The Take and the Stutter: Glenn Gould’s Time Synthesis

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    In A Thousand Plateaus, Deleuze and Guattari refer to Glenn Gould as an illustration of the third principle of the rhizome, that of multiplicity: ‘When Glenn Gould speeds up the performance of a piece, he is not just displaying virtuosity, he is transforming the musical points into lines, he is making the whole piece proliferate’ (1987: 8). In an attempt to make sensible their ostensibly modest statement, I proliferate the relationships between Glenn Gould’s philosophy of sound recording, Deleuze’s theory of passive synthesis, and Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the stutter. I argue, ultimately, that Glenn Gould’s radical recording practice stutters and deterritorialises the temporality of the recorded performance. More generally, the Deleuzian perspective broadens the scope of Gould’s aesthetic practices that highlights the importance of aesthetic acts in the redistribution of sensory experience. But the study serves a broader purpose than celebrating a pianist/recordist that Deleuze admired. Rather, while his contemporaries began to use the studio as a compositional element in sound recording, Gould bypassed such a step towards the informational logics of recording studios. Thus, it is inappropriate to think of Gould as having immersed himself in ‘technology’ than the broader concept of a complex, one that redistributed the striated listening space of the concert hall.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)558-577
    Number of pages20
    JournalDeleuze and Guattari Studies
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Nov. 2015


    • Glenn Gould
    • listening
    • music
    • performance
    • recording practice
    • sound studies
    • stuttering
    • subjectivity


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