Thor Magnusson: Sonic Writing: Technologies of Material, Symbolic, and Signal Inscriptions (2019)

16 September 2019, dusan

Sonic Writing explores how contemporary music technologies trace their ancestry to previous forms of instruments and media. Studying the domains of instrument design, musical notation, and sound recording under the rubrics of material, symbolic, and signal inscriptions of sound, the book describes how these historical techniques of sonic writing are implemented in new digital music technologies. With a scope ranging from ancient Greek music theory, medieval notation, early modern scientific instrumentation to contemporary multimedia and artificial intelligence, it provides a theoretical grounding for further study and development of technologies of musical expression. The book draws a bespoke affinity and similarity between current musical practices and those from before the advent of notation and recording, stressing the importance of instrument design in the study of new music and projecting how new computational technologies, including machine learning, will transform our musical practices.

Sonic Writing offers a richly illustrated study of contemporary musical media, where interactivity, artificial intelligence, and networked devices disclose new possibilities for musical expression. Thor Magnusson provides a conceptual framework for the creation and analysis of this new musical work, arguing that contemporary sonic writing becomes a new form of material and symbolic design–one that is bound to be ephemeral, a system of fluid objects where technologies are continually redesigned in a fast cycle of innovation.”

Publisher Bloomsbury Academic, New York & London, 2019
ISBN 9781501313851, 1501313851
xiv+290 pages

Reviews: Gregory Taylor (Cycling ’74, 2019), Diana Chester (Interference, 2019).

Author’s research blog
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WorldCat

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Douglas Kahn, Gregory Whitehead (eds.): Wireless Imagination: Sound, Radio, and the Avant-Garde (1992)

13 November 2017, dusan

Wireless Imagination addresses perhaps the most conspicuous silence in contemporary theory and art criticism, the silence that surrounds the polyphonous histories of audio art. Composed of both original essays and several newly translated documents, this book provides a close audition to some of the most telling and soundful moments in the ‘deaf century,’ conceived and performed by such artists as Raymond Roussel, Antonin Artaud, Marcel Duchamp, André Breton, John Cage, Hugo Ball, Kurt Weill, and William Burroughs.

From the late nineteenth century to the 1960s, the essays uncover the fantastic acoustic scenarios projected through the writings of Raymond Roussel; the aural objects of Marcel Duchamp; Dziga Vertov’s proposal for a phonographic ‘laboratory of hearing’; the ZAUM language and Radio Sorcery conjured by Velimir Khlebnikov; the iconoclastic castaways of F.T. Marinetti’s La Radia; the destroyed musics of the Surrealists; the noise bands of Russolo, Foregger, Varèse, and Cage; the contorted radio talk show delivered by Antonin Artaud; the labyrinthine inner journeys invoked by German Hörspiel; and the razor contamination and cut-up ventriloquism of William S. Burroughs.”

With essays by Douglas Kahn, Charles Grivel, Craig Adcock, Christopher Schiff, Mel Gordon, Gregory Whitehead, Allen S. Weiss, Mark E. Cory, Frances Dyson, and Robin Lydenberg.

Publisher MIT Press, 1992
ISBN 0262111683, 9780262111683
xi+452 pages

Reviews: Timothy Dean Taylor (Postmodern Cult, 1993), David L. Austin (Art Doc, 1993), Gerald Hartnett (Leonardo Music J, 1994), Stephen Miles (Notes, 1994), Ágnes Ivacs (Artpool, n.d.).

Publisher
WorldCat

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Trevor Pinch, Karin Bijsterveld (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies (2011)

18 July 2014, dusan

“Written by the leading scholars and researchers in the emerging field of sound studies, The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies offers new and fully engaging perspectives on the significance of sound in its material and cultural forms. The book considers sounds and music as experienced in such diverse settings as shop floors, laboratories, clinics, design studios, homes, and clubs, across an impressively broad range of historical periods and national and cultural contexts.

Science has traditionally been understood as a visual matter, a study which has historically been undertaken with optical technologies such as slides, graphs, and telescopes. This book questions that notion powerfully by showing how listening has contributed to scientific practice. Sounds have always been a part of human experience, shaping and transforming the world in which we live in ways that often go unnoticed. Sounds and music, the authors argue, are embedded in the fabric of everyday life, art, commerce, and politics in ways which impact our perception of the world. Through an extraordinarily diverse set of case studies, authors illustrate how sounds — from the sounds of industrialization, to the sounds of automobiles, to sounds in underwater music and hip-hop, to the sounds of nanotechnology — give rise to new forms listening practices. In addition, the book discusses the rise of new public problems such as noise pollution, hearing loss, and the “end” of the amateur musician that stem from the spread and appropriation of new sound- and music-related technologies, analog and digital, in many domains of life.”

Publisher Oxford University Press, 2011
ISBN 0199995818, 9780195388947
624 pages

Reviews: John F. Barber (Leonardo, 2012), Bruce Johnson (Popular Music, 2013), William Cheng (Journal of the American Musicological Society, 2014).

Companion website
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