Having trouble reading this email? View it in your browser.

Wesleyan University | Center for the Humanities


Form(s of) Listening from Edison to Muzak and Beyond

Form(s of) Listening from Edison to Muzak and Beyond

Alexandra Hui • Mississippi State University

SEPTEMBER 24 @ 6 P.M. | Daniel Family Commons, Usdan University Center

This talk explores tests, surveys, indexes, and other paper forms that instruct and collect ideas about sound as listening technologies. It examines how the use of tests and surveys to gather information about listeners' practices, from the Edison Phonograph Company to Muzak, in turn shaped their understanding of music as functional. The use of surveys and indexes by the music recording industry informed the ways in which music was presented on radio, television, and film, reinforcing a specific understanding of music in listeners. Drawing on archival materials in Wesleyan's John Cage Papers, the paper situates this narrative of the development of “form listening” in relation to the late avant-garde music movement, the fledgling discipline of environmental psychology, and the larger arc of shifting ideas about the relationship between listening and the environment in twentieth-century America.

Center for the Humanities on Facebook  Center for the Humanities on Twitter

Center for the Humanities · 95 Pearl Street , Middletown, CT 06459