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Responses in Music to Climate Change and Sources for Climate Change Research

From 4 to 8 October 2021, The Barry S. Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation hosts the virtual conference Responses in Music to Climate Change. The event brings together scholars, performers, composers, and activists, with the goal of exchanging ideas on musicians’ responses to changing ecosystems. It is one of the first academic conferences to consider how the arrival of Covid-19 has impacted musical practices already affected by anthropogenic climate change with the roundtable discussion Adaptations: Confronting Climate Change Amid Covd-19. The panel comprises scholars Aaron Allen (University of North Carolina at Greensboro), Mark Pedelty (University of Minnesota), Alexander Rehding (Harvard University),  Jeff Todd Titon (Brown University),  Denise von Glahn (Florida State University), and Holly Watkins (University of Rochester). 

The dramatic increase in climate pollution from global aviation has been well documented, fostering proposals by communities—scholarly and otherwise—to either curb or eliminate air travel, hold academic conferences less frequently, and include more options for remote participation. Accordingly, and in the interest of curbing the spread of Covid-19, the conference is completely virtual, comprising live and pre-recorded presentations and lectures—most followed by live-streamed Q&A. Registration is free and open to the public.

The conference’s keynote speaker is ethnomusicologist, visual/sound artist, and anthropologist Dr. Steven Feld (University of New Mexico). A MacArthur Fellowship recipient, Professor Feld’s work of the last 45 years in rainforest Papua New Guinea (Voices of the Rainforest [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 1995-7420], Sound and Sentiment [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 1982-5475]), Europe (The Time of Bells [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2004-41971]), and urban West Africa (Jazz Cosmopolitanism in Accra, [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2009-27214]) is published equally in sound, photographic/film, and textual media.

The opening day concludes with a pre-recorded talk by composer John Luther Adams, whose orchestral work Become Ocean was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Music, as well as a Grammy award. Additionally, the conference features an interview with composer Christopher Tin (first to win a Grammy Award for a videogame score) on the afternoon of Tuesday, October 5. 

In anticipation of the conference, Lori Rothstein, Editor at RILM, has compiled a bibliography, discography, and webography of sources related to music and climate change, most of which can be found in RILM Abstracts of Music Literature. These sources are listed below, with the hope that they will serve as a point of departure for future research.

Michael Lupo, Assistant Editor, RILM

Asterisks (*) identify authors/musicians who will take part in the Responses in Music to Climate Change conference.

Collections

*Allen, Aaron S. “Environmental changes and music”, Music in American life: An encyclopedia of the songs, styles, stars, and stories that shaped our culture, ed. by Jacqueline Edmondson (Santa Barbara: Greenwood, 2013) 418–421. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2013-50859]

Burtner, Matthew. “Sounding art climate change”, The Routledge companion to sounding art, ed. by Marcel Cobussen, Vincent Meelberg, and Barry Truax (New York: Routledge, 2016) 287–304. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2017-674]

Cooley, Timothy J. Cultural sustainabilities: Music, media, language, advocacy (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2019). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019-5056]

*Feisst, Sabine. “Allô, ici la terre: Agency in ecological music composition, performance, and listening”, On active grounds: Agency and time in the environmental humanities, ed. Robert Boschman and Mario Trono. Environmental humanities (Calgary: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2019), 87–106. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019-27030]

Post, Jennifer C.Climate change, mobile pastoralism, and cultural heritage in Western Mongolia”, Cultural sustainabilities: Music, media, language, advocacy, ed Timothy J. Cooley (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2019), 75–86. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019-5064]

Quinn, Marty.Data as music: Why musically encoded sonification design offers a rich palette for information display”, Environmental sound artists: In their own words, ed. by Frederick W. Bianchi and V.J. Manzo (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 92–101. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2016-5398]

*Titon, Jeff Todd. Toward a sound ecology: New and selected essays. Music, nature, place (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2020). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-60874]

_____. “Sustainability, resilience, and adaptive management for applied ethnomusicology”, The Oxford handbook of applied ethnomusicology, ed. by Svanibor Pettan and *Jeff Todd Titon (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2015-6030]

Monographs

*Adams, John Luther. Silences so deep: Music, solitude, Alaska (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-61095]

Ingram, David. The jukebox in the garden: Ecocriticism and American popular music since 1960. Nature, culture and literature (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2010). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2010-50555]

Monacchi, David. Fragments of Extinction: An eco-acoustic music project on primary rainforest biodiversity (Urbino: Edizioni ME, 2014). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2014-87198]

*Pedelty, Mark. A song to save the Salish Sea: Musical performance as environmental activism.Music, nature, place (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2016). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2016-5269]

_____. Ecomusicology: Rock, folk, and the environment (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2012). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2012-6252]

*Watkins, Holly. Musical vitalities: Ventures in a biotic aesthetics of music. New material histories of music (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2018-45388]

Periodicals

*Abels, Birgit. “‘It’s only the water and the rocks that own the land’: Sound knowledge and environmental change in Palau, Western Micronesia”, Asian-European music research e-journal 2 (2018) 21–32. https://cdn-cms.f-static.com/uploads/1266233/normal_5c219f9c55b34.pdf. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2018-11433]

*Allen, Aaron S.  “A “stubbornly persistent illusion”? Climate crisis and the North, ecomusicology and academic discourse”, European Journal of Musicology, 18/1 (2020) 16–35. https://doi.org/10.5450/EJM.18.1.2019.16. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019-20596]

_____, *Jeff Todd Titon, and *Denise Von Glahn. “Sustainability and sound: Ecomusicology inside and outside the academy”, Music and politics 8/2 (summer 2014) 83–108. https://doi.org/10.3998/mp.9460447.0008.205.[RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2014-66057]

Barclay, Leah.Sonic ecologies: Exploring the agency of soundscapes in ecological crisis”, Soundscape: The journal of acoustic ecology, 12/1 (2013) 29–32. https://www.wfae.net/uploads/5/9/8/4/59849633/soundscape_volume12.pdf. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2013-46393]

Brennan, Matt and Kyle Devine. “The cost of music”, Popular Music 39/1 (February 2020) 43–65. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261143019000552. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-1536]

Burtner, Matthew. “Climate change music: From environmental aesthetics to ecoacoustics”, South Atlantic quarterly 116/1 (1 January 2017), 145–161. https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-3749392. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2017- 61156]

Chisholm, Dianne.Shaping an ear for climate change: The silarjuapomorphizing music of Alaskan composer John Luther Adams”, Environmental humanities 8/2 (2016) 172–195. https://doi.org/10.1215/22011919-3664211. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2016-46641]

*Chung, Andrew. “Vibration, difference, and solidarity in the Anthropocene: Ethical difficulties of new materialist sound studies and some alternatives”, Resonance: The journal of sound and culture. 2/2 (2021) 218–241. https://doi.org/10.1525/res.2021.2.2.218. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2021-6586]

*Clark, Emily Hansell. “The ear of the Other: Colonialism and decolonial listening”, The quietus (23 January 2021) https://thequietus.com/articles/29445-sound-colonialism-and-decolonial-listening-focus-on-sound-emily-hansell-clark. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2021-6882]

Cline, Jake.How one composer channels climate grief into orchestral pieces–And why John Luther Adams turned from activism to art”, Sierra: The magazine of the Sierra Club (30 December 2020) https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/2021-1-january-february/mixed-media/how-one-composer-channels-climate-grief-orchestral-pieces-john-luther-adams. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-60871]

*Galloway, Kate.Listening to and composing with the soundscapes of climate change”, Resilience: A journal of the environmental humanities 7/2-3 (spring–fall 2020) 81–105. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-60872]

_____. “The aurality of pipeline politics and listening for nacreous clouds: Voicing Indigenous ecological knowledge in Tanya Tagaq’s Animism and Retribution”, Popular music 39/1 (February 2020) 121–144. https://doi.org/10.1017/S026114301900059X. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-1537]

Gilmurray, Jonathan. “Ecological sound art: Steps towards a new field”, Organised sound, 22/1 (April 2017) 32–41. https://doi:10.1017/S1355771816000315. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2017-885]

_____. “Sounding the alarm: An introduction to ecological sound art”, Muzikološki zbornik/Musicological annual 52/2 (2016), 71–84. https://doi.org/10.4312/mz.52.2.71-84. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2016-22390]

Greene, Jayson. “What can music do during climate collapse?”, Pitchfork (22 April 2021) https://pitchfork.com/features/overtones/climate-change-music/. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2021-6841].

*Hawitt, Rowan Bayliss.“’It’s a part of me and I’m a part of it’: Ecological thinking in contemporary Scottish folk music”, Ethnomusicology forum 29/3 (2020) 333–355. https://doi.org/10.1080/17411912.2021.1897950. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-60873]

Kinnear, Tyler. “Voicing nature in John Luther Adams’s The place where you go to listen”, Organised sound 17/3 (December 2012), 230–239. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1355771811000434. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2012-11550]

Meyers, Rachel and Carolyn Philpott. “Listening to Antarctica: Cheryl E. Leonard’s eco-acoustic creative practice”, Fusion journal 19 (2021) 64–77. https://fusion-journal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Meyers-and-Philpot-Final-Listening-to-Antarctica.pdf. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2021-6587]

Monacchi, David.Fragments of Extinction: Acoustic biodiversity of primary rainforest ecosystems”, Leonardo music journal 23 (2013) 23–25. https://doi.org/10.1162/LMJ_a_00148. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2013-10768]

Ochoa Gautier, Ana María. “Acoustic multinaturalism, the value of nature, and the nature of music in ecomusicology”, Boundary 2: An international journal of literature and culture 43/1 (February 2016) 107–141. https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-3340661. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2016-44040]

*Parrotta, Priya. “When oceans meet: Musical diversity, environmentalism, and dialogue in a changing world”, Musiké: Revista del Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico, 7/1 (October 2019) 17–27. https://issuu.com/revistamusike/docs/musike_7_. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019-9880]

*Pedelty, Mark, *Rebecca Dirksen, Tara Hatfield, *Yan Pang, and *Elja Roy. “Field to media: Applied ecomusicology in the Anthropocene”, Popular music 39/1 (February 2020) 22–42. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261143019000540. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-1541]

Peterson, Marina L. and Vicki L. Brennan. “A sonic ethnography: Listening to and with climate change”, Resonance 1/4 (winter 2020): 371–375. https://doi.org/10.1525/res.2020.1.4.371. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-54115]

Philpott, Caroline. “Sonic explorations of the southernmost continent: Four composers’ responses to Antarctica and climate change in the twenty-first century”, Organised sound 21/1 (April 2016) 83–93. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1355771815000400. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2016-734]

Ramnarine, Tina K. “Music and northern forest cultures,” European journal of musicology 18/1 (2019) 111–127. https://doi.org/10.5450/EJM.18.1.2019.111. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019/20602]

*Rehding, Alexander. “Ecomusicology between apocalypse and nostalgia”, Journal of the American Musicological Society 64/2 (summer 2011) 409–414. https://doi.org/10.1525/jams.2011.64.2.409. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2011-3936]

Ribac, François and Paul Harkins.”Popular music and the Anthropocene”, Popular music 39/1 (February 2020) 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261143019000539. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-1557]

Ritts, Max and Karen Bakker. “New forms: Anthropocene Festivals and experimental environmental governance”, Environment and planning E: Nature and space (26 November 2019) https://doi.org/10.1177/2514848619886974. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019-27032]

*Safran, Benjamin A. “’A gentle, angry people’: Music in a Quaker nonviolent direct-action campaign to power local green jobs,” Yale journal of music and religion 5/2 (2019) 82–102. https://doi.org/10.17132/2377-231X.1140. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019-14114]

Sakakibara, Chie.”’No whale, no music’: Iñupiaq drumming and global warming”, Polar record: A journal of Arctic and Antarctic research 45/4 (October 2009) 289–303. https://doi.org/doi:10.1017/S0032247408008164. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2009-48488]

Seabrook, Deborah. “Music therapy in the era of climate crisis: Evolving to meet current needs”, The arts in psychotherapy 68 (March 2020) Article 101646, 8 p. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aip.2020.101646. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-60875]

St. George, Scott, Daniel Crawford, Todd Reubold, and Elizabeth Giorgi. “Making climate data sing: Using music-like sonifications to convey a key climate record”, Bulletin of the American Meterological Society 98/1 (2017) 23–27. https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-15-00223.1. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2017-61069]

Sweers, Britta. “Environmental perception and activism through performance: Alpine song and sound impressions”, European journal of musicology 18/1 (2019) 138–159. https://doi.org/10.5450/EJM.18.1.2019.138. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019-20604]

*Von Glahn, Denise R. “Sounds real and imagined: Libby Larsen’s Up where the air gets thin”, European journal of musicology 18/1 (2019) 99–110. https://doi.org/10.5450/EJM.18.1.2019.99. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019-20601]

*Wodak, Josh. “If a seed falls in a forest: Sounding out seedbanks to sonify climate change”, Unlikely: Journal for creative arts 4 (2018) http://unlikely.net.au/issue-03/seed-in-space-sound-in-time. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2018-64229]

_____. “Popular music & depopulated species: Probing life at the limits in song and science”, Music and arts in action 6/3 (2018) 3–18. http://www.musicandartsinaction.net/index.php/maia/article/view/175. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2018-44013]

_____. “Shifting baselines: Conveying climate change in popular music”, Environmental communication 12 (2018) 58–70. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17524032.2017.1371051. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2018-54590]

Dissertations and Theses

Gervin, Kelly. Music and environmentalism in twenty-first century American popular culture (M.Mus. thesis, Bowling Green State University, 2017). http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=bgsu1494162797534902. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2017-49202]

Gilmurray, Jonathan.Ecology and environmentalism in contemporary sound art (Ph.D. diss., University of the Arts London, 2018). https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/13705/. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2018-50689]

Hilgren, Bailey. The music of science: Environmentalist data sonifications, interdisciplinary art, and the narrative of climate change (M.Mus. thesis, Florida State University, 2019). http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/2019_Spring_Hilgren_fsu_0071N_15127. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019-27031]

Kasprzyk, Cory Ryan. Found composition: Ecological awareness and its impact on compositional authority in music employing electronics (DMA diss., Bowling Green State University, 2017). http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=bgsu1510572689037113. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2017-49201]    

Online Essays, Podcasts, Websites, and Videos

Adamo, Mark. https://www.markadamo.com/.

*Adams, John Luther. “Global warming and art (2003)”, http://johnlutheradams.net/global-warming-and-art-essay/.

_____. “The end of winter”, https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-end-of-winter.

Cape Farewell. https://capefarewell.com/.

Chain, Lydia. “Capturing the songs of a changing climate”, Undark, 48 (22 September 2020) https://undark.org/2020/09/22/podcast-48-acoustic-ecology/.

Climate Keys. http://www.climatekeys.com/.

ClimateMusic. https://climatemusic.org/.

Climate Stories Project. https://www.climatestoriesproject.org/climate-music.html.

Crawford, Daniel and Scott St. George. “Planetary bands, warming world”, https://planetbands.mystrikingly.com/.

Currin, Grayson Haver. “Music for our emergency”, NPR music (5 December 2019) https://www.npr.org/2019/12/05/784818349/songs-our-emergency-how-music-approaching-climate-change-crisis.

Dunn, David. http://davidddunn.com/ASL/Welcome.html.

Earthsound. https://www.earthsoundmusic.net.

Eureka Ensemble. “Rising Tides: Confronting the climate crisis through music”, https://www.eurekaensemble.org/rising-tides.

*Feld, Steven. http://www.stevenfeld.net/.

_____. and Panayotis Panopoulos. “Athens conversation: On ethnographic listening and comparative acoustemologies” (30 April 2015) https://static1.squarespace.com/static/545aad98e4b0f1f9150ad5c3/t/5543bb7de4b0b5d7d7bb3d58/1430502269571/Athens+Conversation.pdf.

_____. Iracema Dulley, Evanthia Patsiaoura, et. al. “Sounding anthropology: A jam session with Steven Feld” n.d. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/545aad98e4b0f1f9150ad5c3/t/5fbf1a54173fb5383b932d46/1606359637987/Sounding+Anthropology.pdf.

Fragments of Extinction. http://www.fragmentsofextinction.org/fragments-of-extinction/.

Harris, Yolande. https://www.yolandeharris.net/.

Howe, Cymene and Dominic Boyer. “Matthew Burtner”, Cultures of energy: The energy humanities podcast. 96 (19 October 2017) http://culturesofenergy.com/ep-96-matthew-burtner/.

Jones, Lucy. “The music of climate change”, Dr. Lucy Jones (15 May 2019) http://drlucyjones.com/the-music-of-climate-change/.

Legacies of the Enlightenment: Humanity, Nature, and Science in a Changing Climate.  https://legaciesoftheenlightenment.hcommons.org/.

Mauleverer, Charles. “Can music ever be green? An overview of the changing musical climate”, (12 April 2019) https://www.charlesmauleverer.com/post/2019/04/12/Can-Music-Ever-Be-Green-An-Overview-Of-The-Changing-Musical-Climate.

Miles, Emily. “Empathy through environmental music, Part 1”. In this climate (3 February 2020) https://www.stitcher.com/show/in-this-climate/episode/empathy-through-environmental-music-part-1-67058147.

_____. “Empathy through environmental music, Part 2”, In this climate (3 February 2020) https://www.stitcher.com/show/in-this-climate/episode/empathy-through-environmental-music-part-2-67062837.

Orchestra for the Earth. https://www.orchestrafortheearth.co.uk/.

*Perrin, Lola.http://www.lolaperrin.com/lolaperrin.

Quin, Douglas.http://www.douglasquin.com/.

Reubold, Todd. “A song of our warming planet”, Ensia (28 June 2013) https://ensia.com/videos/a-song-of-our-warming-planet/.

_____. “What global warming sounds like from the Amazon to the Arctic”, Ensia (7 May 2015) https://ensia.com/videos/what-climate-change-sounds-like-from-the-amazon-to-the-arctic/.

*Tin, Christopher. https://christophertin.com/.

*Titon, Jeff Todd.“Music in a changing climate”, Sustainable music (1 September 2015) https://sustainablemusic.blogspot.com/2015/09/music-in-changing-climate.html.

*Twedt, Judy. Connecting to climate change through music. (2018) https://tedxseattle.com/talks/connecting-to-climate-change-through-music/.

Westerkamp, Hildegard.The disruptive nature of listening” (18 August 2015) https://www.hildegardwesterkamp.ca/writings/writingsby/?post_id=11&title=the-disruptive-nature-of-listening.

Yakutchik, MaryAlice.Composer records beetles to mark climate change”, NPR music (10 March 2008). https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88074919.

Recordings

*Adams, John Luther, Become trilogy. CD (Canteloupe Music CA21161, 2020).

_____. Lines made by walking. CD (Cold Blue Music, CB 0058 (2020).

Burtner, Matthew. Auksalaq: Live at the Phillips Collection. DVD (EcoSono, 2013).

_____. Glacier music. CD (Ravello Records RR8001, 2019).

_____. Six ecoacoustic quintets/Avian telemetry (Ravello Records RR8040, 2020).

Sayre, Mike. Music for icebergs. CD (Teknofonic Recordings, 2017).

*Tin, Christopher. The drop that contained the sea. CD (DeccaGold, 2014).

Volsness, Kristin. The year without a summer. CD (New Focus Recordings DCR218, 2018).

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Antonín Dvořák, railfan

Dvořák had tremendous admiration for technical inventions, particularly locomotives—in the U.S. he might be called a railfan.

“It consists of many parts, of so many different parts, and each has its own importance, each has its own place,” he wrote. “Even the smallest screw is in place and holding something! Everything has its purpose and role and the result is amazing.”

“Such a locomotive is put on the tracks, they put in the coal and water, one person moves a small lever, the big levers start to move, and even though the cars weigh a few thousand metric cents, the locomotive runs with them like a rabbit. All of my symphonies I would give if I had invented the locomotive!”

This according to Antonín Dvořák: Komplexní zdroj informací o skladateli / A comprehensive information source on the composer, an Internet resource created by Ondřej Šupka. Many thanks to Jadranka Važanová for her discovery and translation of this wonderful quotation.

Today is Dvořák’s 180th birthday! Below, the EuroCity 77 “Antonin Dvorak” leaving Prague for Vienna.

Related article: Johannes Brahms, railfan

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The dervish sound dress

The dervish sound dress is a piece of wearable technology inspired by the sacred experience of the whirling dervishes of Turkey.

The garment is a body instrument that emits musical sounds when the wearer moves in it, as well as triggering a haptic vibration response. It emulates the vibrations that are felt while a musician plays an instrument, and the emotional response that the musician and a performer such as a dervish feels.

The construction of the dress involves a variety of sensors that perform according to how the sound is triggered by the movement of the wearer. These determine the output based on the rotation of the dress using gyroscopes, accelerometers that measure the speed of the dress as it is turning, and flex sensors that trigger sounds when the arms are in certain positions.

The sound design component relies on organic sound samples of the classical Turkish ṭanbūr recorded by a musician and manipulated in computer music design software. This gives the garment a unique edge by functioning as a computer digitized representation of an instrument that is activated by motions of the body. The sounds are triggered using algorithms created in Max Cycling ’74 software. These patches will detect a threshold of movement by the wearer before a sound is triggered.

This according to “Dervish sound dress: Odjevni predmet sa senzorima koji emitiraju zvuk i haptičkim odzivom/The dervish sound dress: A garment using sensors that emit sound and haptic feedback” by Hedy Hurban, an essay included in Muzika–nacija–identitet/Music–nation–identity (Sarajevo: Muzikološko Društvo Federacije Bosne i Hercegovine, 2020).

Video documentation of the dervish sound dress is here.

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Journal of the Association for Technology in Music Instruction

Launched by the University of Tennessee Libraries in 2020, the Journal of the Association for Technology in Music Instruction is the official journal of the Association for Technology in Music Instruction.

The journal primarily publishes full-length and brief reports of original research, but also publishes methodological, review, and theoretical articles at all levels and across genres such as education, theory/composition, musicology, performance and music production, and music technology and music industry.

Peer-reviewed, it welcomes contributions from educators, researchers, and practitioners who are working with technologies in primary, secondary, and tertiary music education settings as well as unique learning populations. The research it publishes follows academically sanctioned methodology: experimental, case study, ethnographic, or historical.

Below, an instructional video by Robert Willey, who contributed to the inaugural issue with an article on teaching electronic music technology.

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Didjeridu playing and sleep apnea

Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome are two highly prevalent sleep disorders caused by collapse of the upper airways. The most effective intervention for these disorders is continuous positive airway pressure therapy, which reduces daytime sleepiness and the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in the most severely affected patients. For moderately affected patients who complain about snoring and daytime sleepiness, however, continuous positive airway pressure therapy may not be suitable, and other effective interventions are needed.

A didjeridu instructor noticed that he and some of his students experienced reduced daytime sleepiness and snoring after practicing with this instrument for several months. A randomized controlled experiment confirmed that regular didjeridu playing is an effective treatment alternative well accepted by patients with moderate obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

This according to “Didgeridoo playing as alternative treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome: Randomised controlled trial” by Milo A. Puhan, et al. (BMJ CCCXXXII [December 2006]; RILM Abstracts of Music Literature 2006-51373). The article won the Ig Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.

Above and below, traditional uses of the didjeridu.

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The theremin turns 100!

After the electronic oscillator was invented in 1915, revolutionizing the radio industry, the Russian inventor Léon Thérémin used this technology to develop the first fully functional electronic musical instrument; originally called the etherphone, it became widely known as the theremin.

Without touching the instrument, the player controlled pitch through relative proximity of the right hand to a vertical antenna, and volume through similar movements of the left hand in relation to a horizontal antenna. The instrument employed a heterodyne, or beat frequency system, and boasted a range of three to four octaves.

On the invitation of Lenin, Thérémin travelled throughout Russia, demonstrating his instrument, and toured Europe in 1927, causing excitement in Germany, France, and England. Later that year, Thérémin travelled to the U.S., where he remained until 1938.

In 1929 he sold his patent to the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), which made and sold 500 instruments. Leopold Stokowski collaborated on a fingerboard version, which he used with the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1929 to 1931. Thérémin performed with the New York Philharmonic and Cleveland Orchestra, and presented several coast-to-coast broadcasts. He returned to the USSR in 1938.

This according to The theremin in the emergence of electronic music by Albert Glinsky, a dissertation accepted by New York University in 1992 (RILM Abstracts of Music Literature 1992-424).

The theremin is 100 years old this month! Above and below, the inventor in action.

BONUS: A brief presentation of further historical and technical information.

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Filed under Curiosities, Instruments, Science

Sopranos and intelligibility

Many English-speaking people attending concerts sung in English readily state that they cannot understand the words being sung.

In a study, 21 subjects (15 women, 6 men), all Western classically trained performers as well as teachers of classical singing, sang 11 words—“beat, bait, Bob, boat, boot,” representing the most frequently occurring vowels in practice, and “bit, bet, bat, bought, but, book,” representing the other six vowels that occur less frequently—arranged in six random orders, singing on two pitches a musical fifth apart.

The sung words were cropped to isolate the vowels, and listening tapes were created. Two listening groups, four singing teachers and five speech-language pathologists, were asked to identify the vowels intended by the singers. In general, vowel intelligibility was lower with the higher pitch, and vowels sung by the women were less intelligible than those sung by the men.

This according to “Vowel intelligibility in classical singing” by Jean Westerman Gregg and Ronald C. Scherer (Journal of voice XX/2 [June 2006] 198–210; RILM Abstracts of Music Literature 2006-8289).

Many thanks to Improbable research for bringing this article to our attention! Above, an illustration from the study; below, Jason Eckardt’s Dithyramb).

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Filed under Curiosities, Science

International journal of music science, technology, and art

 

In 2019 Accademia Musicale “Studio Musica” launched International journal of music science, technology, and art, an international and double-blind peer-reviewed journal.

IJMSTA provides a platform for the publication of the most advanced research in music in the areas of acoustics, artificial intelligence, mathematical analysis, learning and teaching, history, and ethnomusicology. The journal welcomes original empirical investigations; the papers may represent a variety of theoretical perspectives and different methodological approaches.

Below, Sheriff Ghale, one of the Ghanaian popular musicians discussed in the inaugural issue.

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Filed under New periodicals, Science

Personality and alcohol consumption by genre

 

A 2017 study compared the personality traits of Croatian classical and heavy metal musicians with norms for the Croatian population, and data on alcohol consumption with a representative sample of the general Croatian population.

Participants in the study were men (N = 249) playing either classical (N = 113) or heavy metal music (N = 136). Personality was measured with the IPIP-50 personality questionnaire, and participants answered several questions about alcohol consumption.

The study found no significant differences in personality traits between classical and heavy metal musicians, but both classical and heavy metal musicians differed significantly in personality from the norms, having higher scores on extraversion, agreeableness, and especially intellect.

Belonging to a heavy metal group was associated with consuming alcohol more often, and the frequency of alcohol consumption was statistically higher for heavy metal musicians than in the general population.

This according to “Personality traits and alcohol consumption of classical and heavy metal musicians” by Ana Butkovič and Dunja Rančić Dopuđ (Psychology of music XLV/2 [March 2017] pp. 246–56).

Above and below, members of Hladno Pivo (Cold Beer) discuss the study’s findings.

Related article: Eläkeläiset inebriated

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Filed under Curiosities, Popular music, Science

Music and handwashing

 

In an attempt to determine the effects of a training song in maintaining a self-help skill that was taught with the aid of a song, 21 preschool children were first taught to wash their hands as a ten-step procedure; then they received ten training sessions in which they washed their hands with the aid of the Handwashing song.

After training they were post-tested, then divided into four equalized groups for maintenance. The first group served as a control; the second group heard the music only from the training song as they washed their hands; the third group heard only the words, spoken in a normal voice; and the fourth group heard the complete song while washing their hands.

None of the maintenance procedures showed effects that were statistically significant when compared to any of the other procedures; however, subjects who received the words-only and complete-song conditions showed better maintenance of their post-test scores than subjects assigned to the first two groups.

This according to “Effects of music as a cue in maintaining handwashing in preschool children” by Shirley A. Kramer (Journal of music therapy XV/3 [fall 1978] pp. 136–44).

Many thanks to Improbable Research for reminding us of this timely study! Below, Danial Kheirikhah offers a dramtic demonstration.

Image by Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto from Pixabay

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Filed under Curiosities, Science