The Instrument as Medium: Phonographic Work

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To understand the emergence of new sound instruments through media technology, it is helpful to overcome the limitations of thought that arise from the history of European art music. The Western European cultural tradition of the instrumental production of sounds is almost opposite to the concept of sound art. It follows the tradition of abstraction from concrete sound in favor of melodic and later harmonic structure. Here an instrument is necessary tomake the signs of time and pitch of the written score (re-)sound. More precisely, the sound of an instrument is an accidental property of the tone, which is defined by its frequency, its pitch. Not until the twentieth century, with its emancipation of noise, did the paradigm of pitch leave the “universe of tone,” which contrasts with the “universe of sound.” The development of technical media of sonic writing, most of all the phono-graph, which for the first time made it possible to record acoustic events in their own sound, had a decisive influence on this change.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Bloomsbury Handbook of Sound Art
EditorsSanne Krogh Groth, Holger Schulze
Number of pages10
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Publication date2020
Article number23
ISBN (Print)978-1-5013-3879-3
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5013-3880-9, 978-1-5013-3881-6, 978-1-5013-3882-3
Publication statusPublished - 2020