Musical Listening in the Age of Technological Reproduction (Hardback) book cover

Musical Listening in the Age of Technological Reproduction

By Gianmario Borio

© 2015 – Routledge

430 pages

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Hardback: 9781472442161
pub: 2015-12-16
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315596969
pub: 2016-04-29
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About the Book

It is undeniable that technology has made a tangible impact on the nature of musical listening. The new media have changed our relationship with music in a myriad of ways, not least because the experience of listening can now be prolonged at will and repeated at any time and in any space. Moreover, among the more striking social phenomena ushered in by the technological revolution, one cannot fail to mention music’s current status as a commodity and popular music’s unprecedented global reach. In response to these new social and perceptual conditions, the act of listening has diversified into a wide range of patterns of behaviour which seem to resist any attempt at unification. Concentrated listening, the form of musical reception fostered by Western art music, now appears to be but one of the many ways in which audiences respond to organized sound. Cinema, for example, has developed specific ways of combining images and sounds; and, more recently, digital technology has redefined the standard forms of mass communication. Information is aestheticized, and music in turn is incorporated into pre-existing symbolic fields. This volume - the first in the series Musical Cultures of the Twentieth Century - offers a wide-ranging exploration of the relations between sound, technology and listening practices, considered from the complementary perspectives of art music and popular music, music theatre and multimedia, composition and performance, ethnographic and anthropological research.


'Bringing together a distinguished international roster of scholars, Musical Listening in the Age of Technological Reproduction offers an unprecedented breadth of new perspectives on the question of how sound technologies have transformed many aspects of what it means to listen. Building on Walter Benjamin’s classic writings, these essays make important contributions in the areas of musicology, ethnomusicology, analysis, composition, film and media, philosophy, perception, and sound studies, while their fascinating intersections point to emerging paradigms for rethinking the relationships between analog and digital, audio and multimedia, and live and recorded sound.’

Joseph Auner, Tufts University, USA

'These essays written by high profile scholars tackle some of the essential areas of today’s artistic expression. By placing listening in the foreground, they reverse the object of musical studies, and provide compelling and provocative ideas for both thinkers and creators of different aesthetic perspectives in today’s hyper-connected and technological world.’ Marco Stroppa, Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Stuttgart, Germany

About the Author

Gianmario Borio is Professor of Musicology at the University of Pavia and Director of the Institute of Music at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice. In 1999 he was awarded the Dent Medal by the Royal Musical Association. In 2013, he was Distinguished Visiting Professor at The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America. His publications deal with several aspects of the music of the twentieth century, including theory, aesthetics, political background and the audiovisual experience; as well as the history of musical concepts and the theory of musical form. He is a Fellow of the Academia Europaea.

About the Series

Musical Cultures of the Twentieth Century

Musical Cultures of the Twentieth Century

The music of the twentieth century is a composite and variegated entity. Recent works of historiography have revealed the difficulty of arriving at a coherent representation of the multiplicity of conceptions, artefacts, events and communities which characterised musical life in this century. This plurality, which is manifested at all levels (linguistic, stylistic, geographical, institutional, socio-cultural), requires adequate research strategies. The series Musical Cultures of the Twentieth Century tackles some crucial questions by setting up research groups, whose members collaborate closely over a time span determined by the complexity of each topic.

The principal site of the projects is the Institute of Music of the Giorgio Cini Foundation, Venice, which, from its very beginnings, was conceived as a forum for musicological discourse. After the initial phases of preparation and research, a conference is held for each project that aims to present findings and act as a platform for an exchange of views. Individual research, therefore, has the opportunity to interact with many authors, leading to volumes that are intended to play a positive role in international debates, update research criteria and open up new perspectives. In designing these projects, we pay special attention to methodological pluralism: complex phenomena can only be adequately dealt with through a combination of various currents of contemporary thought and an intense dialogue between scholars of different nationalities, ages and theoretical backgrounds.

The series advisory board is composed of an international group of scholars with wide experience in different areas of twentieth-century music. In periodic meetings and through email exchange, the members examine new publications, discuss emerging questions, confront methodological approaches, elaborate new projects, coordinate study groups, and finalize ongoing research. This collaborative endeavour has proved to be the best foundation for guaranteeing the highest standards and a continuous interaction with the world of research and the public sphere in general.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / Ethnomusicology
MUSIC / Recording & Reproduction