Sound Exchange


Sounding Out posted a review of David Novak’s Japanoise. The comments regarding the networks of music/sound circulation were quite interesting. Seth Mulliken writes about how Japanoise develops a theory of “feedback” in which the “transnational circulation of materials, ideas, and expressions constitutes a culture itself, one that is not distinct from either the Japanese or the U.S. manifestations of Noise music (17). This a welcome contribution to compositional and intersectional perspectives on cultural exchange.”

Computational ethnomusicology

RILM features computational ethnomusicology!


Block diagram

The June 2013 issue of Journal of new music research (XLII/2) is a special issue devoted to computational ethnomusicology.

The editors, Emilia Gómez, Perfecto Herrera, and Francisco Gómez-Martin, explain that the term computational ethnomusicology is over 30 years old, but it has recently been redefined as “the design, development, and usage of computer tools that have the potential to assist in ethnomusicological research.”

Above, a diagram of the Tarsos platform from “Tarsos, a modular platform for precise pitch analysis of Western and non-Western music” by Joren Six, Olmo Cornelis, and Marc Leman (pp. 113–29). Below, a vintage computer cover of The house of the rising sun.

View original post

World Listening Day

To celebrate the practice of listening as it relates to the world around us.

Don’t miss World Listening Day 2013! It’s happening now, can you hear it?

The purposes of World Listening Day, according to the World Listening Project, are:

  • to celebrate the practice of listening as it relates to the world around us, environmental awareness, and acoustic ecology;
  • to raise awareness about issues related to the World Soundscape Project, World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, World Listening Project, and individual and group efforts to creatively explore phonography;
  • and to design and implement educational initiatives which explore these concepts and practices.

World Listening Day is co-organized by the World Listening Project (WLP) and the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology (MSAE).

Listening to Material Culture

Tomorrow, 18 July, is World Listening Day 2013. The sound studies blog is hosting a forum on listening in honor of the occasion, which has produced a series of excellent posts. Most recent is a lovely post on how listening can open up introspective spaces in the writing classroom. In addition to many insightful ideas for reflective assignments that stem from listening exercises, the section on sonic material culture offers resounding examples of the cultural organology thesis:

one student’s love of all things vintage led her to her father’s manual typewriter and an essay combining family history and larger insights about education, workplaces, and mechanical writing. In each of these cases, the students realized that the sounds cannot be extricated from the material, social, and historical conditions that produce them.

—from the post “A Listening Mind: Sound Learning in a Literature Classroom” by Nicole Furlonge at Sounding Out!

Recent Tweets and an Exotic Dance, or, The Joy of Archiving

Two January entries from my tweet diaries.

The first is about professional identity:

The second was a response to one of my tweets by the guru of archives social networking, Kate Theimer (@archivesnext):

The original tweet

was in regards to the Folkways album “Exotic Dances,” which you can view in its scanned glory (newly available via the beautiful new Smithsonian Collections Search Center) below:

Exotic Dances (FP 52/FW 8752, 1950) selected by La Meri

For the Birds

I found my ARSC newsletter in the post when I arrived home this evening. I was quite taken with the illustration on back, RAAF pilot Eric Douglas playing a record for Adelie penguins in Antarctica, January 1931:

Pilot Officer Eric Douglas playing music for unappreciative Adelie penguins, January 1931

The photo was taken by Frank Hurley during the British, Australian and New Zealand Research Expedition (BANZARE) of 1929–1931, an “acquisitive” expedition with the purpose of claiming extensive areas of the Antarctic for the British Commonwealth.

I enjoyed the photo’s playful tenor. Though the caption suggests “unappreciative” penguins (how would appreciative ones look?), the one reproduced in the newsletter shows one looking directly at the phonograph with what might be interpreted as an inquisitive gesture (then again, how would an inquisitive penguin look?). Perhaps somewhere in the National Library of Australia there is documentation as to what Douglas was playing for the penguins!

More photos are at the exhibit page, including a feature on albatrosses. More materials, including photographs and documents from the BANZARE expedition, can be searched online at the National Archives of Australia.