Sounding Composition demonstrates that sound surrounds us, but the book also, perhaps more importantly, equips us with techniques for cultivating sensibilities for listening, producing, teaching, relating, and composing new sonic realities. Ceraso has offered rhetoric, sound studies, and those interested in multimodal pedagogy a project that will resonate for a very long time.
In Sounding Composition Steph Ceraso reimagines listening education to account for twenty-first century sonic practices and experiences. Sonic technologies such as audio editing platforms and music software allow students to control sound in ways that were not always possible for the average listener. While digital technologies have presented new opportunities for teaching listening in relation to composing, they also have resulted in a limited understanding of how sound works in the world at large. Ceraso offers an expansive approach to sonic pedagogy through the concept of multimodal listening—a practice that involves developing an awareness of how sound shapes and is shaped by different contexts, material objects, and bodily, multisensory experiences. Through a mix of case studies and pedagogical materials, she demonstrates how multimodal listening enables students to become more savvy consumers and producers of sound in relation to composing digital media, and in their everyday lives.
In a context where multimodal composition has become central to college writing instruction, Ceraso offers evidence to make the case for multimodal listening pedagogy as a useful term in composition studies 'that moves away from ear-centric approaches to sonic engagement and instead treats sonic experience as holistic and immersive.' This book offers a compelling range of embodied engagements, sonic rhetorical theory, and timely practices for implementing multimodal listening pedagogies.
Ceraso's book is largely the first to look directly into the deep territorial expanses of both sound studies and rhet/comp, which in themselves are more of a set of lenses for ever-expanding knowledges than deeply codified practices, and she dares to bring them together, rather than just talking about it. This alone is an act of academic bravery, and it works well. . . . nothing short of groundbreaking. . . . a multivalent, ambitious work informs the discipline on many fronts. Rigorous scholarship and carefully considered writing.
[T]his book is a unique resource that offers an expansive approach to digital media studies and production from the vantage point of sound. . . . By bridging overlapping research interests and theoretical approaches between the disciplines, this book works as a unifying agent for scholars who may not otherwise have the chance to share important discussions about sound. After all, as Ceraso argues, sound should be an interdisciplinary object of study.