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Sound Ideas

Music, Machines, and Experience

2005
Author:

Aden Evens

Sound Ideas

A highly original approach to the philosophy of musical experience

Aden Evens provides an acute consideration of how music becomes sensible, advancing original variations on the themes of creativity and habit, analog and digital technologies, and improvisation and repetition. Sound Ideas reinvents the philosophy of music in a way that encompasses traditional aspects of musicology, avant-garde explorations of music's relation to noise and silence, and the consequences of digitization.

A first step toward a far-reaching but distant goal. Recommended.

Choice

As record collectors and file swappers know, the experience of music—making it, marketing it, listening to it—relies heavily on technology. From the viola that amplifies the vibrations of a string to the CD player that turns digital bits into varying voltage, music and technology are deeply intertwined.

What was gained—or lost—when compact discs replaced vinyl as the mass-market medium? What unique creative input does the musician bring to the music, and what contribution is made by the instrument? Do digital synthesizers offer unlimited range of sonic potential, or do their push-button interfaces and acoustical models lead to cookie-cutter productions? Through this interrogation of sound and technology, Aden Evens provides an acute consideration of how music becomes sensible, advancing original variations on the themes of creativity and habit, analog and digital technologies, and improvisation and repetition.

Sound Ideas reinvents the philosophy of music in a way that encompasses traditional aspects of musicology, avant-garde explorations of music’s relation to noise and silence, and the consequences of digitization.

Sound Ideas

Aden Evens is a musician and assistant professor of technical communication at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Sound Ideas

A first step toward a far-reaching but distant goal. Recommended.

Choice

Sound Ideas is an original study in the philosophy of music.

Music and Letters

In this well-crafted and concise volume, Evens has created a compelling handbook for all who want to think critically about music, even those who have never mastered the skill of sight-reading a score. The most compelling passages for humanists are likely to be the rich phenomenological accounts of musical listening, composing, engineering and performing. This is an impressive attempt to set critical theory and continental philosophy to work with science on the protean phenomena of music.

Substance

Sound Ideas

Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments

Chapter 1. Sound and Noise
Chapter 2. Sound and Time
Chapter 3. Sound and Digits
Chapter 4. Making Music

Notes
Works Cited

Index