Deafening noise and alluring music: On the sonic environment of Lower Silesian craft and industry exhibitions
The paper seeks to reconstruct the sonic environment of Lower Silesian industry exhibitions in the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century. The author draws on sources concerning the exhibitions held in Breslau, Schweidnitz, Liegnitz, and Görlitz between 1820 and 1905 such as exhibition catalogues, reports, press accounts, etc. The sound environment of the exhibitions included sound signals, songs performed at exhibition openings, and pieces composed for the exhibitions. Craft and industry products on display included musical instruments — some of them experimental — whose sound was subjected to the assessment of visitors. In addition, there was a profusion of non-music audio phenomena produced by people, animals and exhibits such as machines. Extant press accounts tell us how visitors responded to these “fascinating,” if sometimes “off-putting,” sounds.
Translated by Mirosław Rusek