ISBN 9780226823232. $24. SCI
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Journalist Henderson (A New Map of Wonders; The Book of Barely Imagined Beings) spotlights the wonderful concatenation of noises that enrich one’s ears. That includes some things uncommonly viewed as noise, such as the music of the spheres and the low frequency groans of the Earth. In 48 essays, the book moves from cosmological exploration to technical dissections of musical works, extolling both rare and common sounds that are glorious in their expressivity and beauty. This title examines sounds made by people (anthropophony), other life (biophony), the planet (geophony), and space (cosmophony). Readers untrained in music theory may have trouble with some essays, but the author’s joy and breadth of study come through clearly.
VERDICT A valuable addendum to musical and hard science collections. Readers who have wide interests and want new ways to understand the world about them will be absorbed. Public and academic libraries will appreciate the scope.
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