Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music

Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music

Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music

Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music

Synopsis

There is more to sound recording than just recording sound. Far from being simply a tool for the preservation of music, the technology is a catalyst. In this award-winning text, Mark Katz provides a wide-ranging, deeply informative, consistently entertaining history of recording's profound impact on the musical life of the past century, from Edison to the Internet. Fully revised and updated, this new edition adds coverage of mashups and Auto-Tune, explores recent developments in file-sharing, and includes an expanded conclusion and bibliography.

Find illustrative sound and film clips on the new companion website at www.ucpress.edu/go/capturingsound

Excerpt

Several years ago, a friend asked me to explain the subject of this book, then in its early stages of development. Opting for a dramatic approach, I pulled a CD at random from a nearby shelf and brandished it in front of me. “This,” I declared, “has changed the way we listen to, perform, and compose music.” My friend squinted at the CD, gave me a quizzical look, and asked, “That did?” “Yes!” I answered with gusto. Seeming unconvinced, he clarified his question. “Van Halen changed the way we listen to, perform, and compose music?”

Maybe, but that was not my point. My claim was that the technology of sound recording, writ large, has profoundly transformed modern musical life. At its broadest, that is the thesis of Capturing Sound.

This thesis, however, counters more than a century’s worth of discourse about the nature and purpose of the technology, discourse that has reinforced the idea of recorded sound as the mirror of sonic reality. The famous Memorex advertisements in print and on television throughout the 1970s and 1980s offer a striking example. The ads demonstrate how the recorded voice of jazz great Ella Fitzgerald could shatter a wine glass—as recorded on . . .

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