sounds of grief

Sounds of Grief – Ian Nagoski

“Sounds of Grief” was an hour-long listening session and lecture on the subject of vocal reactions to grief. Lamentation and songs of memorial are central within histories of ritual, theater and literature and may be important in understanding the evolutionary origins of music but appear on the entertainment-al medium of sound recording infrequently. This presentation examines cross-cultural stylizations of vocal expressions in the wake of death on disc recordings from the period 1913-1978 and their relationships to ideas about the fundamental meanings of musical expression – privacy, empathy, community and the contagiousness of emotion through sound. The project itself is a response to the sudden and early deaths of two young musician friends and draws from research by musicologists including Gail Holst-Warhaft (notably her books Cue for Passion: Grief and Its Political Uses and Dangerous Voices: Women’s Laments and Greek Literature) and Elizabeth Tolbert (notably her study “Women Cry With Words: Symbolization of Affect in the Karelian Lament”).

ian nagoski