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Noise Music: A History Paperback – 15 Oct 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum; First Edition edition (15 Oct. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826417272
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826417275
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 1.6 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 84,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\: *{behavior: url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name: "Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow: yes; mso-style-parent: ""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom: .0001pt; mso-pagination: widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language: #0400; mso-fareast-language: #0400; mso-bidi-language: #0400;} "Paul Hegarty's Noise/Music is one of the more provocative books I've read this past year. When I first encountered the book, I assumed like many readers that it would be a book about a genre that has come to be known as "noise music," which evolved in Japan in the 1990s but has subsequently become a world-wide phenomenon. While "noise music" does in fact get addressed in the latter part of the book, Hegarty's book is actually about something much larger; it is a socio-musicological examination of the ever-changing threshold of tolerance between music and noise in a wide variety of musical genres during the 20th century."

About the Author

Paul Hegarty teaches Philosophy and Visual Culture at University College Cork, in Ireland. He is the author of books on Bataille and Baudrillard. He jointly runs the experimental record label dotdotdotmusic, and occasionally performs in the noise "bands" Safe, and Working With Children.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
During my Undergraduate Degree, I specialised in Noise Aesthetic. I discovered this book looking through the library of my University and skimmed a few chapters. I was instantly taken with the writing and the manner in which the book is structured.

My own copy became something of a standard text for me for the next couple of years and sits on my bookshelf dog-eared and thoroughly annotated. Hegarty writes persuasively and concisely with real insight into the minutiae of Noise and broaches many of the standard angles accurately and plainly. Simply reading the book is equally pleasurable and provides some comfort knowing that there is a genuine definability with regard to Noise and how is has affected modern sensibilities both consciously and unconsciously.

The criticisms I have are relatively minor. Firstly, Noise is analysed musically as something of an isolated case and drawing clearer musical parallels between 'conventional' musical aesthetics to deepen the contrast would have strengthened the position of the book. Secondly the book is in need of an update as Noise is a fast-changing field and Onkyokei has started to gain more momentum in avant-garde circles (my own work notwithstanding).

The chapter on Merzbow is a particular highlight and the text is recommended reading for those with even the most cursory interest in these sensibilities.
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Ah, where would we be without noise? From Ayler's free jazz to industrial and electronica, I've always loved the way sound can be processed and mutated - 'just noise' or the music of the spheres.
This book provides a very interesting historical overview of noise music, taking in such wayward individuals as the Futurists and the denizens of the industrial and the Japanoise scenes, and subjects that history to a philosophical reading based on the works of such thinkers as Adorno, Deleuze and Bataille. (Bataille, it seems to me, as the patron saint of transgression, is particularly well suited to this task).
To paraphrase Potter Stewart's famous comment about pornography, I may not be able to define 'noise' but I know it when I hear it - it's a broad old church, noise music, and Hegarty does a good job of covering the waterfront - and it's hard not to feel fond of a book that defines Yes as Hegelian and King Crimson as Bataillean.

Paul Hegarty, as well as lecturing and writing on a broad range of cultural subjects, is engaged in a practical sense in the issues he discusses here , through running the excellent experimental label dotdotdot music and playing in such noise bands as Safe.
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My first "academic" module for university centered around the question 'what is music?' and this book was in my reading list.
I found this book very helpful for my essay writing but I also reference it in convocations about music on a regular basis which is a testament to just how informative its contents are. The chapters on progressive rock and Merzbow where especially interesting.

Although some may find the writing of this book to be a tad on the dry side the knowledge that it will give you is worth the read.

If you are at all interested in the areas of music regarding the 'avant-garde', 'experimental' or 'noisy' then this is the kind of material you want and is an essential read within its subject matter.
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I always was one for theorizing music (one of my favourite works beeing Lipstick Traces) but this book takes it one step further. Too academic. If you are expecting a lot on the music, forget it. Not much history and some bad choices regarding subject. Anyway you get to know a lot of new things and curiosities but it's not for the music lover, for the one interested in the details regarding the music itself and the artists. I am a fan of Bataille but after this book i don't think i'll EVER want to hear of him again, poor sod. Get this book and you will know why. This could've been a contender.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8bec41bc) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8bf02030) out of 5 stars Where's the musician? 28 Oct. 2008
By D. Brown - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First off, this book is long overdue; however, what undermines Hagerty's project is his theoretically dry and unconvincing writing (something the editor should have caught, unless the press wanted to publish the philosophical meanderings of the author). Thus, the reader is bombarded with concepts at the expense of offering insights into the production of noise (by actually interviewing the artists in question). This is a major problem with ethnomusicology and musicology in general-waxing and waning about the supposed post-modern qualities about music at the expense of the musician in favor of a totalizing reading of the subject.

Here's some examples: If Japanese noise is zen, then it is also rope bondage (134). -That's really academically lazy, I might add.

On John Zorn, "If he and others are some sort of neo-anthropologists, or exorcists, they are ethnographers of a future culture, and in the meantime, engage in neither the ethno-or the-graphy (137). - Am I'm supposed to be impressed with semantics here or what?

All in all, it will satiate the need to fill the gap; however, the many gaps within this text will hopefully be filled in the near future before many of our contemporary "noise" artists are dead.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c1798f4) out of 5 stars Entertaining AND informative 4 Nov. 2007
By J. Bjorne - Published on
Format: Paperback
Sometimes the writing tends to be a tad dry, but this is a serious work of scholarship regarding the "noise" movement through the history of music so one wouldn't expect a page turner. There is a whole chapter devoted to Japanese Noise music, as well as one specifically on Merzbow, who is like the god of noise. I appreciated the fact that in the introduction the author did mention that he only touches on Coil, Nurse With Wound, and Current 93 b/c they have their own book ("England's Hidden Reverse" by David Keegan). Several mentions of Throbbing Gristle are made as well, though the book "Wreckers of Civilization" by Simon Ford is an excellent read on that wacky troupe. I was entertained by the author's description of listening to specific pieces of music, and he raised my interest in several artists I wasn't familiar with. This was a gift, but I would have gladly paid full price for this excellent book.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c12af90) out of 5 stars Over-analyzed and pedantic 15 Jan. 2011
By Robot XXIX - Published on
Format: Paperback
Having listened to a variety of noisemusics over the years, I was really excited to read this bookk which promised an overview of the genre without the hipster leanings that so often prevail when this subject has been broached (i.e. - a lot of namedropping and a dearth of actual content). Unfortunately, this book fails to provide a good groundwork to continue personal research from and also so dry and 'intellectual' as to render one into a sonobulastic state almost from the get-go.

In essence, I learned no new information and the author is unbearably 'clever'. This reads like a college freshman's study. Avoid at all costs.
HASH(0x8bbfc48c) out of 5 stars Satisfied Me, Regarding To Noise Music 1 Aug. 2011
By Mariodemon - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Recommended if you are interested in the history behind all the use of noise in music to noise music itself, in philosophical and various critical angles, considering the vast bibliography studied for the making of this book.
It effected me the way I intended it to when I bought it, listening to this kind off music in a different way.
16 of 25 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c627270) out of 5 stars The best in theory and a wide open gate to musical skies 3 Sept. 2007
By Dr Jacques COULARDEAU - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the books we had been longing for and dreaming of for a long, very long time, since the time when Pierre Schaeffer or Pierre Henry invented concrete music in the early 1940s. Finally out and so rich. Noise music is an old, very old human activity but it is finding a new vital energy in our modern world. There is no real difference between noise and music. Both have to be listened to to be heard and eventually appreciated in a way or another. If you don't listen you won't hear the thunder and you may miss the warning it may represent to us. And yet it is only noise. The only difference between noise and music is that music is noise that has been worked upon to create a rhythm and a harmony that did not exist originally in the noise itself and had to be worked into the noise. But any noise, any sound in the world is potential music. It only takes one composer to transform the noise of a rattle into music, or the noise of a washboard into music. The second idea of importance is the change of the general meaning of noise and music in our world over the last twenty-five centuries. It used to be only (was it really true) some dressing up of rites, mainly religious rites and rituals, but also military or festive rituals or actions. Little by little it became a pure entertainment (but is it only that) in our modern world with the invention of concert halls, theaters, museums, and particularly the radio that enabled jazz and some other types of music to emerge and impose themselves as pure entertainment. And television, not to speak of the Internet, Youtube or Myspace Music or the iPod. The final essential idea is that the world has completely changed technically. The radio was only the very beginning of that revolution. The final phase is that of digitalized music, sampling and virtual composition and performing. And that goes along with the change it all brings to the younger generations. They live today in a constant musical world and they develop new capabilities. The hearing band is getting wider. The sense and feeling of rhythm and harmony have completely changed in intensity and concerns so many more people than just twenty years ago, not to speak of two centuries ago. And now our modern machines and their tools, computers and digital music software enable everyone who is not deaf to gather sounds, then to sample them, then to build some kind of architecture that used to be called composition. That revolution leads more and more young people who live in continuous sound to reject the old discrimination between noise and music and they start using noise, plain ordinary everyday sonic pollution (meaning sounds that are produced as a collateral side-effect of some motivated and profitable activity), in order to produce music, to transform it into music. And that's exactly what the author tries to explain and explore, at times a little bit theoretically and not enough musically. But it sure is a rich and enticing introduction to what we used to call concrete music and is today called noise music.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
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