Thesis ID: CBB797125669

Oblique Music: American Tape Experimentalism and Peripheral Cultures of Technology, 1887 and 1950 (2019)

unapi

Pfender, Joseph William (Author)
Cohen, Brigid (Advisor)


New York University
Cohen, Brigid
Publication date: 2019
Language: English


Publication Date: 2019
Physical Details: 317

In the 70 years since its dissemination, magnetic tape has inspired a foundational turn in media studies, inspiring a poststructuralist reconception of representation. But magnetic tape itself was not as unprecedented as this framing conveys, and new styles of tape music composition that emerged in the late 1940s were in fact influenced by a much earlier culture of technology out of which tape emerged. This dissertation argues that early tape experimentalism in New York was influenced by late 19th-century cultures of science, technology, and religion. In their respective milieux, Gilded Age Spiritualists, Atomic Age cyberneticians, and avant-garde composers reckoned with secular empiricism’s drive to systematization in one of two ways, either articulating a new humanism by embracing a totalizing materialist cosmology, or retrenching to the individual as the site of aesthetic and psychological meanings. Oberlin Smith, the unsung inventor of magnetic sound recording, entertained an agnostic interest in Spiritualism’s radically materialist theology; defined as a “religion of proof,” Spiritualists had mythologized the machine to the point of divinity. Against the current musicological consensus, this project proposes that magnetic recording first emerged from industrializing American culture that was saturated with 19th-century Spiritualism, rather than an industrialized, German culture imbued with a 20th-century techno-ideology. This reframing renders open-ended tape experimentalist music, by American postwar composers Otto Luening, Vladimir Ussachevsky, and Louis and Bebe Barron, legible as a recapitulation of much older tensions between mystification and materiality, generating musical and logocentric intensities against magnetic tape’s affective flatness.

...More
Citation URI
data.isiscb.org/p/isis/citation/CBB797125669

This citation is part of the Isis database.

Similar Citations

Article Ash, Mitchell G.; (2008)
Wissenschaft und Musik -- Einführende Bemerkungen (/p/isis/citation/CBB000930023/) unapi

Article Schäfer, Armin; (2013)
The Audiovisual Field in Bruce Nauman's Videos (/p/isis/citation/CBB001320387/) unapi

Book Ivey, Paul Eli; (2013)
Radiance from Halcyon: A Utopian Experiment in Religion and Science (/p/isis/citation/CBB001320944/) unapi

Article Macías, Juan Manuel; (2010)
Buscando la verdad (/p/isis/citation/CBB001201533/) unapi

Book Teslow, Tracy; (2014)
Constructing Race: The Science of Bodies and Cultures in American Anthropology (/p/isis/citation/CBB001510128/) unapi

Article Manning, Peter; (2003)
The influence of recording technologies on the early development of electroacoustic music (/p/isis/citation/CBB001181289/) unapi

Article Braun, Hans-Joachim; Ungeheuer, Elena; (2008)
Formt die Technik die Musik? Montageästhetik zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts (/p/isis/citation/CBB000930030/) unapi

Article Katz, Mark; (2001)
Hindemith, toch, and grammophonmusik (/p/isis/citation/CBB001181262/) unapi

Article Katz, Mark; (1998)
Making America more musical through the phonograph, 1900--1930 (/p/isis/citation/CBB001181261/) unapi

Book Birdsall, Carolyn; (2012)
Nazi Soundscapes: Sound, Technology and Urban Space in Germany, 1933--1945 (/p/isis/citation/CBB001201426/) unapi

Article Maisonneuve, Sophie; (2001)
Between history and commodity: The production of a musical patrimony through the record in the 1920--1930s (/p/isis/citation/CBB001181288/) unapi

Article Jordan, Matthew F.; (2005)
Discophilie or Discomanie: The cultural politics of living-room listening (/p/isis/citation/CBB001181257/) unapi

Article Germana Pareti; (2019)
Physicians and Séances on the Road Towards the Spectacularization of Spiritualism (/p/isis/citation/CBB994583797/) unapi

Article Hui, Alexandra; Kursell, Julia; Jackson, Myles W.; (2013)
Music, Sound, and the Laboratory from 1750 to 1980 (/p/isis/citation/CBB001320380/) unapi

Article Hiebert, Elfrieda; (2013)
Listening to the Piano Pedal: Acoustics and Pedagogy in Late Nineteenth-Century Contexts (/p/isis/citation/CBB001320391/) unapi

Book Millard, A. J.; (1995)
America on record: A history of recorded sound (/p/isis/citation/CBB001180107/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Braun, Hans-Joachim
Hui, Alexandra
Katz, Mark
Ash, Mitchell G.
Birdsall, Carolyn
Hiebert, Elfrieda
Journals
Osiris: A Research Journal Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Abaco
American Music
French Cultural Studies
Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television
Publishers
Cambridge University Press
Amsterdam University Press
Sdu Uitgevers
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Minnesota Press
Verlag Karl Alber
Concepts
Music
Technology and music
Sound Recording Industry
Science and culture
Sound
Sound studies
People
Benedict, Ruth Fulton
Boas, Franz
Fechner, Gustav Theodor
Fielding, Henry
Gurdjieff, Ivanovich George
Helmholtz, Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
20th century
18th century
20th century, late
Places
United States
Germany
California (U.S.)
New York (U.S.)
France
Netherlands
Comments

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment