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This title in other editions

Listening Through the Noise: The Aesthetics of Experimental Electronic Music


Listening Through the Noise: The Aesthetics of Experimental Electronic Music Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Electronic music since 1980 has splintered into a dizzying assortment of genres and subgenres, communities and subcultures. Given the ideological differences among academic, popular, and avant-garde electronic musicians, is it possible to derive an aesthetic theory that accounts for this variety? And is there even a place for aesthetics in twenty-first-century culture? This book explores genres ranging from techno to electroacoustic music, from glitch to drone music, and from dub to drones, and maintains that culturally and historically informed aesthetic theory is not only possible but indispensable for understanding electronic music.

The abilities of electronic music to use preexisting sounds and to create new sounds are widely known. This book proceeds from this starting point to consider how electronic music changes the way we listen not only to music, but to sound itself. The common trait in recent experimental electronic music is a concern with whether sound, in itself, bears meaning. The use of previously undesirable materials like noise, field recordings, and extremely quiet sounds has contributed to electronic music's destruction of the "musical frame", the conventions that used to set apart music from the outside world. In the void created by the disappearance of the musical frame, different philosophies for listening have emerged. Some electronic music genres insist upon the inscrutability and abstraction of sound. Others maintain that sound functions as a sign pointing to concepts or places beyond the work. But all share an approach towards listening that departs fundamentally from the expectations that have governed music listening in the West for the previous five centuries.

Book News Annotation:

Since its humble underground beginnings in the 1980s, electronic music has blossomed and boasts a thriving plethora of sub-genres, thousands of recordings, and a huge fan base. Past studies of electronic music have focused on its history and its sociological and ethnological presence in the music world. This study by Demers (Musicology at the U. of Southern California) presents an analysis of the genre and its variety based on aesthetic theory. In electronic music the employment of sounds previously considered non-musical such as noise and field recordings has, in only a few decades, radically changed the way we have been listening to music for centuries. This fascinating study will be of interest to those studying musicology as well as anyone directly involved in the world of electronic music. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

About the Author

Joanna Demers writes on aesthetics, technology, and intellectual property in post-1945 music. She is Associate Professor of Musicology at the University of Southern California.

Table of Contents



Part One: Sign

Chapter One: Listening to Signs in Post-Schaefferian Electroacoustic music

Chapter Two: Material As Sign In Electronica

Part Two: Object

Chapter Three: Minimal Objects In Microsound

Chapter Four: Maximal Objects in Drone Music, Dub Techno, and Noise

Part Three: Situation

Chapter Five: Site in Ambient, Soundscape, and Field Recordings

Chapter Six: Genre, Experimentalism, and the Musical Frame






Product Details

Demers, Joanna
Oxford University Press, USA
DeMers, Joanna
null, Joanna
Electronic & Computer
Music | Music History, Western | Contemporary
Music-Folk Instruments
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
6.100 x 9.100 in 0.706 lb

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Electronic
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Instruction and Study » Music Appreciation
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Instruments » General
Humanities » Philosophy » Aesthetics
Humanities » Philosophy » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

Listening Through the Noise: The Aesthetics of Experimental Electronic Music New Trade Paper
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