No Conclusions: Response to Symposium, August 16, 2021


  • Nina Sun Eidsheim
  • Daniel Walden


Tools and perspectives serve particular ends. When they are no longer useful because a goal, such as writing a book, has been achieved, pieces of paper change status from vital tools to a pile of materials to be recycled. Also, when the goal (or question) changes—for example, from racially differentiating people by voice, exhibiting musical superiority, or settling and colonizing continents to uncovering vocal and musical multiplicities or writing the complex history of settler music history and land practices—we discard outdated tools and perspectives and adopt those that will serve our current goals. At least to this point in my work, it has been vital to focus on understanding the questions we ask and the ways we arrive at them, rather than dealing in conclusions. 

One of the main questions I asked in The Race of Sound was: How can the sound of the voice be essential if, as we know from vocal pedagogy and vocal artists, the voice is material, formed by practices, and practices are determined by understandings limited by culture and history? The question I am currently concerned with is: How have deep (and largely unarticulated) conceptual metaphors shaped musical practice, thinking, sensing, and imagination?





Symposium on The Race of Sound, by Nina Sun Eidsheim