The Audibility of Rebellion versus Nationalism 

The Sound of Political Chant 

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In this paper I demonstrate how, using sounds of political chanting from Turkey in the last four years, political orientation significantly changes the inflection of chant, reflecting its societal positioning and purpose. Despite the fact that political chant in public space seems to be a generic and polyvalent means to an end, the make-up of the sound itself bares telltale signs of the chanter's intentions, affect, their vocal habits, and their knowledge of their intended listening audience, all of which make the sound particularly well adapted for their own political purposes. Although they have many shared characteristics, the difference between the vocal sounds of rebellion in political chants, as opposed to the vocal sounds of pure nationalist fervour, is therefore audible, as the examples in this paper attest, and the affects that pertain to the characteristics of these differing tones have specific political potentials. A comparison of the sound of chants from the Gezi Park protests of May-June 2013 with those of pro-government rallies in reaction to the coup attempt of July 15th, 2016 inform the argument. A short addendum with sound recorded the day after the referendum of April 16th, 2017, on the adoption of the new "presidential system" under Erdoğan, completes the paper. 

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Twitter: 'BarışAkademisyenleri‏ @BarisAkademik "Hayır gerçeği ortaya çıkana kadar her gün sokaklardayız!" Yarın yine 19:30'da irademize sahip çıkıyoruz!‘ Posted 17.04.2017



Peer review article

About the author(s)

Jeremy Woodruff is currently Head of Music Theory and Lecturer in Composition and Sound Studies at the Istanbul Technical University, Center for Advanced Studies in Music (MIAM). His compositions and sound installations are informed by his research on subversive sound in protest, theater, permaculture gardening, sound art and media studies from the 1910s until the present. Investigations in biofeedback music interfaces, Indian music, Javanese Gamelan, Turkish music and urban sound in Chennai and Istanbul also meet innovative music curriculum design in his output. 

His sound works initiate alternative social interactions and present alternate concepts of sonic text. The works redefine basic musical parameters to pose questions. He is a skilled performer in the most diverse musical settings: from classical chamber music and classical Indian music to reggae, live electronics with multiple wind instruments to professional church choirs and marching bands. He has collaborated on work in conceptual video, dance and radio.

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