The Audibility of Rebellion versus Nationalism 

The Sound of Political Chant 

Reading time: 1 minutes

Abstract

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. 

Audio Paper



GO BACK TO FOCUS: Sound Art Matters

Bibliography

Birdsall, C. (2012) Nazi Soundscapes: Sound, technology and urban space in Germany,1933-1945. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
Damar, E. (2016) Radicalisation of politics and production of new alternatives: Rethinking the secular/Islamic divide after the Gezi park protests in turkey. Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 24(2), pp. 207–222. doi: 10.1080/14782804.2016.1167677.
Helvacioglu E. (2016) Sounds of Resistance. unpublished soundscape composition
Öğüt, E. H. (2016) Soundscape of a coup d'état. Sound matters: The SEM Blog (2016) Available at: https://soundmattersthesemblog.wordpress.com/ (Accessed: 22 December 2016).
Özgür, S. (2012) The Sounds of Political Actions in the Streets of Istanbul. Ph.D. Dissertation, Istanbul Technical University. 
15 TEMMUZ DARBE HABERLERİ (2016) Darbe girişimi gecesi Erdoğan Atatürk Havalimanı’nda böyle karşılandı. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ah7Uv5x20Cc (Accessed: 22 December 2016).
emin özen (2016) Demokrasi nöbeti vatan caddesinde mahşeri kalabalık. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HntfwpvR1s&t=43s [accessed: 22 December 2016].
emin özen (2016) 15 temmuz darbe gecesi emniyet müdürü halka hitap ediyor. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AzqmRtfRAI [accessed: 22 December 2016].
Video Karışık (2016) İstiklal Caddesi Mehter Marşlarıyla İnledi. Available at: https://youtu.be/-JaFS_s6bqI (Accessed: 22 December 2016).
Ternström, S., Bohman, M. and Södersten, M. (2006) ‘Loud speech over noise: Some spectral attributes, with gender differences’, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 119(3), p. 1648. doi: 10.1121/1.2161435.
Woodruff, J. (2014) A Musical Analysis Of The People's Microphone: Voices And Echoes In Protest And Sound Art. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
Twitter: 'BarışAkademisyenleri‏ @BarisAkademik "Hayır gerçeği ortaya çıkana kadar her gün sokaklardayız!" Yarın yine 19:30'da irademize sahip çıkıyoruz!‘ https://mobile.twitter.com/BarisAkademik/status/854037393845964800/video/1 Posted 17.04.2017

 

Keywords

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.

Seismograf Peer Review

Seismograf/peer is a peer-reviewed online platform devoted to practical and theoretical issues in relation to contemporary music and sound art.

Seismograf/peer covers a broad range of topics including sonic materialities, modes of listening, philosophy of sound and music, aesthetics, technology and audio visuality as well as performative, curatorial and archival matters related to the sonic arts.

Seismograf/peer encourages a wide spread of methodologies and theoretical discourses, ranging from more established academic approaches such as sound studies, musicology, cultural studies and performance studies to artistic research, practice-based research, artist writing and media archaeology.

Format

Seismograf/peer is hosted by Seismograf, the oldest and most modern Nordic music journal. Seismograf has a long and strong tradition of publishing essays, interviews and reviews by music journalists and critics as well as academics and composers, acting as an inspiring and important platform within the field. Seismograf/peer is a natural development of this tradition, acknowledging the demands of publication within universities, music academies and art schools.

Seismograf is supported by the Danish Arts Council, the Danish Composers’ Society and Independent Research Fund Denmark.