Technology plays a crucial role across a broad spectrum of sonic activity, offering new cognitive frameworks and reshaping social networks in ways that challenge the conventional binary of the individual subject versus the collective. It mediates performance and listening, provides new modes of analysis, and inspires musical creation. It conditions our perception of sound as well as our ability to change it, and is thus both an appropriate tool and topic of aural research. The nexus of social, cultural, and political issues in and around music, cognition, and technology encompasses a range of interdisciplinary approaches to the question of musical meaning.
How can music “speak” and how do we have knowledge of it? What is its potential to express, represent, and communicate? How has changing expertise concerning sonic and musical knowledge shaped these questions across time and space?
Whether through studies of perception and performance, psychoacoustic experimentation, computational or linguistic analyses of musical texts, or ethnographies of musical collectives, scholars have sought to investigate the complementary issues of how music is constructed and received. The increasing—and occasionally controversial—importance of technology to this project raises a host of related questions: What are the possibilities and limitations of technology in exploring music cognition and social meaning, and how does it influence our approach to this exploration? What impact does it have on new music, and how does this feed back into our understanding of what “music” is?
This international conference draws on a wide range of scholarship, including musicology and composition, cognitive science, science and technology studies, linguistics, philosophy, computer science, performance studies and anthropology, featuring papers that attempt to reconcile the hermeneutic and the performative, the empirical and the abstract.
Keynotes were given by Eric Clarke (University of Oxford), Ichiro Fujinaga (McGill University) and Robert Gjerdingen (Northwestern University). The guest composer was Tod Machover (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
May 11–13, 2012
All events take place in the A. D. White House, unless otherwise noted.
The full conference booklet is available here.
Friday, May 11
Patterns, schemata and systems
Tyran Grillo (Cornell University) – Going Against the Grain: Synthesizing Body, Sound, and Image in (Un)real time [Video
Bryn Hughes (Ithaca College) – Does Rock Play by Its Own Rules? An Empirical Investigation of Harmonic Expectation in Rock Music [Video
Joshua Mailman (Columbia University) – Cybernetic Phenomenology and Music Ontology [Video
David Borgo (University of California, San Diego) – Agency in Coaction: A Material-Semiotic Approach to Understanding Electro-Acoustic Improvisation [Video
Jeremy Grall (University of Alabama at Birmingham) – Contemporaneousness and Process within Improvisation [Video
1:00–1:25: Performance: Cornell Avant-Garde Ensemble (CAGE)
2:30–4:00: Keynote: Robert Gjerdingen (Northwestern University) – Schema Theory Today: Challenges and Opportunities
[Lincoln Hall B20]
William Brent’s Gesturally Extended Piano and Open Shaper
Joshua Mailman and Sofia Paraskeva – "The Fluxations Human Body Movement Interface for Comprovisational Computer Music"
5:15–7:00: Dinner [on your own]
7:15–8:15: Tod Machover (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) [Barnes Hall] [Video
8:30–10:30 — CONCERT: Argento Ensemble [Barnes Hall]
Sean Friar – “Scale 9”
Bryan Christian – “Walk”
Amit Gilutz – “Miscellaneous Romance No. 1”
Eric Lindsay – “Town’s Gonna Talk”
Christopher Chandler – “the resonance after…"
Juraj Kojs – “Re-route”
Tod Machover – “Another Life”
Saturday, May 12
Text, technology and the voice
Owen Marshall (Cornell University) – The Social Construction of Autotune: Standardizing Standardization in Pitch Correction Technology [Video
Carmel Raz (Yale University) – From Trinidad to Cyberspace: Reconsidering Toch’s Geographical Fugue [Video
Psychology and the sonic object
Alexander Bonus (Duke University) – Refashioning Rhythm: Hearing, Acting, and Reacting to Metronomic Sound in Experimental Psychology, 1875–1915
Murray Dineen (University of Ottawa) – The Historical Soundscape of Monophonic Hi-Fidelity: Sonic Pathology and Loss [Video
1:30–3:00: Keynote: Eric Clarke (Oxford University) – Explorations in virtual space: music
perception and recorded music [Video
Instruments and soundscapes
Jonathan De Souza (University of Chicago) – Instruments, Affordances, Idioms; or, Three Ways to Play the Harmonica [Video
Paul Chaikin (University of Southern California) – Clattering Bells as a Field of Experience and Cognition [Video
Adem Merter Birson (Cornell University) – The Craft of the Luthier: Geometry of the Lute and Humanistic Thought in Renaissance Italy [Video
5:30–7:00: Dinner [on your own]
7:00–7:45: Discussion Panel [Barnes Hall]
8:00–10:00 — Electroacoustic Music Concert [Barnes Hall]
Nicholas Cline – “Homage to La Monte Young”
Nathan Davis – “Ecology No. 8”
Nicola Monopoli – “The Rite of Judgment”
Peter Van Zandt Lane – “Hydromancer”
Eliot Bates, Taylan Cihan – “Zey-glitch”
Stelios Manousakis – “Megas Diakosmos”
Chris Stark – “Two-Handed Storytelling”
Sunday, May 13
Music Information Retrieval
Damien McCaffery (University of Glasgow) – MIR and the Creation of Taste Tautologies [Video
Douglas Turnbull (Ithaca College) – Exploring Control and Feedback Mechanisms for Personalized Internet Radio [Video
William Brent (American University) – Physical Navigation of Virtual Timbre Spaces [Video
11:45–1:15: Keynote: Ichiro Fujinaga (McGill University) – The Research Program at the Distributed Digital Music Archives and Libraries Laboratory [Video
Music: Cognition, Technology, Society was generously funded by the Central New York Humanities Corridor, the Cornell University Department of Music’s Sidney Cox Fund, the University Lectures Committee, the GPSAFC, the Cornell Graduate School, the Society for the Humanities, the Cornell Council for the Arts, the Department of Comparative Literature and the Bartels Family.
The conference was organized by Evan Cortens and Caroline Waight. The musical performances were organized by Taylan Cihan and Eric Nathan.