By Victoria Diaz,2014-07-08 11:18
13 views 0


    S&TS 409 From the Phonograph to Techno

    Professor Trevor Pinch, Rockefeller Hall 309

    There is currently much interest in sociology of music, ethnomusicology, gender studies, and in S&TS concerning the role of technology in music. Major technologies such as the record player, formerly known as the phonograph, have transformed the way in which music is produced and listened to. Indeed the way music is made and listened to is constantly changing with new technologies. Musical instruments themselves can be thought of as technologies. The mass production of pianos enabled them to become a staple object in many Victorian homes. The player piano also became a mass consumption technology at the beginning of the twentieth century. Today the effect of technology on music is even more dramatic. Advance sin music recording such as multi-track recording have turned the recording studio into a form of musical instrument in its own right. The internet coupled with file compression algorithms such as MP3 and software for turning laptops into recording studios are currently transforming the way in which music is produced and listened. I-Pods and cell phones present further new technologically mediated ways to listen to music. Music itself is changing with the possibility of manipulation of pure sounds which started with the synthesizer and the endless of possibilities of remixing and sampling produced by new digital technologies.

    In the course we will trace some of these technological transformations and attempt to understand them within a broader socio-cultural and historical context. There are too many technologies to cover them all, but we will look at major technologies such as the phonograph, the synthesizer the sampler, the internet and the electric guitar and the way that music making has changed with these technologies

    This course will meet as a weekly seminar. As well as reading the material listed below we will listen to music and watch the occasional video. Assessment will be a term paper which can consist of research into a particular arena of sound/music and its connection to technology.


There is one book you need to buy:

    Mark Katz, Capturing Sound: How Technology has Changed Music, University of California Press,

    2005 (CD included with book).

    Available from the Campus Store

    All other reading is included in the Course Reader, available from the Campus Store.

(1) Introduction

    Hans-Joachim Braun, "Introduction: Technology and the Production and Reproduction of Music in the 20th Century", in Hans-Joachim Braun (ed.) Music and Technology in the Twentieth Century,

    Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002, pp. 9-32.

    Mark Katz, “Causes”, Capturing Sound, pp 8-47


    (2) The Phonograph

Mark Katz, “Making America More Musical”, “Aesthetics out of Exigency, Violin Vibrato and the

    New Phonograph”, Capturing Sound, pp 48-71, 85-113.

    Jonathan Sterne, “The Social Genesis of Sound Fidelity”, in The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction, Duke University Press, 2003, pp 215-286.

(3) Magnetic Tape and Tape Recording

    Andre Millard, “Tape Recording and Music Making”, in Hans-Joachim Braun (ed.) Music and Technology in the Twentieth Century, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002, 170-179.

    Matthew Malsky, “Stretched from Manhattan‟s Back Alley to MOMA: A Social History of Magnetic Tape and Recording”, in Rene Lysloff and Leslie Gay, Jr. (eds) Music and Technoculture,

    Wesleyan University Press, 2003, pp.233-263

     (4) The Recording Studio and Recording Engineers

    Geoff Emerick, “It‟s Wonderful to be Here, It‟s Certainly a Thrill: Sgt. Pepper Begins”, and “A Masterpiece Takes Shape: The Pepper Concept”, Chapters 8 and 9 of Here There and Everywhere:

    My Life Recording the Beatles, pp 133-164, 165-192.

    Susan Schmidt Horning, “Engineering the Performance: Recording Engineers, Tacit Knowledge and the Art of Controlling Sound”, Social Studies of Science, 34, 2004, pp. 703-731.

We will listen to Sergeant Pepper by the Beatles.

    We will watch the video, TOM DOWD & THE LANGUAGE OF MUSIC which (according to “profiles the extraordinary life and legendary work of music producer / recording engineer Tom Dowd. Historical footage, vintage photographs and interviews with a who's who list of musical giants from the worlds of jazz, soul and classic rock shine a spotlight on the brilliance of Tom Dowd, whose creative spirit and passion for innovative technology helped shape the course of modern music. Tom Dowd's credits include recording sessions with Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Otis Redding, John Coltrane, The Allman Brothers Band, Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Cream, Rod Stewart, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Booker T. & the MG's and countless other musical luminaries. Includes Music & Interviews with Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin, The Allman Brothers Band, Les Paul, Otis Redding, Thelonious Monk, Booker T. & the MG's & many more!

(5) The Electric Guitar

Andre Millard, “Inventing the Electric Guitar,” in Andre Millard (ed.) The Electric Guitar: A

    History of an American Icon, Smithsonian Institution, 2004, pp. 41-62.

    Susan Schmidt-Horning, „Recording: the search for sound” in Andre Millard (ed.) The Electric

    Guitar: A History of an American Icon, Smithsonian Institution, 2004, pp. 105-122.


    Andre Millard, “The Guitar Hero,” in Andre Millard (ed.) The Electric Guitar: A History of an American Icon, Smithsonian Institution, 2004, pp. 143-162.

    Steve Waksman, “California Noise” Tinkering with Hardcore and Heavy Metal in SouthernCalifornia”, Social Studies of Science, 34, 2004, pp. 675-702.

    Mavis Bayton, “Women and the Electric Guitar”, in Sheila Whitley (ed).) Sexing the Groove,

    Routledge, pp.37-49.

(6) Electronic Instruments:

     (a)The Theremin

Albert Glinsky, “A Theremin in Every Home” and “In the Vanguard: Perfume, Sci-Fi, and

    Hobbyists”, Chapter 4 and Chapter 12 of Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage, University of

    Illinois Press, 2000, pp 92-128, 175-297.

We will watch the video, THEREMIN which (according to is “a documentary

    about the amazing life of Leon Theremin, inventor of the theremin, the electronic musical instrument so beloved of 50s sci-fi movie music. Theremin amazed America with his instrument until his kidnapping by Soviet agents in the mid-30s. Upon his release from a labor camp, he worked on surveillance devices for the KGB. Almost 60 years later , he is brought back to America for a touching reunion with his friends and colleagues.

     (7) Electronic Instruments:

     (b)The Synthesizer

    Trevor Pinch, and Frank Trocco. “Introduction: Sculpting Sound,” “Shaping the Synthesizer,” and “Conclusion: Performance,” Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the MoogSynthesizer, pp

    1-11, 53-69, 302-324. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002.

We will watch the video MOOG which (according to The advent of the

    synthesizer is one of those rarest of moments in our musical culture, when something genuinely new comes into being. An invention that touches nearly every aspect of musical expression, production and sound design. Bob Moog (b. 1934) is the best known of the early synthesizer pioneers. He is responsible for some of the most inspiring electronic musical instruments ever created. Along with such influential figures as Leon Theremin, Raymond Scott, Don Buchla, Thaddeus Cahill, Harald Bode and Hugh LeCaine, Moog has not only made prodigious contributions to modern music and culture, but he has become a character within an unfolding "American maverick inventor" mythology. This is the central narrative of our documentary. Moog certainly walks and talks the "mad scientist" part, complete with the fly-aay silver hair, intense eyes and a head full of stories. In fact, musicians and collectors have developed such deep emotional connections with Moog's inventions that he has become a cult hero in some circles. This film project does not set out to document the extensive and muddy history of electronic music technology any more than is necessary to provide the context for Bob Moog as a character within a mythology that we wish to explore, and even


    enhance, but ultimately keep intact. Tracking this history in Moog's own words, we will interact with him in upstate New York where it all began, and in his present workshop and home in rural North Carolina, on his regular travels across the U.S., and beyond. Dr. Moog has graciously agreed to give the filmmakers unprecedented access to his world. In addition, a supporting cast that includes Don Buchla, Jim Scott, Tom Rhea and Andrew Rudin will enter the picture briefly, in conversation with Moog, bringing out different stories and different sides of our man. Original music produced on Moog instruments, old films and photographs borrowed from dusty private collections, and additional discoveries will round out this stylized, wonderfully strange story of a true American maverick.

     (8) Digital Music

    Paul Théberge, . “The New „Sound‟ of Music:Technology and Changing Concepts of Music, Any Sound You Can Imagine: Making Music/Consuming Technology, pp 186-213. Hanover: Wesleyan

    University Press, 1997.

    Marc Katz , “Listening in Cyberspace,” Capturing Sound, pp. 158-191.

(9) Music in Everyday Life

(9) Race and Music

    Tricia Rose, Soul Sonic Forces: Technology, Orality, and Black Cultural; Practice in Rap Music,” in Black Noise, Chapter 3, pp 62-97.

    Louis Meintjes, “Reaching „Overseas‟: South African Sound Engineers, Technology and Tradition”, in Paul D. Greene and Thomas Porcello (eds) Wired for Sound: Engineering and Technologies in Sonic Cultures, Wesleyan University Press, 2005, 23-46.

    Steve Waksman, “Black Sound, Black Body: Jimi Hendrix, the Electric Guitar, and the Meanings of Blackness”, Chapter 5, Instruments of Desire: The Electric Guitar and the Shaping of Musical Experience, Harvard University Press, 2001, pp. 167-206.

(10) Contest and Control in Sound Spaces

    Karin Bijsterveld, “The Diabolical Symphony of the Mechanical Age: Technology and Symbolism of Sound in European and North American Noise Abatement Campaigns, 1900-40,” The Auditory

    Culture Reader, edited by Michael Bull and Les Back, 165-189. New York: Berg, 2003. Alexander Weheliye, “Consuming Sonic Technologies,” Phonographies: Grooves in Sonic

    Afro-Modernity, pp106-144. Durham: Duke University Press, 2005

    Michael Bull, “No Dead Air! The iPod and the Culture of Mobile Listening.” Leisure Studies, 24,

    no. 4 (2005): 343-55.

     (11) Audiophiles


    Joseph O'Connell, "The Fine-Tuning of a Golden Ear: High-End Audio and the Evolutionary Model

    of Technology", Technology and Culture 33, pp 1-37.

    Marc Perlman, "The Culture of Audiophilia", unpublished paper, The Society for the Humanities.

(12) Rap

Tricia Rose, Black Noise : Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America, Wesleyan

    University Press, 1994.

(13) Rave, Techno and Dance Music

Chapter on Goa-Trance Music in Timothy Taylor, Strange Sounds: Music Technology and Culture,

    (Routledge 2001 - forthcoming)

    Sarah Thornton, Club Cultures: Music Media and Subcultural Capital (Hanover and London:

    Wesleyan University Press, 1996).

We will watch the movie Modulations about the current E-Dance explosion.

Hans-Joachim Braun (ed.) 'I Sing the Body Electric': Music and Technology in the Twentieth

    Century, (Wolke Verlag 2000, forthcoming with Rutgers University Press). Paul Theberge, Any Sound You Can Imagine: Making Music/Consuming Technology, (Wesleyan

    University Press, 1997)

    Steve Waksman, Instruments of Desire: The Electric Guitar and the Shaping of Musical Experience,

    Harvard University Press, 1999)

    Trevor Pinch and Frank Trocco, Analog Days: the Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer,

    Harvard University Press

    Tia DeNora, Music in Everyday Life, (Cambridge University Press, 2000)

(5) The Telharmonium

Reynold Wiedenaar, Magic Music from the Telharmonium, Scarecrow Press, 1995.

    We will also watch a short video about the Telharmonium.

Rebecca McSwain, "The Social Reconstruction of a Reverse Salient in Electric Guitar Technology:

    Noise, Humbuckers and Jimi Hendrix", in Hans-Joachim Braun, pp.198-210. Steve Waksman, Instruments of Desire: The Electric Guitar and the Shaping of Musical Experience.

    Susan Schmidt-Horning, „Recording: the search for sound” in Andre Millard (ed.) The Electric

    Guitar: A History of an American Icon, Smithsonian Institution, 2004, pp. 105-122.

Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email