Listening Spaces

The proliferation of portable as well as computerized audio technologies has transformed radically the way the human beings listen, consume, and produce music and sound. We can personalize endlessly the sounds emanating from our cell-phones or use tablet computers as virtual mixing boards and turntables. We have gone from the labor intensive, analog, tactile and at times intensely emotional experience of making a “mixtape” to dragging and dropping files onto playlists. Impersonal machines and equations are doing what friends, acquaintances, DJs and record-store owners once did: recommending music for us to purchase, listen to and enjoy. Led by STUDIO fellows Richard Purcell of the English Department, and Richard Randall of the School of Music, “Listening Spaces” seeks to investigate the overwhelming impact these mediating technologies have had on our social and personal interactions with music.  It will include a research project, a series of events, and the development of an undergraduate course, all oriented toward exploring four fundamental questions: What do we do with music? Where do we get music? How and why do we share music? How and why do we recommend music?

Funding provided by the Media Initiative 2011-2014 of the Center for the Arts in Society at Carnegie Mellon University.