Mark Katz
(UNC, Chapel Hill)
“The Second Digital Revolution in Music”
This paper will explore the profound influence of digital technologies on the creation, dissemination, reception, and consumption of music. In three case studies I will consider the impact of digital turntables on the performative art of the hip-hop DJ, the phenomenon of the digital mash-up and its consequences for musical composition, and the influence of MP3 blogs and social networking sites such as MySpace on listening habits and the music business. To conclude I will contextualize these case studies within an emerging field of scholarly inquiry, what might be called Music and Technology Studies.
(Mark Katz (Assistant Professor) holds degrees from the College of William and Mary (B.A. in philosophy, 1992) and the University of Michigan (M.A., Ph.D. in musicology, 1999). Before joining the faculty at UNC, he taught at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University (1999-2006). His research and teaching focus on music and technology, popular music, and performance practice.)

Pauline Stakelon
(UC, Santa Barbara)
“Constructing Sound Fidelity: Transformations in Acoustic and Digital Cylinder Recording Sounds”
Cylinders recordings as an early form of reproducible sound media were first used in 1877 and continued to be produced commercially up until 1929 by Edison. The many cylinders that exist today in various states of decomposition have become objects of concern for those with an interest in historical sound recordings. With this concern leading to preservation efforts converting cylinder sounds in digital form, what happens to media objects of the past when they become objects of the present? Moreover, how should a cylinder sound and with the transformative potential for digital manipulation readily available, how should a digital file of a cylinder record sound?

In an age where these digital technologies have been hailed as a means of freeing content from the object, concerns over the authenticity of a genuine sound frequently arise for media archivists. In my research, I discuss the production process of both cylinder recordings and their digital conversions, revealing how fidelity never actually existed in the production process. I examine UCSB’s own Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project as a means of revealing what is valued during the conversion process of a historical object to a sound file. By describing how the cylinders are imbued with meaning through the concerns of cylinder manufactures, archivists, internet users and phonograph collectors, I prove that processes concerned with the objectification of sound are presently motivated not solely by technological innovation, but by specific social and technological desires motivated by nostalgia for an imagined sound fidelity.
(Pauline Stakelon is a second year Ph.D. student in UCSB's Department of Film and Media Studies. Her research interests include early media technology and visual amusements, media historiography, archival collections, and LED displays.)

Edmond Johnson
(UC, Santa Barbara)
“Who's Playing the Player Piano—and Can the Talking Machine Sing?: Shifting Perceptions of Musical Agency in the Early 20th Century”
From a modern perspective, devices that mechanically play music—whether from perforated roll, grooved disc, or other recorded media—are commonly perceived as being automatic machines that merely reproduce a musical performance which was previously created. In the decades surrounding the turn of the twentieth century, however, the question of exactly where musical agency should be attributed with these devices was far more complex. Early mechanical instruments frequently provided substantial control of the artistic aspects of musical performance, allowing their operators to identify themselves as the true "players" of the music in spite of significant mechanical assistance. Likewise, a parallel situation can be found in the perception of the fledgling phonograph, at this time a direct competitor to mechanical instruments in the realm of domestic music making. Indeed, despite being only able to play previously recorded material, the phonograph was frequently discussed and advertised in terms that transcended the boundaries of acoustic reproduction and identified it as a musical instrument in its own right, an identification only reinforced by the morphological likeness of the phonograph horn to those found on conventional wind instruments. Through an exploration of contemporary views as found in personal accounts, essays, periodicals, and advertisement, this paper will investigate how these musical devices evolved not only technologically but also conceptually in the first decades of their existence.
(Edmond Johnson is a doctoral student in musicology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research focuses on music of the early 20th century with a particular concentration on the genesis of the early music revival. In addition, he has done work in the field of organology where his interests include the study of mechanical and electronic instruments.)

Bobby Simmons
(School of Cinematic Arts, USC)
“Banjos and Eskimos: Musical Advertising on Early Radio”
While popular music is ubiquitous in contemporary television advertising, the practice of using existing tunes for commercials is hardly new. This paper examines the emergence of advertising on radio in the 1920s and how music figured prominently in the development of radio as a commercial medium. This was a time of great uncertainty and as this paper will argue, of experimentation born out of economic necessity and a myriad of industrial and cultural constraints. In this context several articulations of popular music-as-advertising were devised including the sponsored music program, theme songs, and reworked versions of popular songs specifically designed to sell products.

This paper also attempts to balance the existing cultural histories of radio, advertising, and music, with a more political economic approach. The cultural histories emphasize important discourses within each industry, but at times risk of losing track of the economic forces that stimulated these industrial actors to experiment or avoid experimentation with the then-new medium of radio. In this essay the relationship between innovation, economics, and industrial discourses are reconsidered and at times reordered. In light of the shifting value of popular music today in advertising, internet radio, and even ring tones, another look at the development of commercial radio and its use of popular music is vital to understanding where we have been and where we might be going in the future.

(Bobby Simmons is a doctoral candidate in Critical Studies at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. He earned a Master’s degree in Critical Studies at USC, and has a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Chicago. He is currently working on a dissertation entitled “Love in Vain: A History of Popular Music in Advertising.”)

Bob Sturm
(UC, Santa Barbara)
“Adaptive Concatenative Sound Synthesis and Its Application to Micromontage Composition”
Adaptive concatenative sound synthesis (ACSS) is a technique for generating and transforming digital sound using large libraries of recorded sound. Variations of sounds are synthesized from short segments of others in the manner of collage based on a measure of similarity. In electroacoustic music this has been done by manually locating, categorizing, arranging and splicing analog or digital samples—a style termed micromontage. As an automation of micromontage methods informed by signal processing and extended to databases of any size, ACSS provides new paths for the art and science of sound collage. Sound synthesis and design—the general organization of audio samples—have an opportunity to develop in directions that are manually prohibitive. Additionally ACSS provides a creative interface to large databases of sound, where the “query-by-example” paradigm becomes “synthesize-by-sound-example.”
(Bob L. Sturm is currently a doctoral candidate in electrical and computer engineering. He is also a computer music composer.)

Travis Allen
(UC, Santa Barbara)
“Electronic Encounter: an Exploration of the Aesthetics of Art and Pop”
Both electronic dance music (EDM) and electronic art music (EAM) draw from a similar lineage and trace their history to the early pioneers of electronic music such as Pierre Schaeffer, Edgar Varese, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Morton Subotnik. Scholarship has recognized this legacy by linking both EDM and EAM to these early innovators. However, the boundaries placed around art and pop can lead us to ignore the similarities between contemporary EDM and EAM artists. What happens when an EDM artist borrows from an avant-garde composer such as Steve Reich? Why would an EAM composer choose not to use a repetitive beat pattern? The categories that have been built around art and pop often blind scholars from how these frames form and shape artistic creations.

This paper focuses on the convergent and divergent aesthetics between EDM and EAM, and probes the idea of differentiation and assimilation between art and pop. To explore this phenomenon, I will look at The Orb's track "Little Fluffy Clouds." This track samples the third movement of Steve Reich's Electric Counterpoint. "Little Fluffy Clouds" represents a point of collision between the art and pop realms, and can reveal much about what is at stake in the art/pop divide. In sampling Reich, The Orb both highlights and destroys these categorical borders. By borrowing from an avant-garde composer, The Orb elevates its status by displaying a large breadth of musical knowledge. Thus, the classification of Reich as avant-garde helps shape the perception of The Orb. In this instance, boundaries are a necessary and important means for perception, giving the practitioners a sense of identity and self.

However, these demarcations present us with a set of preconceived notions that may limit our understanding. The Orb's sampling of Electric Counterpoint highlights the malleability of the boundaries between art and pop. Indeed, EDM and EAM share many similar aesthetics. Both consider themselves outside mainstream music creation. Both employ electronic means that allow for music making that would be impossible, or extremely difficult to produce without sound manipulation and looping. And, especially in terms of Reich and EDM, both use rhythm as an integral and primary focus of their music. Thus, the line between art and pop begins to be less clear. EDM, with its developmental aspects, and with its movement toward climactic moments, begins to look much like music from the art tradition. In contrast, Reich's Electric Counterpoint, with its loops that are fairly stagnant, has much in common with music outside the art tradition. This convergence of EDM and EAM demands reassessment, acknowledging that electronic music should not be limited to conventional categories.
(Travis Allen is currently a doctoral student in Musicology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  His focus is on late 20th century music, with an emphasis on the boundaries between art and pop in electronic music. )