This article focuses on attunement as a concept that intervenes in the question of how we learn to act ethically in the face of radical alterity. I use Jacques Derrida's concept of a “contraband” tonality and Gilles Deleuze's discussion of “haptic” tone to argue that tonality resonates with dimensions of affect and desire that cannot be accommodated through familiar interpretive acts of listening, hearing, and seeing. Because we are unable to fully understand and account for the tonality of others, the article suggests, we need to approach attunement as a disposition or ethos that prolongs our engagement with the alterity of others' marks and noises. Repositioned as living practice, attunement can redefine ethical action by drawing attention to the material, physical, and emotional challenges of preserving what Diane Davis calls a “radically hospitable opening to alterity.”

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