Steph Ceraso


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Published August 2018. Available to order.



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.

"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." 

—Casey Boyle, University of Texas

"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." 

—Mary E. Hocks, Georgia State University


Introduction: Toward Expansive Listening and Sonic Composing Practices

1. Sounding Out Rhetoric and Composition and Sound Studies: Resonances, Perturbations, Provocations

2. Sounding Bodies, Composing Experience: (Re)Educating the Senses

Reverberation: "My Listening Body"

3. Sounding Space, Designing Experience: The Ecological Practice of Sonic Composition

Reverberation: "Mapping Sound"

4. Sounding Cars, Selling Experience: Sound Design in Consumer Products

Reverberation: "Sonic Objects"

Conclusion: Multimodal Listening Pedagogy and the Future of Sonic Education



SO! Reads: Steph Ceraso’s Sounding Composition: Multimodal Pedagogy for Embodied Listening.” Reviewed by Airek Beauchamp. Sounding Out! May 20, 2019.