Sound Studies course – essays

This post presents essays by students currently taking my Sound Studies course. I thought it would be interesting to share (with their permission) some of their experiences and views on sound, memory, technology, and space.

Students were asked to briefly discuss one of the following topics:

a) My piece of technology: write about a sound/audio device (bass amplifier, guitar, iPod, magnetic tape, synthesizer, MP3, sound meter, car audio, microphone, etc.). Investigate the history of this piece of technology and describe how/why/when you use it.

b) Acoustic memory: some places (bedroom, house) and spaces (our neighborhood) tend to leave a strong sensory mark on us. Recollect and discuss some of the sounds and listening habits of your past. How do they relate with some of the topics discussed in this course?

c) My sonic environment in 3 days: in 3 days make a list of sounds you encounter daily according to type of sound, place (house, office, bar, restaurant, school, street, etc.), space (e.g., Nuences St. & San Jacinto), period (dawn, morning, lunchtime, afternoon, evening, and night), loudness (10 for extremely loud, 0 to almost soundless), and nuisance level (10 for extremely pleasant, 0 to extremely unpleasant). Briefly relate 2 sound sources with topics discussed in the course materials.

Essay #1

My personal anamnesis is related to signal sounds taken place in the comfort of my own home growing up. Weekends as a child were a time to sleep in and wake up with a big bowl of cereal to watch Saturday morning cartoons. There was only one factor that was in my way that would determine my plans for my Saturday and that was my mom. Being older now signifies more responsibilities and more work which during the week we are busy and the weekend signifies a time for rest and a chance to catch up with the chores that were left aside from the busy week. While I was thinking as a kid I’m going to watch cartoons and go out to play with friends, my mom was thinking laundry, moping, dusting, etc…; cleaning was what weekends were for according to my mom. Depending on the type of week my mom had and how tired she was on Friday was kind of an indicator of what to expect the next morning, but there was always one reassurance that would drive me crazy and not want to get out of bed, the sound of dishes being washed and clanking with each other in the morning.

The first thing I would listen for in the morning when I woke up was to see if my mom was awake. If the house was silent I was relieved and would sneak down stairs to grab my bowl of cereal and watch my cartoons, but it wasn’t so simple I had to be as quiet as possible so I wouldn’t wake her up and could watch my cartoons peacefully. The first obstacle was brushing my teeth as quietly as possible making sure the faucet would not make much noise and opening it and closing it quickly. The second obstacle was the toilet being that my mom slept down stair and I slept up stairs the sound kind of resonated down to her room, that and the fact that the bathroom was right over her room so most of the time when I used the restroom when I woke up I would not flush the toilet just so if wouldn’t make the loud sound that it does and risk the chance of her waking up. The last obstacle was the certain steps you had to watch out for when you went down the stair because they would crack and make a noise. Once I was downstairs and managed to get the TV on I was good, if my mom happened to wake up a little after I was able to convince her to stay and watch some TV with me.

This memory was produced through keynote and signal sounds that I had to listen to every weekend to get my fix of cartoons. If ever I hear the annoying noise of dishes while I am sleeping it brings me back to my younger days and puts me in an avoiding mood. At the same if I see on TV someone acting out a similar scene were someone is sneaking through the night trying not to make a sound; It produces a happy emotion recollecting the thing I had to go through just to watch cartoons and avoid my mom waking up. Memories are what get us through when we are down on our luck, as well as make us stronger when thinking of something difficult we surpassed. Although we may not always remember memories exactly all it takes is one sound or picture or smell to bring a memory rushing back and I am certainly glad I have this one even if it was painful at the time.

Essay by Richard Crowell

Essay #2

It was a bright Saturday morning ten years ago when the summers where as good as wasted but damn well enjoyed. Before the classes became something of importance, of meaning, it was in these days that I could just sit and lie all day dying of sweet boredom. I would remember some days I would awaken to the sound of Javier Solis playing on the background of the soundscape which encompassed the loneliness of being in the country side of a border town. The same musician, Javier Solis I mean, whose dreaded name was handed to me by my mother when I was born on the summer of 1992. It is always nostalgic whenever I hear a song of the past that reminds me of the times I lived as a child. The music course of the present now speaks on the influence music has on the imprint of memory and it is astonishing and more revealing after hearing about it in class.

I can hear my mom is cooking her usual Mexican breakfast dish of eggs and tamales as she sings along to her favorite radio station. If I was lucky some I would have some pan dulce to go with my closely rotting milk. I find the music relaxing and the sound of eggs and bacon crackling in a pan. Sometimes it isn’t Mr. Solis on the radio who I hear on the first seconds of the new day but Vincente Fernandez, whose deep enchanting voice is still enough to capture my mother’s attention despite being a rather horrible bore to the six children she has all who speak Spanglish amongst themselves. And yet, other times its Salsa with Marc Anthony and Frankie Ruiz where the beats are fast and kinda my style. Makes me want to dance just thinking about it.

All these memories seared into my brain by the sound of the world and the music enjoyed at the time like is a record player if I listen again the pick goes backwards in time. From Metallica playing the rhythms my German 7th grade art teacher loved, to the sound of Sabado Gigante or El Chavo playing on the clunky TV that had an even chunkier antenna, I am moved every time I hear those sounds because they are not just sounds or music, but are a part of me and the life I lived. It is interesting that I can’t remember what these shows or music really had in them but the unique style is enough to drive the clock back.

My tastes in music now are greatly different from then and they evolve as time goes. I have unintentionally have realized that I made tags of my life by the music I listen to at every moment in it. And if I pleased I could just change the station and remember the thoughts I had at the time I felt the music I listened to was cool. Speaking about my tastes in music, I was more of an Apollonian where I placed my philosophy of what music should sound like. My portraits and paintings would be made with care and joy with the sound of a ticking clock next to me as I place the next brush stroke hoping it would be perfect.

I loved the sound of order and carefully composed pieces of music. It was an art but as time when on Modernism took root. From my taste in music to the art I created it was no longer about the careful structure so purposefully made to impress but about the experience and the convenience. I wanted to hear music that was new and hip. I wanted to make art not a yearlong endeavor but a quick slap of paint. As I grew older and my time was consumed by the obligations of age I cared not for what was perfect but what worked. Modern sound is unique as modern art both being much simpler to produce when time is not playing to your beat.

I think my shift in musical tastes was partly due to the exposure of technology. My family was poor and we lived detached from the world because my parents came illegally to the US and we for a time had to be hidden from authorities. Of course they are now legal but anyways noise to us was the sound of the police. Police we thought would take us away if we were ever found out. The police would bring their helicopters which had a sound that was clearly distinct from the rest and we would think to ourselves, ‘what kind drug dealers are they hunting down now’.

Even to this day I still dislike the sound of a police driving by. Noise to me at that time was not the sound of the dial-up internet that gave us insight to a whole other world but in fact it was dial-up was music to my ears. Sweet sound. But expensive. Every time I hear a rooster I remember my neighbors’ who had chicken and roosters. If I ever hear the sound of roosters again it brings me back to the chickens would make as we let our dog kill eat them up along with their annoying sound. All I wanted to do was play my Nintendo and hear the profane words that came out of the greatest obscene game of all time, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, rather than listen to some animals outside making a racket.

What brought me to the modern age and changed the way I heard things forever was the move I made from the Valley to Austin to attend the University of Texas. It was such a culture shock. The sound of quiet roads where I once learned to drive were replaced by running cars that got in your way and had people who shouted at you. The sound of all types of music and so much construction competing with each other for dominance of the soundscape is a reality I never thought I would ever encounter. Where was Juanes, RBD, the Kumbia Kings? Not here. They were replaced by Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, and a few other lame artists who knew nothing of music but had their disgusting Dionysian tastes for others to enjoy. Like that Nikki Minaj girl. It is these new sounds: The sounds of the UT Shuttle, Airplanes, parties next door, students speaking in their native languages, and computer clicks that are forming new imprints in my memory that will define my life in college. It is ever so clear that I can also go back in time not physically but mentally by just playing a little music or by simply rewatching a movie. Sound is one of the five senses and its importance in our lives is of little doubt.

Essay by Javier Solis

Essay #3

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There are many different examples of various sound spaces and there are many unique ways in which the surrounding sound space can affect our personal space. These affects can be positive or negative, or even relatively unnoticed. They can also be very subjective. One person might like a specific sound while another finds it to be a nuisance. An interphonic knot is when one simultaneously listens to or perceives two sonic spaces of a different nature.

For example, I often listen to my iPod while I am mowing the lawn. Two separate sonic spaces can become intertwined in various ways, and another example of how this can happen is when a person is driving in a vehicle and listening to music while the outside sound space invades the musical sound space inside the car. This can be intentional or unintentional, and most of the time when I drive, the interphonic knot created is unintentional, although there are times when I intentionally listen to the surrounding noise outside the vehicle while I also listen to the music inside my truck. The unintentional interphonic knot created in my vehicle is when I am attempting to turn my truck into an acoustic cocoon. While I am driving I like to listen to music and try and drown out the surrounding environment. My attempt is to ignore the outside world and concentrate on the music inside my truck. Music is a special thing for me; it can change my mood, or intensify it.

If I am in a bad mood and driving to school, I will turn on some happy music and “turn off” the outside distractions of the traffic noise. This not only creates an acoustic cocoon which isolates my mood as well as the music, but I can also create a situation of anamnesis. This is defined as “An effect of reminiscence in which a past situation or atmosphere is brought back to the listener’s consciousness, provoked by a particular signal or sonic event (Augoyard and Torque 21).” If I am in a bad mood, I can listen to a certain song or playlist that will remind me of a happy experience, or fun time I have had in the past. For example, when I hear the song “Slow Ride” by Foghat it reminds me of a rather fun camping trip I had at the lake in high school.

Many times while driving I like to intentionally create interphonic knots. This usually starts when I am in a good mood which can be caused by various situations, but the main one that causes me to intentionally destroy my acoustic cocoon is when it is a nice, sunny spring day. I usually take the back roads home, through the country and around the city in this situation. I roll my windows down to try and hear the sounds of nature, (birds singing, the wind blowing in the trees) and I will turn on my happy playlist. I intertwine the outside noises with the music inside my car to give me a heightened feeling of happiness. I will even sometimes drive down to the river to hear the sounds of that environment mix with my music.

While there are many situations throughout the day in which interphonic knots are created, there is one situation and location in which only one, relatively calm and quiet sound dominates. The ceiling fan in my bedroom and the “white noise” it creates is an abstract example of many different sound concepts to me personally. While everybody might use a ceiling fan to cool down the room, and move the air around, some people also like to use the noise it creates. I like to have the ceiling fan on while I go to sleep in order to create the white noise that soothes and relaxes. Without the ceiling fan, it seems to be too quiet and the silence can actually keep me awake. In my personal sonic environment, the ceiling fan is also a unique combination of a keynote sound and a soundmark, and I could also abstractly consider it a signal. The ceiling fan, or more specifically the noise it creates, is most of all a keynote for me personally. Although it is an extremely quiet noise, it is the dominant sound in my bedroom at night while I sleep and I definitely don’t listen to it consciously. It is the background noise in my bedroom that I don’t even notice most of the time. It can be considered the outline noise for the sonic environment in my bedroom while I sleep.

Schafer describes a keynote as an anchor (Sterne 100). My ceiling fan is the anchor sound to which my peaceful sleep depends on. I also consider the ceiling fan in my bedroom to be a soundmark. A soundmark refers to a community sound which is unique, or possesses qualities which make it specially regarded or noticed by the people in that community (Sterne 101). In the context of my home and personal life, my family and I are the “community”. The noise created by the ceiling fan is specially regarded by me as a soundmark in a way that symbolizes the concept of peaceful sleep just as the statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan is a landmark that symbolizes the music community of Austin. In an even more abstract connection, I also think of my ceiling fan as a signal. A signal is described as a foreground sound that is listened to consciously (Sterne 101). Even though it is my subconscious that needs the sound of the ceiling fan, I consciously listen for it and notice if it is not turned on. Additionally, if I am having trouble falling asleep, I make an effort to focus on that sound and use it as a signal for sleep. Even the act of turning on the ceiling fan before I get into bed is a sort of signal that it is time to go to sleep. Opening my ears and mind to the sonic environment around me has taught me to appreciate the sounds I have and take for granted, as well as appreciate the way my brain can tune out much of the background noise that is around me all the time. There is so much sound in our environment that goes unnoticed even though that sound is an integral part of our lives. Sound is always going to be there, if it is a nuisance, hopefully we can tune it out. If it is some undiscovered background noise that unknowingly comforts us, then we should embrace it and use it to our advantage. Hearing is one of the five senses that we take for granted. This experience in exploring my sonic environment has opened my ears to a whole new world.

– Essay by Jason Malnar

Essay #4

Ever since freshman year of college, I have continuously dealt with the problem of time budgeting. There would be periods of time when I would pull two, sometimes three, consecutive all-nighters, which often resulted in bouts of insomnia where I lived the rest week through using thirty minute long naps. In contrast, there would also be downtime, during which my system shutoff completely to compensate for a severe sleep deficit. While it wasn’t frequent, there were several instances during sophomore and junior year when I slept through Saturday and half of Sunday. Suffice it to say, college had completely destroyed my sleeping habits, and I found myself in a constant state of barely lucid wakefulness, where I slept like the dead and lived liked I was dying. I was also faced with the curious predicament of needing to wake up on time for the classes that were often times the root cause of my sleep deficit. Since I had always been a heavy sleeper, I had always set multiple alarms with an extremely loud and dissonant ringtone that sounds like a radiation alarm from a bad movie.

Usually, waking me up requires three consecutive alarms (spaced three minutes apart, i.e. 8:00AM, 8:03AM, and 8:06AM), each of which would sound for a whole minute, then automatically snooze at ten minute intervals for a maximum of ten times. Most of the time, I could wake up without needing to go through the entire cycle of alarms, since I would be conscious of the alarms after thirty minutes. To me, this was an elaborate system of sound signals that I could not function without. To roommates in a poorly insulated apartment with paper thin walls, this was nothing short of living hell on days when I had 8:00 AM classes or the occasional Saturday when I had to get up early for social or community service events.

However, this signaling system slowly became less effective with the passage of time. Due to the combined effects of sleep deprivation and sound repetition, my radiation siren was progressively turning from a signal to a keynote sound. It was taking me longer and longer to wake up, until one day; I slept through all 112 minutes of blaring alarms and missed my environmental engineering final by and an hour and thirty minutes. My roommates hadn’t thought to wake me up because they hadn’t been aware of the fact that I had a final. In addition, by that point, they were about as desensitized as I was to the noise that the alarms made. In a sense, my sleeping habits had conditioned all of them into hearing it as nothing but background noise.

Following that event (thankfully resolved by a kindhearted professor who permitted me to take the exam later that day), I develop a slight fear of sleeping with the paranoid notion that nothing on earth was loud enough to wake me up. However, this happened during finals week, and I occurred to me that it would be an extraordinary act of stupidity to try and nap my way through the rest of finals. Therefore, for that year (and that year only), I called upon my parents to wake me up for finals, with explicit instructions to keep calling me until I picked up the phone and replied in an articulate manner. The results were astonishing. For the rest of the week, I woke up to calls on the first ring and was usually lucid enough to talk by the second call. I didn’t understand how my alarm, which was ridiculously loud and annoying, could fail to wake me in almost two hours when it only took my ringtone (which was quieter and sounds something like a harp riff) less than ten minutes.

Regardless of what I could and could not understand, I picked up on this incident and changed my alarm tone, rectifying the situation almost immediately. Now, I cycle back and forth between several different alarms, changing “sounds” whenever it takes me longer than thirty minutes to wake up to any particular one. In retrospect, I believe what was actually happening with my waking and sleeping process was a switch between perceiving the alarm as a keynote sound as opposed to perceiving it to be a signal. With the passage of time, my elaborate system of bells and whistles faded from the foreground and melded into the background as white noise.

Of course, it takes an extraordinarily long time for a radiation siren to be construed by one’s brain as “white noise”, and for me the process took several years. However, regardless of the time it took, my alarm had been relegated to a keynote sound and could no longer serve as an acoustic warning device. Nonetheless, because it was such a dominant part of my mornings, I was remarkably sensitive to any alterations to this particular keynote. Therefore, when it changed to another sound, even though the new sound was less intense and less intrusive, the effect was immediately noticeable. An extreme example of a similar phenomenon is my roommate during freshman year, with whom I shared a single dorm room in Jester Hall. She slept to soft music through the entire night and woke up when the music shut off in the morning due to a predetermined schedule that she programmed into her Ipod.

I could never understand how someone could wake up due a lack of sound, but looking back, her situation is not so different from mine. In both scenarios, there is a change to something that the brain interprets as background noise which then results in a change of physical states. The difference is that my change could only be triggered by toggling different signal systems whereas all that my roommate required was a change between an ambient sound environment that played music and one that was silent.

Essay #5

The piece of technology that I have found to have made a large difference in my life is definitely my headphones. More so than my mp3 player, record player, or bass-heavy speaker system, my headphones are important to me because they allow me to enjoy all of the previous technologies in a different way. Since their invention, headphones have “enable[d] people to privately and individually interact with media,” changing the way we experience that media in relation to one another.

Headset, earphones, ear buds, headphones; whatever you call them, these nifty little things all originated from a man named Nathaniel Baldwin in 1910. Since the late 1800s, there was a device in use that worked like headphones, but it was primarily for telephone line dispatchers[2]. And while Baldwin’s take on the technology is merely meant for naval communication, aesthetically, it is the earliest to resemble the headphones we now use for music. Still, it takes almost five more decades after Baldwin for music-intended headphones to surface. In 1958, Milwaukee businessman John Koss graces the world with his new SP3 Stereophones. Koss introduces his Stereophones as partners to his “portable phonograph”[1] The innovations came from Koss’ great business idea to rent the phonograph and headphones out to local hospital patients.

The headphones struck gold and buyers soon realized that the “sound quality made them optimal for listening to music.”[1] Headphones, kept evolving, and now we have the market we see today, with top brands like Sony, Bose, Audio-Technica, and more leading the way. Despite how much I adore the different devices that store and play my music collection (my laptop, my tablets, my mp3 player, and my smartphone), I have finally realized that the way I would use these devices would be completely different, had headphones not been invented. Much like the way the radio and the phonograph began as explicitly for group consumption, so was music from boom boxes, and larger stereo systems. It was not until very recently that the Walkman changed the game. We now live in a time where musical devices are made to be listened alone, primarily.

Docks and speakers are cool, but people are supposed to want the devices that can fit in their pockets and accompany them all day. As a college student of the 21st century, my headphones are an essential part of my day-to-day life. My headphones allow me to avoid people or situations I don’t favor, quiet the outside world so that I can focus harder on something internal, or bring me more into the internal world of my music where my thoughts are lighter and I don’t have to think about the real world at all. Using my headphones to avoid people or situations of my choice is probably the least useful way that I use them. This is, admittedly, a way many people allow themselves to casually not hear the homeless on the street asking them for help, or ignore someone who keeps trying to talk to them.

Headphones were not made to allow society to become ruder or more antisocial, but this is one way that is now accepted to keep people out of our space. It has even become a joke that depending on how someone is wearing their headphones, they are telling you whether or not they are open to conversation; as if headphones have become some new channel of communication in and of themselves. My headphones allow me to quiet the outside world when there is something on my mind more than any other therapy or guidance I search for otherwise. Yes, it is the music that creates the effect or relaxation, but it is a different thing to hear that music coming to me so closely. Instead of surrounding myself with nature, the low hum of the refrigerator in my room, or even the white noise of my air conditioning, I consistently choose to have noise playing to relax myself. It is probably due to the noisy world in which I grew up, but having that noise has become second nature to me. I don’t favor the silence. My headphones assist me in focusing because they create what we learned to call a “cocoon.” I begin to feel as though I can become smaller, more absorbed in my internal thoughts when my music is keeping outside distractions from me.

The last specific thing my headphones help me to do is escape the internal and external factors of my life and enter a new world entirely. Instead of my headphones helping me sink deeper into myself like before, this way allows me to leave my thoughts behind and sink into the world of the song. I can take the time to place myself in alternate realities with my headphones because I know that I am the only one who is going on the journey with them. As opposed to the public/shared listening experience, listening to music in my headphones lets me feel like I am the only person at that specific point in time and whatever the music is telling me or showing me is a personal story. Without headphones, I would not feel like my time with my device was unique. Making music listening a private thing with my headphones makes me, as a listener, feel like no one else knows what I’m thinking or feeling and that feeling of being free is not something that happens all the time.

When I leave to walk to my first class, I make sure to have my headphones so that I can listen to music to prepare me for my day. After class, when I get lunch, I first use my headphones to drown out the chatter of those around me. If it so happens that I am eating alone, then I will definitely keep my headphones in as I eat, so that I can feel less embarrassed by the fact that I am eating alone. (On this note, but another analysis entirely, it is interesting how something auditory can change my perception of something I am experiencing visually and physically.) When I get back to my room after a long day of classes, my headphones are still a part of the actions of my day. If I decide to rest, I put my headphones in and lay down on my bed. If I decide to study, I put my headphones in and listen to music as I study so that I do not have to disturb my roommate. I use my headphones often and because of that, I always make sure that at least one pair of headphones I own is always in reach.

– Essay by Morgan Dunn

Essay #6

My start with the iPod phenomenon dates back to when I was in 7th grade, in roughly the year of 2004. A friend of mine owned what we now know as the iPod Classic. Back then, all I could think was how nifty they were. At that point, my family already gifted me a variety of mp3 players that I gave up on at first glance because of their complexity. With the information I knew about the iPod: the incredible ability to hold photos, videos, and more songs than any person could imagine, how I would even come to configure the contraption was beyond my belief. All I knew is that I wanted in on the trend and if I didn’t figure out how it worked, oh well, it looked cool anyway!

In an article article published in the earlier portion of the century, Walker attempted to tackle the many features of the iPod. I say iPod in singular form because this was before the many generations like classic, nano, and shuffle existed. Overall, a very great read especially in how Walker structured the article with subsections titled “The Aura” and “The Surface Section”– the quintessential features of the music player. He prompted many street-goers about the defining factors in their purchase. In one case, someone mentioned that the scroll wheel did it for them, “‘When you do the volume for the first time, that’s the key moment’” (Walker, 2). What a truly obvious statement that is yet so imperative to the existence of Apple’s enterprise. People are swept up by the white, sleek designs that are otherwise unseen in technological devices. Everything before Mac/iPod was black or gray, so in Apple’s risky tactic to change the game, they won the crowd. Walker points out the winning features such as the “white headphones” that shaped their advertising campaign with the unforgettable silhouettes, and the “stainless steel backing” another timeless trademark (Walker 4). The iPod lures you in with its exterior appeal and gives you the freedom to create the next dimension- the music library.

When you delve into someone’s iPod library, you are able to get a handle on the individual’s personality type. All the carefully selected genres, playlists, and used up music capacity brings light to the soul who hand-crafted the music world you just scrolled through. This capability makes knowing/meeting someone that much easier. Personally, it is one of my favorite things to do for the purpose of relating or finding new tunes. Learning someone’s culture is now as simple as looking into their iPod. They emulate the power of music in bringing society together on an entirely different level. In one of my findings, they are monumentally paralleled to Gothic cathedrals, “For they are not merely looked at or to be entered for silent prayer, they were also cathedrals of sound” (Bull, 1). In this statement, Bull is true to the iPod’s wholesome worth outside of the tangible aspects like its price/features. He begins to emphasize that an iPod is more than just a device you go to for music, but more of an escape from reality as a Cathedral is for any religious person.

To extend on the escape-like effect an iPod offers, it is really like tapping into a personal narrative by scanning through your library and finding music pertinent to a time in your life. This identity we have with music is stored in a “portal memory bank” where we then gain instant access to the contents (Bull, 89). The music we have is of our own and we classify it as we please. My iPod contains playlists for every moment (almost, if only it were possibly) I could think up that deserves a soundtrack. The music that travels with me is suit for studying, working out, walking around campus, and other routine parts of my life. I even know what artists to tap into when I need to transfer into a different mood. August Burns Red and Bassnectar guide me through my workouts, Explosions in The Sky is essential to study sessions, Aqueous Transmissions by Incubus is my go-to when I need stress relief, and I know these associations exist out there in different variations for people around the world.

Individuality is truly my favorite quirk about owning an iPod. Realizing this, Apple and iPod partners constantly put forward innovations to expand on that central concept. Almost all cars/speaker systems are built with iPod compatibility which is great especially in minimizing my dependency on the radio. The radio shoves songs of “profitability” rather than quality at us in an incredibly repetitive manner and frankly, it is annoying. We are “no longer prey to the whims of corporate radio, our sonic envelopes, our cathedrals of sound exist in the personal playlist of the iPod” (Bull, 1).  The more we can escape the radio’s influence, the greater chance we have to expand on our own music interests rather than what everyone else is listening to. It is an amazing concept that auxiliary chords and SYNC technology in car audio makes a possibility, as well as  getting to our destination painlessly. This is certainly true for me as a student who drives home five hours to the tip of South Texas. It is the variety of my music that keeps me awake southbound on i35.

Overall, iPods encapsulate the power of music and individuality in perfect harmony. While society might seem silly for indulging in this culture for its glamor and visual appeal, Apple is indeed responsible for the revolutionary musical exchange we are experiencing. It is a technology of everyday life that is taken for granted and commonly overlooked. Everyone should take a step back and recollect their relationship with their iPod and how it has changed their lives. Its wonders and our generation will soon be accounted for in history books to come, and that is worthy of musical applause.

– Essay by Samantha Salazar

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