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Shaping the Sounds of Popular Music

In the 1960s, rock and pop music recording questioned the convention that recordings should recreate the illusion of a concert hall setting. The Wall of Sound that Phil Spector built behind various artists and the intricate eclecticism of George Martin's recordings of the Beatles did not resemble live performancesin the Albert Hall or elsewherebut instead created a new sonic world. The role of the record producer, writes Virgil Moorefield in The Producer as Composer, was evolving from that of organizer to auteur; band members became actors in what Frank Zappa called a "movie for your ears." In rock and pop, in the absence of a notated score, the recorded version of a songcreated by the producer in collaboration with the musiciansbecame the definitive version. Moorefield, a musician and producer himself, traces this evolution with detailed discussions of works by producers and producer-musicians including Spector and Martin, Brian Eno, Bill Laswell, Trent Reznor, Quincy Jones, and the Chemical Brothers. Underlying the transformation, Moorefield writes, is technological development: new techniquestape editing, overdubbing, compressionand, in the last ten years, inexpensive digital recording equipment that allows artists to become their own producers. What began when rock and pop producers reinvented themselves in the 1960s has continued; Moorefield describes the importance of disco, hip-hop, remixing, and other forms of electronic music production in shaping the sound of contemporary pop. He discusses the making of Pet Sounds and the production of tracks by Public Enemy with equal discernment, drawing on his own years of studio experience. Much has been written about rock and pop in the last 35 years, but hardly any of it deals with what is actually heard in a given pop song. The Producer as Composer tries to unravel the mystery of good pop: why does it sound the way it does?

The Concept of Love in Their Operas

Music, language, and drama come together in opera to make a whole that conveys emotional reality. In this book, Irving Singer develops a new mode for understanding and experiencing the operas of Mozart and Beethoven, approaching them not as a musical technician but as a philosopher concerned with their expressive and mythic elements. Using the distinction between the sensuous and the passionate (formulated in Singer's earlier book The Goals of Human Sexuality) as framework for his discussion, Singer explores not only the treatment of love in these operas but also the emotional and intellectual orientation of these two great composers. Singer contrasts the cool sensuality of the Don in Mozart's Don Giovanni with Leonora's passionate love for her husband in Beethoven's Fidelio and compares the erotic playfulness of some of Mozart's letters with Beethoven's fervent (and unsent) letter to "the immortal beloved." Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, Così Fan Tutte, and The Magic Flute all express the conflict between the sensuous and the passionate, but it is only in The Magic Flute, says Singer, that this conflict is resolved. Beethoven, an admirer of The Magic Flute, emulated both its music and its ideology, and produced in Fidelio the greatest of all operas about married love.

Written while Singer was also at work on the three-volume The Nature of Love, Mozart and Beethoven can be read as a companion volume to this masterful trilogy and as a forerunner to his later work on philosophy in film.

With a new preface by the author

Experiencing Aural Architecture

We experience spaces not only by seeing but also by listening. We can navigate a room in the dark, and "hear" the emptiness of a house without furniture. Our experience of music in a concert hall depends on whether we sit in the front row or under the balcony. The unique acoustics of religious spaces acquire symbolic meaning. Social relationships are strongly influenced by the way that space changes sound. In Spaces Speak, Are You Listening?, Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter examine auditory spatial awareness: experiencing space by attentive listening. Every environment has an aural architecture.The audible attributes of physical space have always contributed to the fabric of human culture, as demonstrated by prehistoric multimedia cave paintings, classical Greek open-air theaters, Gothic cathedrals, acoustic geography of French villages, modern music reproduction, and virtual spaces in home theaters. Auditory spatial awareness is a prism that reveals a culture's attitudes toward hearing and space. Some listeners can learn to "see" objects with their ears, but even without training, we can all hear spatial geometry such as an open door or low ceiling.Integrating contributions from a wide range of disciplines--including architecture, music, acoustics, evolution, anthropology, cognitive psychology, audio engineering, and many others--Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? establishes the concepts and language of aural architecture. These concepts provide an interdisciplinary guide for anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of how space enhances our well-being. Aural architecture is not the exclusive domain of specialists. Accidentally or intentionally, we all function as aural architects.

The Sound of Malfunction

From the mid-twentieth century into the twenty-first, artists and musicians manipulated, cracked, and broke audio media technologies to produce novel sounds and performances. Artists and musicians, including John Cage, Nam June Paik, Yasunao Tone, and Oval, pulled apart both playback devices (phonographs and compact disc players) and the recorded media (vinyl records and compact discs) to create an extended sound palette. In Cracked Media, Caleb Kelly explores how the deliberate utilization of the normally undesirable (a crack, a break) has become the site of productive creation. Cracked media, Kelly writes, slides across disciplines, through music, sound, and noise. Cracked media encompasses everything from Cage's silences and indeterminacies, to Paik's often humorous tape works, to the cold and clean sounds of digital glitch in the work of Tone and Oval. Kelly offers a detailed historical account of these practices, arguing that they can be read as precursors to contemporary new media.

Kelly looks at the nature of recording technology and the music industry in relation to the crack and the break, and discusses the various manifestations of noise, concluding that neither theories of recording nor theories of noise offer an adequate framework for understanding cracked media. Connecting the historical avant-garde to modern-day turntablism, and predigital destructive techniques to the digital ticks, pops, and clicks of the glitch, Kelly proposes new media theorizations of cracked media that focus on materiality and the everyday.

Physicists, Musicians, and Instrument Makers in Nineteenth-Century Germany

Historically, music was long classified as both art and science. Aspects of music--from the mathematics of tuning to the music of the celestial spheres--were primarily studied as science until the seventeenth century. In the nineteenth century, although scientists were less interested in the music of the spheres than the natural philosophers of earlier centuries, they remained committed to understanding the world of performing musicians and their instruments. In Harmonious Triads, Myles Jackson analyzes the relationship of physicists, musicians, and instrument makers in nineteenth-century Germany. Musical instruments provided physicists with experimental systems, and physicists' research led directly to improvements in musical-instrument manufacture and assisted musicians in their performances. Music also provided scientists with a cultural resource, which forged acquaintances and future collaborations.Jackson discusses experiments in acoustical vibrations that led to the invention of musical instruments and describes work with adiabatic phenomena that resulted in the improvement of the reed pipe, used by organ builders. He examines the collaborations of physicists and mechanicians aimed at standardizing beat and pitch and considers debates stirred by the standardization of aesthetic qualities. He describes the importance for scientists of choral societies as a vehicle for social life and cultural unity. Finally, he discusses a subject that occupied both physicists and musicians of the era: Could physicists, using the universal principles of mechanics, explain musical skill? Was the virtuosity of a Paganini or a Liszt somehow quantifiable? Jackson's historical consideration of questions at the intersection of music and physics shows us how each discipline helped shape the other.

Sampling Digital Music and Culture
Edited by Paul D. Miller

If Rhythm Science was about the flow of things, Sound Unbound is about the remix—how music, art, and literature have blurred the lines between what an artist can do and what a composer can create. In Sound Unbound, Rhythm Science author Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid asks artists to describe their work and compositional strategies in their own words. These are reports from the front lines on the role of sound and digital media in an information-based society. The topics are as diverse as the contributors: composer Steve Reich offers a memoir of his life with technology, from tape loops to video opera; Miller himself considers sampling and civilization; novelist Jonathan Lethem writes about appropriation and plagiarism; science fiction writer Bruce Sterling looks at dead media; Ron Eglash examines racial signifiers in electrical engineering; media activist Naeem Mohaiemen explores the influence of Islam on hip hop; rapper Chuck D contributes “Three Pieces”; musician Brian Eno explores the sound and history of bells; Hans Ulrich Obrist and Philippe Parreno interview composer-conductor Pierre Boulez; and much more. “Press ‘play,’” Miller writes, “and this anthology says ‘here goes.’”

The groundbreaking mix CD that accompanies the book features Nam Jun Paik, the Dada Movement, John Cage, Sonic Youth, and many other examples of avant-garde music. Most of the CD’s content comes from the archives of Sub Rosa, a legendary record label that has been the benchmark for archival sounds since the beginnings of electronic music.

David Allenby, Pierre Boulez, Catherine Corman, Chuck D, Erik Davis, Scott De Lahunta, Manuel DeLanda, Cory Doctorow, Eveline Domnitch, Frances Dyson, Ron Eglash, Brian Eno, Dmitry Gelfand, Dick Hebdige, Lee Hirsch, Vijay Iyer, Ken Jordan, Douglas Kahn, Daphne Keller, Beryl Korot, Jaron Lanier, Joseph Lanza, Jonathan Lethem, Carlo McCormick, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid, Moby, Naeem Mohaiemen, Alondra Nelson, Keith and Mendi Obadike, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Pauline Oliveros, Philippe Parreno, Ibrahim Quaraishi, Steve Reich, Simon Reynolds, Scanner aka Robin Rimbaud, Nadine Robinson, Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), Alex Steinweiss, Bruce Sterling, Lucy Walker, Saul Williams, Jeff E. Winner

Music and the Psychology of Expectation

The psychological theory of expectation that David Huron proposes in Sweet Anticipation grew out of the author's experimental efforts to understand how music evokes emotions. These efforts evolved into a general theory of expectation that will prove informative to readers interested in cognitive science and evolutionary psychology as well as those interested in music. The book describes a set of psychological mechanisms and illustrates how these mechanisms work in the case of music. All examples of notated music can be heard on the Web.

Huron proposes that emotions evoked by expectation involve five functionally distinct response systems: reaction responses (which engage defensive reflexes); tension responses (where uncertainty leads to stress); prediction responses (which reward accurate prediction); imagination responses (which facilitate deferred gratification); and appraisal responses (which occur after conscious thought is engaged). For real-world events, these five response systems typically produce a complex mixture of feelings. The book identifies some of the aesthetic possibilities afforded by expectation, and shows how common musical devices (such as syncopation, cadence, meter, tonality, and climax) exploit the psychological opportunities. The theory also provides new insights into the physiological psychology of awe, laughter, and spine-tingling chills. Huron traces the psychology of expectations from the patterns of the physical/cultural world through imperfectly learned heuristics used to predict that world to the phenomenal qualia we experienced as we apprehend the world.

The art of sound organization, also known as electroacoustic music, uses sounds not available to traditional music making, including pre-recorded, synthesized, and processed sounds. The body of work of such sound-based music (which includes electroacoustic art music, turntable composition, computer games, and acoustic and digital sound installations) has developed more rapidly than its musicology. Understanding the Art of Sound Organization proposes the first general foundational framework for the study of the art of sound organization, defining terms, discussing relevant forms of music, categorizing works, and setting sound-based music in interdisciplinary contexts.

Leigh Landy's goal in this book is not only to create a theoretical framework but also to make sound-based music more accessible—to give a listener what he terms "something to hold on to," for example, by connecting elements in a work to everyday experience. Landy considers the difficulties of categorizing works and discusses such types of works as sonic art and electroacoustic music, pointing out where they overlap and how they are distinctive. He proposes a "sound-based music paradigm" that transcends such traditional categories as art and pop music. Landy defines patterns that suggest a general framework and places the study of sound-based music in interdisciplinary contexts, from acoustics to semiotics, proposing a holistic research approach that considers the interconnectedness of a given work's history, theory, technological aspects, and social impact.

The author's ElectroAcoustic Resource Site (EARS,, the architecture of which parallels this book's structure, offers updated bibliographic resource abstracts and related information.

Computing in Musicology 14

Early Western music and the art music of the non-Western world both lack highly specified, standardized systems of notation. A serious impediment to the systematic study of early and non-Western music arises when a repertory has no extensive notational system, or multiple, non-standardized ones. In different ways, these conditions pertain to medieval and Renaissance music in the West, and to the art music of Asia, which has traditionally depended on oral tradition rather than notation. Computers hold great potential for the analysis of early music repertories and for the study of music that lies outside the Western tradition. This volume of Computing in Musicology considers approaches to the computer representation, interchange, and analysis of music that predates Western European art music, lies outside the bounds of Western European art music, or both. It describes efforts to provide new tools that may make such work more practical in the future, and it brings fresh insights to the repertories themselves. Initial articles in this issue also treat current work on data interchange involving XML, since interchangeability remains an important ingredient of representational designs for all kinds of music.

Contributors come from the fields of musicology and ethnomusicology, audio and software engineering, and mathematics and computer science. They include Parag Chordia, Sachiko Deguchi, Annalisa Doneda, Michael Good, Christine Jeanneret, Arvindh Krishnaswamy, Panayotis Mavromatis, Laurent Pugin, Craig Stuart Sapp, Eleanor Selfridge-Field, Katsuhiko Shirai, Iman S. H. Suyoto, Alexandra L. Uitdenbogerd, and Joshua Veltman.

In this original and provocative study of computational creativity in music, David Cope asks whether computer programs can effectively model creativity—and whether computer programs themselves can create. Defining musical creativity, and distinguishing it from creativity in other arts, Cope presents a series of experimental models that illustrate salient features of musical creativity. He makes the case that musical creativity results from a process that he calls inductive association, and he contends that such a computational process can in fact produce music creatively. Drawing on the work of many other scholars and musicians—including Douglas Hofstadter, Margaret Boden, Selmer Bringsjord, and Kathleen Lennon—Cope departs from the views expressed by most with his contentions that computer programs can create and that those who do not believe this have probably defined creativity so narrowly that even humans could not be said to create.

After examining the foundations of creativity and musical creativity, Cope describes a number of possible models for computationally imitating human creativity in music. He discusses such issues as recombinance and pattern matching, allusions, learning, inference, analogy, musical hierarchy, and influence, and finds that these experimental models solve only selected aspects of creativity. He then describes a model that integrates these different aspects—an inductive-association computational process that can create music. Cope's writing style is lively and nontechnical; the reader needs neither knowledge of computer programming nor specialized computer hardware or software to follow the text.

The computer programs discussed in the text, along with MP3 versions of all the musical examples, are available at the author's website,, by clicking on the link to the left.

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