To the Editor:
Those who attended the Baba Maal concert last week can attest to the effectiveness of his mix of traditional African singing, drumming, and kora playing with the basic elements of hard-driving Western rock music. The dancing and stage actions in general were also highly entertaining. But I believe I was not alone in recoiling at the violently excessive decibel level of the concert. The transistor, enjoying its 50th anniversary this year, has tyrannized the music industry by making high-powered amplification something that every popular musician has simply "gotta have." Meanwhile, we in the audience sit cowering, wishing we could enjoy the music more, and wondering what to do about it. Yes, don't forget your earplugs when you go to a big-name rock concert. But what an irony. It is no secret that loud sounds are injurious to health-witness the common sight of earphones worn by all airport workers today. I believe it is time for us in the audience to stand up and demand that we not be affronted in this way any more, and it can be accomplished institutionally.
The fire marshall has established the safe number of occupants for a building. The nation has embraced the indoor smoking ban. We at Oberlin can be in the forefront of a move to combat the relatively new health hazard of audio-overload: we need a decibel-level regulation for amplified sound at Oberlin. Let's work on it.
Copyright © 1997, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 125, Number 14; February 14,1997
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