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Music / Sound

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Music of the Hemispheres

Polyphony—the interweaving of simultaneous sounds—is a crucial aspect of music that has deep implications for how we understand the mind. In Polyphonic Minds, Peter Pesic examines the history and significance of “polyphonicity”—of “many-voicedness”—in human experience. Pesic presents the emergence of Western polyphony, its flowering, its horizons, and the perspective it offers on our own polyphonic brains.

Music in video games is often a sophisticated, complex composition that serves to engage the player, set the pace of play, and aid interactivity. Composers of video game music must master an array of specialized skills not taught in the conservatory, including the creation of linear loops, music chunks for horizontal resequencing, and compositional fragments for use within a generative framework.

The Vinyl LP in Midcentury America

The sleek hi-fi console in a well-appointed midcentury American living room might have had a stack of albums by musicians like Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, or Patti Page. It was just as likely to have had a selection of LPs from slightly different genres, with such titles as Cocktail Time, Music for a Chinese Dinner at Home, The Perfect Background Music for Your Home Movies, Honeymoon in Hawaii, Strings for a Space Age, or Cairo! The Music of Modern Egypt.

A Secret History of The Esoteric Underground

Based on hundreds of hours of interviews with members of the seminal music groups Coil, Current 93, and Nurse With Wound, England’s Hidden Reverse illuminates a shadowy but deeply influential underground scene.

Attuning to Voice in Media and the Arts

Moved by the Aboriginal understandings of songlines or dreaming tracks, Norie Neumark’s Voicetracks seeks to deepen an understanding of voice through listening to a variety of voicing/sound/voice projects from Australia, Europe and the United States. Not content with the often dry tone of academic writing, the author engages a “wayfaring” process that brings together theories of sound, animal, and posthumanist studies in order to change the ways we think about and act with the assemblages of living creatures, things, places, and histories around us.

The Improbable Life of Charlotte Moorman

The Juilliard-trained cellist Charlotte Moorman sat nude behind a cello of carved ice, performed while dangling from helium-filled balloons, and deployed an array of instruments on The Mike Douglas Show that included her cello, a whistle, a cap gun, a gong, and a belch. She did a striptease while playing Bach in Nam June Paik’s Sonata for Adults Only.

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.

Conversations on the Human Traces of Science, Technology, and Sound

Science and technology studies (STS) is a relatively young but influential field. Scholars from disciplines as diverse as urban studies, mobility studies, media studies, and body culture studies are engaging in a systematic dialogue with STS, seeking to enrich their own investigations. Within STS, the Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) theory has proved to be one of the most influential in its neighboring fields. Yet the literature has grown so large so quickly, it is difficult to get an overview of SCOT.

Transforming Science and Sound

At the end of the nineteenth century, acoustics was a science of musical sounds; the musically trained ear was the ultimate reference. Just a few decades into the twentieth century, acoustics had undergone a transformation from a scientific field based on the understanding of classical music to one guided by electrical engineering, with industrial and military applications. In this book, Roland Wittje traces this transition, from the late nineteenth-century work of Hermann Helmholtz to the militarized research of World War I and media technology in the 1930s.

How Interaction (with Music) Shapes Human Empowerment

The expressive moment is that point in time when we grasp a situation and respond quickly, even before we are aware of it. In this book, Marc Leman argues that expression drives this kind of interaction, and he proposes a general framework for understanding expressive interactions. He focuses on the dynamic, fast, and pre-reflective processes underlying our interactions with music—whether we are playing an instrument, dancing, listening, or using new interactive technologies.

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