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II. Histories of Sound 2. Histories of Sound and Technology. Listening tech( nique )ology in 19 th century medicine (Nicolson ) The phonograph in lab experiments in the early 1900s ( Kursell ) Historiographies of mechanical music (Katz )
2. Histories of Sound and Technology
Auscultation (based on the Latin verb auscultare "to listen") is the term for listening to the internal sounds of the body, usually using a stethoscope.
Pages from De l’auscultation mediate (published in 1819) showing Laennec’s stethoscope design
Laennec’s stethoscope (lf.) compared to a contemporary design (rt.) – see discussion of N.P. Comins’s development of a flexible model (p. 160-161)
Paris: Laënnec’s invention of the stethoscope in 1816, and published De l’auscultationmediatein 1819
Impact of trained stethoscopists like Andrew Cullen and John Crauford Gregory
2. A Gray Box: The Phonograph in Laboratory Experiments and Field Work, 1900-1920
The phonograph as a site of intersection for technology, experimental practices,
and ways of hearing and listening, none of which were stable. (p. 178)
Alexander Graham Bell & Clarence Blake’s Ear Phonautograph, 1874
ManometricFlame Apparatus, 1862
The medium is not a given entity but rather an unstable and heterogenousobject
Kittler’s technological a priori: Media analysis has been understood to help focus on the instability of the notion of a medium… most accounts of media technology could not work without a notion of medium that took its definition for granted rather than explain it. (p. 192)
The phonograph was central to the founding of ethnomusicology. (Berlin Phonogram Archive, founded in 1908, and others like it established to preserve samples of music that were as yet unknown to researches, and were in danger of being lost forever.
Frances Densmore recording Blackfoot chief Mountain Chief on a cylinder phonograph for the Bureau of American Ethology in 1916
Exploring the role of amateur music in the age of sound recording and reproduction technologies:
For Thursday: Choose a sound technology and do research on the historical developments and factors that shaped its present form, then compare that history to one that we studied this week. Create a blog post and be prepared to discuss in class.
Also please bring your phone if you have music apps on it!