Books & articles about sound, noise, listening

A thread to share/discuss books about sound, noise, listening ect.

I’m currently reading ‘The Listening Book. Discovering your own music’ by W.A.Mathieu, and I love it! Very short chapters, a clear writing style, lots of insights about listening and sound.



Cool post, I have been reading / researching resonance, and what it means on so many media levels, it is at the core of human existence , gonna monitor this thread !

I think Ocean of Sound by David Toop probably fits here.


I’d definitely recommend Silence by John Cage, and Deep Listening: A Composer’s Sound Practice by Pauline Oliveros.


Following the David Toop recommendation from sandy, I’d second that one and then recommend

also Alvin Lucier’s Music 109

He has another that was meant to be out this month but hasn’t appeared yet. Also, I keep waiting for the book of Tony Conrad’s Writings that seems to be bumped to 2018.

A couple of others as I look at my shelf:

There’s also an impressive list here:

Marie Thompson Noise is so often a


Thanks for all the excellent recommendations so far!!

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that sonic field bookshelf is impressive indeed!!

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Another one to add to the list.

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and once you go in that direction, anything and everything that Walter Murch has written. The essay Clear Density, Dense Clarity being something I read and re-read:

(starts partway down the page)


I don’t mean to over share but was just thinking of another one. The opening on aeolian harps is particularly interesting:

and then, this also is surprisingly fascinating:



three very different things that i like, off the top of the head

“touching the rock” by john hull - not primarily about sound but has some really remarkable observations about acoustic space

“the harmonic experience” by w.a. mathieu (nice complement to “the listening book”)

“the soundscape” by r murray schafer - classic


I have this one, just finally getting around to reading it.

I just read Analog Days: The Invention of the Analog Synthesizer. It’s more of a history, but includes some good perspective from the people who were there on what synths were designed to do, and why.

I don’t think any of these have been mentioned yet, but here’s a bunch from my current PhD reading list -

and then also this list from the Cities and Memory website about field recording is pretty good


Keywords in Sound by Novak & Sakakeeny - a conceptual lexicon for sound studies

a series of academic, historical essays on sound.
I haven’t finished it yet but the focus seems to be less on ideological or scientific approaches to sound studies and more on building a discussion of how we interact with sound. So like social sciences and philosophical definitions.


Big +1 for In the Field.

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Omigosh – You are the only other person I’ve seen (in my admittedly limited experience) to suggest Harmonic Experience. Big Mathieu fan here; got to interview him some years ago.

I’m currently reading The Songs of Trees by David George Haskell, and I think it’s a solid spine on this growing shelf.

Great thread and great recommendations so far.

A book that was very interesting to me is Acoustic Territories by Brandon LaBelle. Puts a lot of focus on how the social and political can be framed and understood through sound.