From Helmholtz to Hard Drives: Music’s Material Legacy and Digital Future

This Saturday I’m going be at a very interesting day conference. The faculty of Music of Cambridge University hosts the conference entitled “From Helmholtz to Hard Drives: Music’s material legacy and digital future”: “This study day in the Cambridge Faculty of Music will focus on sound media aesthetics from historical, aesthetic-technological, sociological, and compositional perspectives. The varied expertise of the speakers will serve to bookend the central subject: music as media. Topics will range from Helmholtz’s Tonempfindungen, Wagner’s Nervenmusik and the new materiality of sound ca. 1850, to digital interactivity of the present day, via studies of the development of new media during the twentieth century. The common thread in these papers is a treatment of sound not as an aesthetic or hermeneutic property, but as pure information, whether digital (binary), material (physical vibrations), or technological (media prosthesis). The day will finish with a concert of digital music.”

I’m particularly interested in Nick Collins’ paper, “There’s more where that came from: the fecundity of futures in electronic music”, but also Georgina Born’s “Music, Media, and the Social: On the Public-isation and Privatisation of Music”. Both of their work is significant and highly related to my research, so my hopes are up for this experience. I cannot wait to meet other people that are working on similar topics as I do, so I anyone’s reading this, I’m looking forward to meeting you in Cambridge.

Here’s the link with the full programme and booking information


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