Sound, speech, and music / David Burrows.

by Burrows, David LLooking glass.

Publisher: Amherst, Mass. : University of Massachusetts Press, [1990]Description: viii, 138 pages : music ; 21 cm.ISBN: 9780870236853; 0870236857.Subject(s): Music -- Philosophy and aestheticsLooking glass | SoundLooking glass | SpeechLooking glassNote: Includes bibliographical reference (pages 127-135) and index.
Item type Home library Collection Class number Status Date due Barcode Item reservations
Long loan London College of Communication
Main collection
Printed books 780.1 BUR (Browse shelf (Opens below)) Available 54052305
Total reservations: 0

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

In this examination of the relation of thought to sound, David Burrows offers the thesis that sound has played a liberating role in human evolution.

Includes bibliographical reference (pages 127-135) and index.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Introduction Three Fields of Human Action (p. 3)
  • Chapter 1 Sound (p. 15)
  • Chapter 2 Voice (p. 28)
  • Chapter 3 Words (p. 39)
  • Chapter 4 Words and Music (p. 59)
  • Chapter 5 Words in Music (p. 78)
  • Chapter 6 Words on Music (p. 92)
  • Chapter 7 Instrumentalities (p. 108)
  • Conclusion (p. 120)
  • Index (p. 137)

Reviews provided by Syndetics


Burrows approaches obliquely the subject of the ways in which and the extent to which music impresses its meaning upon listeners. Throughout nearly the first half of this brief volume, he discusses the concepts of sound, voice, and words, before arriving at "Words and Music," his initial discussion of that relationship. Starting from his designation of three "fields" of human action, those of "body," "mind," and "spirit," the last taken in a broader sense than the purely theological, Burrows argues in favor of sound, and music as its most sophisticated manifestation, as principal stimuli in the evolutionary development of the human personality. Although couched in simple, nontechnical language, Burrows' thesis and its implications are complex and require close reading. Much of what he has to say may evoke a "but I already knew that!" response from readers. Such a reaction should not be judged a criticism of Burrows' accomplishment. Rather, it reinforces the solidity of his argument. Sound, whether from the natural world, human speech, or from music, is taken for granted. Burrows shows that the ubiquity of sound, its enveloping nature, its very lack of the limiting specificity of visualized objects, are among its most powerful attributes, accounting for, in his view, music's intimate relationship to field three, the field of the spirit. Burrows's modest yet persuasive exposition will be welcomed by those many musicians who may have experienced difficulty in trying to explain, often even to themselves, music's special power. Both public and academic libraries. -F. Goossen, University of Alabama