Fall 2010 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Stone, Winston
Discipline and Number
MUSI 2311 Section 001
MW Time 11:30 AM - 12:45 PM
Course Title
A History of Recorded Music

Description of Course:

It was Spring in Paris in 1860 when the inventor of the phonautograph, Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville, a typesetter, used voice, a cone, and a stylus to etch scribblings on a sheet of paper covered with a smoky carbon residue. Scott's idea was to record the human voice graphically so that its patterns could be deciphered, and it was never made with the intent of play-back. In 2008 those recordings were discovered in a Paris vault, and, with the help of technology, those etchings were translated into sound to reveal "Au clair de la lune, Pierrot repondit," the famous French folk song still sung by children today. It would be seven years later that Thomas Edison would patent his wax cylinder recording device and several decades before disc records were introduced. The quest for fidelity in recording went through many technological changes over the past 150 years including magnetic reel-to-reel tape, cassettes, eight-tracks, DATs, compact discs, MP3s, and current emerging technologies. This course will focus on the history of recorded music with an emphasis on the relationships that formed between the creative process in music and the technological advances that shaped, augmented, and, at times, limited this process. In addition to readings from the texts and other sources, landmark recordings will be studied in detail.

Required Texts:

Sound Recording: The Life Story of a Technology, David L. Morton
# Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press; 1 edition (April 20, 2006)
# ISBN-10: 0801883989
# ISBN-13: 978-0801883989

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

There are no pre- or co-requisites for this class.

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