SPECIAL TOPICS: AUDIO MEDIA ANALYSIS
to be regularized as: CMNS 357-4 AUDIO MEDIA ANALYSIS
Instructor: David Murphy, TT7460.6 , phone 778-782-3623, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This course provides an intensive analysis of the design and function of audio in all forms of electroacoustic media, including both historical analog and contemporary digital forms of communication. Specific attention will be given to sound design in advertising and other types of soundtracks, the structure of broadcast media considered as a surrogate listening environment, the sound recording as document, patterns and functions of electroacoustic media usage in daily life, and alternative uses of audio media.
The format of the course will be seminar/lab in order to cover both the theoretical and applied aspects of media analysis. Student work will consist of (1) a media use audit of aspects of the student’s media consumption patterns; (2) an essay based on course texts and other literature; (3) an applied analysis project with a choice of written, audio or video documentary formats. Students wishing to use audio/video format for project 3 need to already have the required studio skills as basic technical instruction will not be available.
Text: B. Truax, Acoustic Communication, 2nd ed., Ablex 2001. (QC 225.15 T78)
References: (on Library Reserve)
R. Altman, ed. Sound Theory, Sound Practice, Routledge, 1992. (PN 1995.7 S69 1992)
J. Attali, Noise (The Political Economy of Music), The University of Minnesota Press, 1985. (ML 3795 A913)
M. Ayers, ed. Cybersounds: Essays on Virtual Music Culture, Peter Lang, 2006. (ML 3918 P67 C93 2006)
B. Blesser, Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? Experiencing Aural Architecture, MIT Press, 2007. (QP 443 B585 2007)
M. Bull, Sounding Out The City: Personal Stereos and the Management of Everyday Life, Oxford, 2000 (T 14.5 B85 2000)
M. Chanan, Repeated Takes: A short history of recording and its effects on music, Verso, 1995.
D. De Kerckhove, The skin of culture: Investigating the new electronic reality, Somerville House, 1995. (P 96 T42 D454 1995)
S. Douglas, Listening In: Radio and the American Imagination, Times Books, 1999. (HE 8698 D68 1999)
P. Doyle, Echo and Reverb: Fabricating Space in Popular Music Recording, 1900-1960, Wesleyan University Press, 2005. (ML 3470 D69 2005)
P. du Gay et al., Doing Cultural Studies: The Story of the Sony Walkman, Sage Publications, 1997 (TK 7881.6 D65 1997)
E. Eisenberg, The recording angel : music, records and culture from Aristotle to Zappa, Yale University Press, 2005. (ML 1055 E35 2005)
P. Fornatale & J. Mills, Radio in the Television Age, Overlook Press, 1980. (PN 1991.3 U6 F6)
D. Kahn & G. Whitehead, Wireless imagination: Sound, radio, and the avant-garde, MIT Press, 1992. (NX 650 S68 W57 1992)
M. Katz, Capturing Sound : How Technology Has Changed Music, University of California Press, 2004. (ML 3790 K277 2004) & CD
E. Pease & E. Dennis, eds. Radio: The Forgotten Medium, Transaction Publishers, 1995. (PN 1991.6 R24 1995)
T. Schwartz, The Responsive Chord, Anchor Press, 1973. (HM 258 S32)
J. Sterne, The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction, Duke University Press, 2003. (TK 7881.4 S733 2003)
C. Symes, Setting the Record Straight, Wesleyan University Press, 2004. (ML 3790 S97 2004)
T. Taylor, Strange Sounds: Music, Technology, and Culture, Routledge, 2001. (ML 1380 T38 2001)
P. Théberge, Any Sound You Can Imagine, Wesleyan University Press, 1997. (ML 1092 T38 1997)
E. Thompson, The Soundscape of Modernity, MIT Press, 2002. (NA 2800 T48 2002)
A. Williams, Portable Music and Its Functions, Peter Lang, 2007. (ML 3830 W545 2007)
S. Wurtzler, Electric Sounds: Technological Change and the Rise of Corporate Mass Media, Columbia University Press, 2007. (P 96 T422 U639 2007)
Student work will consist of a media use audit, an
essay and an applied project on any topic in the field of audio media
A verbal report on one of these topics is expected during the final
The essay and project are expected to be written up as a substantial
(approx. 15 pages or 4000 words).
The essay will discuss the course readings, supplemented by
other research on a particular topic, and the project will be an
analysis. Each topic should allow you to apply a communicational model,
on the course texts, to a specific media issue or media context. More
on these projects are found below. Grading will be by letter grade
the three projects weighted as follows:
Use Audit (20%) due
Week 3; Essay (40%) due
Week 8; Project (40%) due
A 2 page outline of the essay and project must also be submitted as follows:
Essay outline (topic, section headings & summary, references) Week 6
Project outline (goal, methodology, analysis method) Week 10
The School expects that the grades awarded in this course will bear some reasonable relation to established university-wide practices to both levels and distribution of grades. In addition, the School will also follow Policy T10.02 with respect to "Intellectual Honesty," and "Academic Discipline" (see the current Calendar, General Regulations Section).
Media Use Audit:
Following the approach outlined by Table 1 in Acoustic Communication (p.172), monitor your exposure to audio media (i.e. reproduced sound) on one weekday and one weekend day (or any other two days where your routine differs). Estimate the number of minutes you hear reproduced sound via each method of audio delivery (e.g. radio, television, film, video, internet, telephone/cell phone, iPod, background music etc). Classify each exposure as “self” (i.e. sound you choose to listen to) or “other” (i.e. sound that is overheard). In your report, discuss topics such as the style or content of each category of sound, the functions it serves for you personally, how it (re)structures spatial, temporal and social relationships, as well as any other aspect of your consumption and exposure you find interesting. Compare your results to those in AC, keeping in mind that the quoted student data was largely from a pre-digital era. Length of the report is variable, but not to exceed 10 pages (i.e. 2500 words) excluding your raw data which you should include as an Appendix.
The essay is
literature based research paper that explores a specific topic, issue
of electroacoustic sound communication. The theme will most likely
of the weekly seminar topics and will be based on its readings, plus
listed in the course outline and made available in print or electronic
Web resources may be used to supplement, but not replace the course
Other print resources will likely be found in the references in the
All resource material needs to be properly cited at the end of the
all quotations should be properly attributed. Although the choice of
topic and the way you approach it is open-ended, your paper should
discussion of (1) communication or other theory; (2) historical
the technology and its social-cultural role; (3) references to all of
relevant course readings; (4) a critical evaluation of the
medium in question, and speculations on its future development where
appropriate. The essay outline submitted first will be considered as
of the final grade for the essay.
You will design an applied analysis of any electroacoustic medium or its usage. This may consist of your own analysis of audio examples, or media usage by groups of subjects (for which permission forms must be collected). Other topics must be approved by the instructor. Where you already have studio production experience, you may substitute a video or audio report for the written one, or else some combination thereof. The project outline submitted first will be considered as worth 20% of the final grade for the project.
Seminar Topics and Readings:
Note: All Readings are to be done for the date listed. AC refers to Acoustic Communication, 2nd edition.
Assigned and Recommended readings are available at: http://www.sfu.ca/media-lab/archive/2011/386
Week 1 Introduction & Organization
AC: chapter 8
P. du Gay et al., Doing Cultural Studies: The Story of the Sony Walkman, Sage Publications, 1997. Ch. 1 “Making Sense of the Walkman”
H. Westerkamp, "Listening and Soundmaking: A Study of Music-as-Environment," in D. Lander & M. Lexier, eds. Sound by Artists, Art Metropole & Walter Phillips Gallery, 1990.
E. Thompson, The Soundscape of Modernity, MIT Press, 2002. Ch. 6 “Electroacoustics and Modern Sound, 1900-1933”
P. Théberge, "Counterpoint: Glenn Gould & Marshall McLuhan," Canadian Journal of Social & Political Theory, 10(1-2), 1986.
R. L. Cardinell, "Music in Industry," in Schullian & Schoen, eds., Music and Medicine, 1948.
Sterne, “Sounds Like the Mall of America: Programmed Music and the
of Commercial Space,” Ethnomusicology, 41(1), 1997, 22-50.
Week 3 The Listener as Consumer
H. Mendelsohn, "Listening to Radio," in Dexter & White, eds. People, Society and Mass Communication, 1964.
M. Bull, Sounding Out the City: Personal Stereos and the Management of Everyday Life. Oxford, 2000. Ch. 3 “Reconfiguring the Site and Horizon of Experience”
Bull, “Investigating the Culture of Mobile Listening: From Walkman to
K. O’Hara & B. Brown, eds. Consuming Music Together, Spring 2006
M. Bull, Sounding Out the City: Personal Stereos and the Management of Everyday Life. Oxford, 2000. Ch. 11 “Technology and the Management of Everyday Life”
M. Bull, “The World According to Sound: Investigating the World of Walkman Users,” New Media and Society, vol. 3(2), 179-197, 2001.
I. Chambers, “A Miniature History of the Walkman,” New Formations, no. 11, 1990, 1-4
Williams, Portable Music and Its Functions, Peter Lang, 2007.
Structure and Uses: Radio
AC: chapter 11
J. Berland, "Radio Space and Industrial Time," in Canadian Music: Issues of Hegemony and Identity, B. Diamond and R. Witmer, eds., Canadian Scholars Press, 1993.
H. Westerkamp, “The Soundscape on Radio,” in D. Augaitis & D. Lander, eds. Radio Rethink. Banff, Alberta: Walter Phillips Gallery, 1994.
M. Schafer, “Radical Radio,” in D. Lander & M. Lexier, eds. Sound
Artists, Art Metropole
Walter Phillips Gallery, 1990.
F. Dyson, “The Geneaology of the Radio Voice,” in D. Augaitis & D. Lander, eds. Radio Rethink. Banff, Alberta: Walter Phillips Gallery, 1994.
S. Douglas, Listening In: Radio and the American Imagination, Times Books, 1999
P. Fornatale & J. Mills, Radio in the Television Age, Overlook Press, 1980.
D. Kahn & G. Whitehead, Wireless imagination: Sound, radio, and the avant-garde. MIT Press, 1992.
E. Pease & E. Dennis, eds. Radio: The Forgotten Medium, Transaction Publishers, 1995.
Barber, "Radio: Audio Art's Frightful Parent," in D. Lander & M.
Lexier, eds. Sound by Artists,
Art Metropole & Walter Phillips Gallery, 1990.
Structure and Uses: Television and Video
D. De Kerckhove, The Skin of Culture: Investigating the New Electronic Reality. Somerville House, 1995. Ch. 2 “Television”
M. Chion, Audio-Vision:
Columbia University Press, 1994. Ch. 8
“Television, Video Art, Music Video”. PN 1995.7 C471
T. Schwartz, The Responsive Chord, Anchor Press, 1973. (selections)
D. Huron, "Music in Advertising: An Analytic Paradigm," The Musical Quarterly, 73, 1989, 557-574.
J. Mowitt, "The Sound of Music in the Era of its Electronic Reproducibility," in R. Leppert & S. McClary, eds. Music and Society, Cambridge University Press, 1987, pp. 173-179 (Memorex ad section).
N. Cook, “Music and
Meaning in the Commercials,” Popular
Music, 13(1), 1994,
J. Shatzer, “Listening and the Mass Media,” in R. Bostrom, ed. Listening
(BF 323 L5 B57 1990)
Advertising, Marketing & the Electroacoustic Community
AC: chapter 12
J. Attali, Noise (The Political Economy of Music), The Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1985. Ch. 4 “Repeating”, p. 87-120 (“The Emplacement of Recording” and “Double Repetition”)
P. du Gay et al., Doing Cultural Studies: The Story of the Sony Walkman, Sage Publications, 1997. Ch. 5 “Consuming the Walkman”
“Musicians as Market, Consumers of
9, 1990, 53-90.
O'Connell, "The Fine Tuning of a Golden Ear: High-end Audio and the
Evolutionary Model of Technology," Technology and Culture, vol. 33, no. 1, 1992, pp. 1-37.
Recorded Document I: Music
M. Katz, Capturing Sound : How Technology Has Changed Music, University of California Press, 2004. Ch. 1 “Causes”
G. Gould, "The Prospects of Recording," Hi Fidelity, 16(46), 1966.
P. Théberge, "The 'Sound' of Music: Technological Rationalization and the Production of Popular Music," New Formations, vol. 8, 1989, pp. 99-111.
Doyle, Echo and Reverb: Fabricating
Popular Music Recording, 1900-1960, Wesleyan
University Press, 2005. Ch. 2 “Harnessing the Echo”
M. Chanan, Repeated Takes: A short history of recording and its effects on music, Verso, 1995.
E. Eisenberg, The recording angel : music, records and culture from Aristotle to Zappa, Yale University Press, 2005.
C. Symes, Setting
Wesleyan University Press, 2004.
Recorded Document II: Sound
AC: chapter 13
Sterne, “A Machine to Hear for Them: On the very Possibility of Sound’s
Reproduction,” Cultural Studies,
15(2), 2001, 259-294.
M. McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, MIT Press, 1964. Ch. 28 “The Phonograph”.
J. Sterne, The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction, Duke University Press, 2003.
T. Taylor, Strange Sounds: Music, Technology, and Culture, Routledge, 2001.
Music Journal, vol. 13,
“Groove, Pit, and Wave: Recording, Transmission and Music” (ML 1 L2)
Structure and Uses: Film
R. Altman, ed. Sound Theory, Sound Practice, Routledge, 1992. i) R. Altman, “Sound/History,” ii) M. Chion, “Wasted Words,” iii) A. Williams, “Historical and Theoretical Issues in the Coming of Recorded Sound to the Cinema.”
M. Chion, “Audio-Vision and Sound”, in P. Kruth & H. Stobart, eds. Sound, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2000 (QC 225.6 S68 2000)
A. Doane, “The Voice in Cinema: The Articulation of Body and Space,” in
& J. Belton, eds. Film Sound,
Columbia University Press, 1985.
K. Silverman, "Dis-Embodying the Female Voice," in Re-Vision: Essays on Feminist Film Criticism, The American Film Institute Monograph Series, vol. 3, 1984.
D. Sonnenschein, Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice, and Sound Effects in Cinema, M. Wiese Productions, 2001. (TR 897 S66 2001)
Thompson, “Wiring the World: Engineers and the Empire of Sound in the
Picture Industry, 1927-1930,” in V. Erlmann, ed. Hearing Cultures:
Sound, Listening, and Modernity,
Berg, 2004, Ch. 10, pp 191-229 (extensive references).
Structure and Uses: Games, Digital Audio & the Internet
J. Sterne, “The mp3 as Cultural Artifact,” New Media and Society, 8(5), 2006, 825-842.
T. Taylor, Strange Sounds: Music, Technology, and Culture, Routledge, 2001. Ch. 1 “Music, Technology, Agency, and Practice”
Katz, Capturing Sound : How Technology Has Changed Music, University of California Press, 2004.
“Listening in Cyberspace”
M. Bull, “Soundscapes of the Car,” in M. Bull and L. Back, eds. The Auditory Culture Reader, Berg, 2003, 357-374.
M. Ayers, ed. Cybersounds: Essays on Virtual Music Culture, Peter Lang, 2006.
Sterne, “The Death and Life of Digital Audio,” Interdisciplinary
Reviews, 31(4), 2006,
AC: chapter 14
P. Théberge, Any Sound You Can Imagine, Wesleyan University Press, 1997. Ch. 10, “Toward a New Model of Musical Production and Consumption”
Wurtzler, Electric Sounds: Technological Change and the Rise of
Mass Media, Columbia
Press, 2007. Ch. 6 “Conclusions/Reverberations"
B. Blesser, Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? Experiencing Aural Architecture, MIT Press, 2007. Ch. 5, “Inventing Virtual Spaces for Music”