Richard Glover, Bryn Harrison, Jennie Gottschalk – Being Time: Case Studies in Musical Temporality


Bloomsbury Academic, ISBN-13: 978-1623564940, English, 200 pages, 2019, USA

The temporality of music is a core argument for the perception and awareness of time. Music is discernable through time and its perception can influence the perception of time itself. This book is cleverly constructed. Each chapter is a case study of a particular work that radically addresses time, including works by Morton Feldman, James Saunders, Chiyoko Szlavnics, Ryoji Ikeda, Toshiya Tsunoda, Laurie Spiegel and André O. Möller. Each ends with one of the other authors as a ‘respondent’ writing a ’postlude’, which enhances the consistency and fluidity of reading. The listening experience is described and theoretically contextualised, triggering the reader to look for and listen to the same piece. Some of the music is retrievable online, and the author’s collaborative accounts are sometimes deeply inspiring, insightfully combining personal experience, literacy and cognition. The sonic structures, no matter how hidden, the time manifestations, manipulations and revelations – they all emerge through an attentive explanative study. This might be considered an experiment or a methodological approach, but it clearly works. The different times of the author and the respondent listening to the piece and of the reader’s subsequent engagement and possible listening, are a/synchronically juxtaposed in an orchestrated exchange of knowledge.