Informations and abstract
Sound Studies represents a recent multi-disciplinary area of study concentrated on the role of sound in society. The article begins with a brief description of the genesis of Sound Studies. Using a theoretical frame derived from Science and Technology Studies and concentrating its attention on the concept of 'practice', the article then brings into focus the relationship between technology, listeners and musical experiences, and presents the results of research on the use of three technologies of music listening derived from 35 qualitative interviews and the analysis of magazines and other texts. In particular, the relationship of vinyl users is characterised by the material qualities of the object, the rituals connected to this, and the symbolic elaboration constructed around the object. These elements interact in the practices of users to give specific listening experiences. The world of Hi Fidelity is instead characterised by a particular and elaborate philosophy of listening based on the relationship between listeners and technical objects. Audiophiles construct their material and symbolic listening worlds through the specific management of technologies within their own domestic context, and this can generate tensions within the family. The case of the spread of digital formats demonstrates how new technologies are appropriated by listeners depending on their prior practices, experiences and culture of other forms of technological mediation. For this reason, in file-sharing practices one finds traditional forms of inequality of access and subcultural distinction. The article highlights how the analysis of these aspects through the concept of 'practice' enables a deeper understanding of the more general relationship between technology and culture.