Studio 15: Music, Technology and Culture

Studio Outline

Music, Technology and Culture is a large (triple) dissertation studio (for 48-50 students), designed nominally for the students of the BSc Music Technology and BSc Musical Instruments courses, and also for others interested in music and associated visual arts, technologies of music, and their relationship to and place in culture.

The studio is not identified with one individual; it pools the complementary expertise and enthusiasms of three supervisors who, between them, encompass a wide range of music- and sound-related disciplines and modes of work.

Several themes are proposed.  After the first two weeks, in which individual topics proposed will be considered and discussed, you will be clustered into groups, broadly according to theme and mode of work.  Shared or closely parallel activities might include, for example: laboratory experimentation, field recording trips, site visits, archive visits, and training in particular methods and techniques.

Indicative themes and groupings

The suggested themes and topic areas below are indicative and not necessarily finite or exhaustive:

  • Musical instrument design: form, acoustics and ergonomics
  • Audio user interfaces: usability and ergonomics
  • Quantitative methods: capturing and analysing data
  • Music, time and place
  • Soundscapes of the air and mind
  • Sound and sustainability
  • Sound and vision
  • Psychologies of sound and music
  • Music, performance and identity
  • Musical instrument histories: technical, social, cultural and political
  • The creation and dissemination of music in the digital era

First seven weeks of study

  • Week 0: Short introduction to the Music, Technology and Culture studio, 4.30-5.00 pm on Thursday 25 September, in room CEG-17
  • Week 1: Confirmation of studio choice; introduction to the Music, Technology and Culture studio: outline of opportunities and programme of work; towards choosing a topic 
  • Week 2-3: Topics and clusters; making a Dissertation Plan(to be submitted at the end of week 5); mapping the field: conducting a source review
  • Weeks 4-5: developing and refining a dissertation plan; formation of clusters and planning programmes of work
  • Weeks 6-7: seminar work in clusters (arrangements to be confirmed)

Reading List

1. Georgina Born, Music, Sound and Space: Transformations of Public and Private Experience (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013)
2. Georgina Born, ‘Music: Ontology, Agency and Creativity’. In Distributed Objects: Meaning and Matter after Alfred Gell, ed. Liana Chua and Mark Elliott (Oxford: Berg 2013)
3. Georgina Born, ‘Social Forms and Relational Ontologies in Digital Music’. In Bodily Expression in Electronic Music: Perspectives on Reclaiming Performativity, ed. Deniz Peters et al. London: Routledge, 2012
4. Martin Clayton et al. (ed.), The Cultural Study of Music: A Critical Introduction, 2nd ed.) (London: Routledge, 2012)
5. Susal Hallam, Ian Cross and Michael Thaut (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009)
6. Tim Ingold, Making: Anthropology, Archaeology, Art and Architecture (London: Routledge, 2013)
7. Brandon Labelle, Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art (New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006)
8. Leigh Landy, Understanding the Arty of Sound Organization (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2007)
9. Paul Theberge, Any Sound you can Imagine: Making Music / Consuming Technology (Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press, 1997).