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1685 __ Sharawaggi
Sir William Temple (1628-1699)
Comment : Sharawadji is included in the list of sonic effects proposed by Jean-François Augoyard and Henry Torgue in their book Sonic Experience: A Guide to Everyday Sounds (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2005). They define it (and I quote) as "An aesthetic effect that characterizes the feeling of plenitude that is sometimes created by the contemplation of a sound motif or a complex soundscape of inexplicable beauty." They attribute the term to 17th century travelers returning from China, and they also mention Wiliam Temple, as well as an article by Louis Marin, "L'effet sharawadji", in Traverses no. 4-5, Paris (1979). So the term is now also used to refer to sonic sources - the authors of the book also being architects, I would assume they found the term in their literature and applied it to sound."Sharawaggi" (or "sharawadgi") is a word of Japanese (sometimes mistakenly attributed to Chinese) origin adopted by European languages in the 17th century. In Japanese, it means "irregular" or "asymmetrical," in a good sense, as in "the beauty of studied irregularity." But in Europe it took on more connotations in landscaping -- it described a garden or grounds that were wild-looking, overgrown. (This was not a popular garden style at the time.) The word then was applied to humans who did not like rules or what was considered correct behavior. Florence King uses it in Reflections In A Jaundiced Eye to mean the "let it all hang out" lack of correct behavior she considers a major problem in the modern United States.A major feature of modernity is the increased speed in dispersing and diffusing knowledge through the printed word, travel, and correspondence. Sir William Temple (1628-1699) was a statesman and essayist who traveled throughout Europe. His essay Upon the Gardens of Epicurus; or Of Gardening, in the Year 1685 described what he called “Chineses” [sic] landscaping. Among us [Europeans], the beauty of building and planting is placed chiefly in some certain proportions, symmetries, or uniformities; our walks and our trees ranged so as to answer one another, and at exact distances. The Chineses scorn this way of planting, and say, a boy, that can tell an hundred, may plant walks of trees in straight lines, and over-against one another, and to what length and extent he pleases. But their greatest reach of imagination is employed in contriving figures, where the beauty shall be great, and strike the eye, but without any order or disposition of parts that shall be commonly or easily observed: and, though we have hardly any notion of this sort of beauty, yet they have a particular word to express it, and, where they find it hit their eye at first sight, they say the sharawadgi is fine or is admirable, or any such expression of esteem. And whoever observes the work upon the best India gowns, or the painting upon their best screens or purcellans, will find their beauty is all of this kind (that is) without order. (1690:58) Multiple authors have attempted to trace the etymology of sharawadgi to various Chinese and Japanese terms for garden design, two philosophies that greatly differ in adherence to feng shui directional principles, proportional codes of site orientation and placement of buildings and plants. Two Chinese authors suggested the Chinese expressions sale guaizhi "quality of being impressive or surprising through careless or unorderly grace" (Chang 1930) and sanlan waizhi "space tastefully enlivened by disorder" (Ch'ien 1940). E. V. Gatenby (1931) proposed English sharawadgi derived from Japanese sorowaji (揃わじ) "not being regular", an older form of sorowazu (揃わず) "incomplete; unequal (in size); uneven; irregular". S. Lang and Nikolaus Pevsner (1949) dismissed these two unattested Chinese terms, doubted the Japanese sorowaji, and suggested that Temple coined the word "sharawadgi". P. Quennell (1968) concurred that the term could not be traced to any Chinese word, and favored the Japanese etymology. Takau Shimada (1997) believed the irregular beauty that Temple admired was more likely characteristic of Japanese gardens, owing to the irregular topography upon which they were built, and compared the Japanese word sawarinai (触りない) "do not touch; leave things alone". Ciaran Murray (1998, 1999) reasons that Temple heard the word sharawadgi from Dutch travelers who had visited Japanese gardens (perhaps accompanied by the German Engelbert Kaempfer), when the Dutch East India Company had a factory at Dejima, Nagasaki. Murray emphasizes that Temple used "the Chineses" in blanket reference inclusive of all Oriental races during a time when the East-West dialogues and influences were quite fluid. He also notes the similarity between sarawadgi and the southern Japanese Kyūshū dialect pronunciation shorowaji. The Oxford English Dictionary enters Sharawaggi or Sharawadgi without direct definition, excepting a gloss under the Temple quotation, "… have a particular Word to express it [sc. the beauty of studied irregularity]". It notes the etymology is "Of unknown origin; Chinese scholars agree that it cannot belong to that language. Temple speaks as if he had himself heard it from travellers", and cites Lang and Pevsner (1949). The OED cites two other early usage examples by Alexander Pope (1724) "For as to the hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Paradise of Cyrus, and the Sharawaggi's of China, I have little or no Idea's of 'em" and Horace Walpople (1750) "I am almost as fond of the Sharawaggi, or Chinese want of symmetry, in buildings, as in grounds or gardens." Temple misinterpreted wild irregularity, which he characterized as “sharawagdi”, to be happy circumstance instead of carefully manipulated garden design. His idea of highlighting natural imperfections and spatial inconsistencies was the inspiration for fashioning early 18th-century "Sharawagdi gardens" in England. The most famous example was William Kent’s “Elysian field” at Stowe House built around 1738. (Compiled from various sources)“The Sharawadji effect is an aesthetic effect which characterises the sensation of plenitude sometimes created by the contemplation of a complex soundscape whose beauty is unexplainable. This exotic term, which travellers introduced to Europe in the 17th Century from their journeys to China, designates the beauty that comes about without perceiving the order or economy of the object in question. The effect comes about as a surprise and will carry you elsewhere, beyond strict representation - out of context. In this brutal confusion, the senses get lost. A beautiful Sharawadji plays with the rules of composition, manipulates them and awakens a feeling of pleasure through perceptual confusion. Whether in a dreamlike or anxious state, we are sometimes completely deaf to the environment. However while on a walk or on a journey, our spirit can combine availability, attention, perspicacity and therefore become receptive to new things, including sonic fantasy The beautiful Sharawadji affirms itself in contrast with the banality from which it originates. Sharawadji sounds, as such, belong to everyday life or to known musical registers. They only become Sharawadji by decontextualisation, by a rupture of the senses. The sonic matter that encourages the Sharawadji effect is up to the appreciation of each individual, in a given context, however the soundscape, and in particular urban soundscapes can, as a result of their unpredictability and diversity, favour it. The sonic wealth of nature is also susceptible of creating the Sharawadji effect. (Jean-François Augoyard and Henry Torgue, À l'écoute de l'environnement, répertoire des effets sonores a dictionary of sound effects , 1995 translated by Claude Schryer)Accounts of listening experience by Ian Stevenson.This paper details initial findings in an investigation into the experience of auditory confusion arising from a listener's inability to identify or resolve the source or identity of a sound. This type of confusion may arise due to ambiguity in the sound itself. Ambiguity is often included amongst the compositional concerns of electroacoustic and acousmatic composers (Wishart 1996; Smalley, 1997) and is also of central concern to authors and critics of literature and poetry (Empson 1947). Many musicologists assume that we know how ambiguity operates in the context of electroacoustic music or theorise or model it in terms such as gestural surrogacy (Smalley 1997) or association. Empson’s work on ambiguity in poetry focuses on the texts themselves as evidence for a typology of ambiguity. In contrast to these approaches the research described here attempts to discover what the experience of auditory confusion can be like and to consider how listener’s accounts of their experiences reflect on their conception of sound as an object of perception. The initial impetus for this research was an intuition that the aesthetic impact of much electroacoustic music and ecological or environmental listening is linked to moments of confusion and ambiguity. These two terms, confusion and ambiguity, are conceived here as reflexively linked in the phenomena of auditory perception. Aspects of this intuition are supported in the approach to the experience of literary texts presented in the work of Gaston Bachelard (1971) on one hand; and the experience of the built environment described by Augoyard and Torgue (2005). In Bachelard we see reverie detailed as a fundamental mode of aesthetic engagement. In Augoyard’s Sharawadji, Ubiquity and anamnesis effects we find this type of reverie arising from the confusion of an infinitely complex and confusing audible environment. The empirical work reported here attempts to find support for these ideas in the everyday experiences of ordinary listeners and in so doing, uncovers the complexity of everyday conceptions of sound. (Compiled from various sources)
French comment : Voici une définition de l'effet Sharawadji que nous proposent Jean-François Augoyard et Henry Torgue : “L'Effet Sharawadji est un effet esthétique qui caractérise la sensation de plénitude qui se crée parfois lors de la contemplation d'un paysage sonore complexe dont la beauté est inexplicable. Le terme exotique, que les voyageurs ont introduit en Europe au 17e siècle à leur retour de Chine désigne la beauté qui advient sans que soit discernable l'ordre ou l'économie de la chose. ... L'effet survient contre toute attente et transporte dans un ailleurs, au-delà de la stricte représentation donc hors contexte. Dans cette confusion brutalement présente, les sens, comme le sens, s'y perdent. ... Le beau Sharawadji joue avec les règles de la composition, il les détourne et éveille dans la confusion perceptive un sentiment de plaisir. Rêveurs ou inquiets, nous sommes parfois complètement sourds à l'environnement. En revanche au cours d'une promenade ou d'un voyage, notre esprit peut conjuguer disponibilité, attention, perspicacité, et devient ainsi réceptif à la nouveauté et à la fantaisie sonore.” Un Sharawadji est donc une beauté sonore inexplicable qui est ressentie hors contexte. Mais un Sharawadji, à la fois sublime et indicible, n'est pas une chose évidente. Augoyard et Torgue nous précisent que : “Le beau Sharawadji s'affirme par contraste avec la banalité dont il est pourtant issu. Les sons sharawadji, en soi, appartiennent au quotidien ou au registre musical connu. Ils ne deviennent sharawadji que par décontextualisation, par rupture des sens. ... Si la matière sonore qui suscite l'effet sharawadji reste à l'appréciation de chacun, dans un contexte donné, les paysages sonores et tout particulièrement les paysages sonores urbains peuvent, par leur imprévisibilité et leur diversité, le favoriser. La richesse sonore de la nature est également susceptible de créer l'effet sharawadji .”. (Claude Schryer)“Cet effet esthétique caractérise la sensation de plénitude qui se crée parfois lors de la contemplation d’un motif sonore ou d’un paysage sonore complexe dont la beauté est inexplicable. Le terme exotique, que les voyageurs ont introduit en Europe au XVIIième siècle à leur retour de Chine, désigne “la beauté qui advient sans que soit discernable l’ordre ou l’économie de la chose. Ainsi, lorsque les Chinois visitent un jardin dont la beauté frappe leur imagination par son absence de dessein, ils ont coutume de dire que son “sharawadji” est admirable” (Louis Marin). Cet ordre virtuel, insaisissable et présent, fascine, coupe le souffle. L’effet sharawadji survient contre toute attente et transporte dans un ailleurs, un au-delà de la stricte représentation.hors contexte. Dans cette confusion brutalement présente, les sens, comme le sens, s’y perdent. [...] Par analogie nous évoquons l’errance sonore de qui s’étonne et s’émerveille à l’écoute des multiples bruits de la ville, ces parasites cacophoniques qui échappent à tout classement. Sans aucun doute, pour définir le sharawadji, il conviendra de s’arreter sur certaines modalités du sublime. [...] Le désordre apparent constitue la consition nécessaire mais non suffisante de l’effet sharawadji. Distortions, incongruités, déséquilibres, irrégularités s’éloignent des canons du beau et pourtant exercent un attrait tel, que l’œil ou l’oreille s’y égarent et y trouvent du plaisir. L’artifice disparaît: à la forme belle dont on peut suivre les contours et la composition, s’oppose la forme informe qui dérobe à l’œil ou à l’oreille l’élaboration artistique. [...] Le beau sharawadji s’affirme par contraste avec la banalité dont il est pourtant issu. Les sons sharawadji, en soi, appartiennent au quotidien ou au registre musical connu. Ils ne deviennent sharawadji que par décontextualisation, par rupture de sens. [...] Avec l’effet sharawadji, nous participons à l’actualisation d’une impossible virtualité, et nous retenons notre souffle pour ne pas empêcher son accomplissement jamais accompli. [...] Si la matière sonore qui suscite l’effet sharawadji reste à l’appréciation de chacun, dans un contexte donné, les paysages sonores et tout particulièrement les paysages sonores urbains peuvent, par leur imprévisibilité et leur diversité, le favoriser. (Jean-François Augoyard & Henry Torgue)
Original excerpt : « What I have said, of the best forms of gardens, is meant only of such as are in some sort regular; for there may be other forms wholly irregular that may, for aught I know, have more beauty than any of the others; but they must owe it to some extraordinary dispositions of nature in the seat, or some great race of fancy or judgment in the contrivance, which may reduce many disagreeing parts into some figure, which shall yet, upon the whole, be very agreeable. Something of this I have seen in some places, but heard more of it from others who have lived much among the Chineses; a people, whose way of thinking seems to lie as wide of ours in Europe, as their country does. Among us, the beauty of building and planting is placed chiefly in some certain proportions, symmetries, or uniformities; our walks and our trees ranged so as to answer one another, and at exact distances. The Chineses scorn this way of planting, and say, a boy, that can tell an hundred, may plant walks of trees in straight lines, and over-against one another, and to what length and extent he pleases. But their greatest reach of imagination is employed in contriving figures, where the beauty shall be great, and strike the eye, but without any order or disposition of parts that shall be commonly or easily observed: and, though we have hardly any notion of this sort of beauty, yet they have a particular word to express it [sc. the beauty of studied irregularity], and, where they find it hit their eye at first sight, they say the sharawadgi is fine or is admirable, or any such expression of esteem. And whoever observes the work upon the best India gowns, or the painting upon their best screens or purcellans, will find their beauty is all of this kind (that is) without order. But I should hardly advise any of these attempts in the figure of gardens among us; they are adventures of too hard achievement for any common hands; and, though there may be more honour if they succeed well, yet there is more dishonour if they fail, and it is twenty to one they will; whereas, in regular figures, it is hard to make any great and remarkable faults. » (Sir W. Temple)
Source : Temple, Sir William (1685). « Upon the Gardens of Epicurus; or Of Gardening, in the Year 1685 ». (1690), p. 58; and also: introduction by Albert Forbes Sieveking, London : Chatto and Windus,1908.
Source : Augoyard, Jean-François et Torgue, Henry (1995). « À l'écoute de l'environnement sonore, Répertoire des effets sonores ». Marseille: Éditions Parenthèses.
Source : Augoyard, Jean-François et Torgue, Henry (1995). « Sonic Experience: A Guide to Everyday Sounds ». Mcgill-Queen's University Press.
Source : Marin, Louis (1976). « L'effet Sharawadji ou le jardin de Julie. Notes sur un jardin et sur un texte ». In Traverses, 5/6, 1976, pp. 114-131.
Urls : http://cec.concordia.ca/eContact/Ecology/Schryer.html (last visited ) http://www.epicurus.info/etexts/gardening.html (last visited )

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