The Sonarium, or, Towards a Spatiality Proper to Sound

Brian Hulse

conference: DARE 2015: the dark precursor
date: November 11, 2015
venue: Orpheus Institute, Auditorium
format: keynote
practice: music and sound
keywords: Henri Bergson, pitch, sound studies

abstract video about the author(s)


One of the most refreshing aspects of Deleuzian philosophy is the imperative to create concepts. For music, a field long dominated by less-than-satisfactory incursions from other domains, the need for better concepts could not be more acute. In this paper I explore a concept constructed from within a sound-centred experience, what I’m calling “the Sonarium,” which I will argue has the potential to open thought to something closer to what I intuit about the way(s) we experience sound, and a better place from which to set out asking questions about musical ideas, musicality, rhythm, and beyond. One advantage to thinking about sound in terms of the Sonarium is that it disrupts the central intervention of this abstract creature we call pitch. Indeed, it challenges the authority of any preconceived object or dimension ordinarily recognised by scholars (and the well-known biases that attend these divisions). But ultimately the Sonarium is a productive concept, as I will argue, and resonates with some of Deleuze’s most challenging metaphysical concepts. It also reinvigorates some Bergsonian strands that have largely gone silent in discourse about Deleuze but which are exceedingly helpful for music.


about the author(s)

Brian Hulse

Brian Hulse (PhD Harvard) is Associate Professor of Music at the College of William and Mary in Virginia (USA). He has published articles and given talks on a variety of topics, most notably those engaging the work of Gilles Deleuze and Henri Bergson. With Nick Nesbitt he co-edited the volume Sounding the Virtual: Gilles Deleuze and the Theory and Philosophy of Music, in which he provided the chapter “Thinking Musical Difference: Music Theory as Minor Science” (Ashgate, 2010). Forthcoming publications include “Becoming-Composer” (Perspectives of New Music) and “On Repetition and Musical Ideas” (Deleuze Studies). In addition, Hulse is a composer with albums on Centaur Records (Stain, 2015) and Albany Records (pseudosynthesis, 2009).

info & contact


College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, US


bchuls [AT]