9_music - 21A.340J/STS.075J Technology and Culture...

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21A.340J/STS.075J Technology and Culture Professor Stefan Helmreich Lecture 9: Our Machines, Our Music: From White Noise to Black Noise THEME 2: COMPUTERS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES Our Machines, Our Music: From White Noise to Black Noise Pinch, Trevor and Frank Trocco. 2002. Introduction: Sculpting Sound, Chapter 1: Subterranean Homesick Blues, Chapter 3: Shaping the Synthesizer. In Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, (pp. 1-31, 53-69). “A synthesizer assembled parts of sound into a complete sound” (p. 67). What goes into this assembly? Pinch and Trocco argue that ideas about what counts as a proper musical instrument are part of it. How? Keyboard: makes it look like you’re playing music! HISTORY OF MUSIC Technophallus guitar. Machismo. HISTORY OF GENDER Rose, Tricia. 1994. Soul Sonic Forces: Technology, Orality, and Black Cultural Practice in Rap Music. In Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America. Hanover, MA: Wesleyan University Press, (pp. 62-96). Asks us to think about the question: “What is the point of rap’s volume, looped drum beats, and bass frequencies?” in terms of technology and sociology . Connected to traditions that highlight rhythm over melody: “the complexity of rap music, like many Afrodiasporic musics, is in the rhythmic and percussive density and organization” (p. 65). break beats But there are new things here as well. Rap artists have appropriated recording studio technology — SAMPLING in particular — for purposes other than those for which it
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9_music - 21A.340J/STS.075J Technology and Culture...

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