Tag Archives: Mass media

The first pipe organ recording

Capable of producing sounds beyond the range of human hearing, the pipe organ presents the ultimate challenge for sound recording. The first known attempt was the Columbia Records recordings of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir from late August and early September 1910, which included two organ solos played by John J. McClellan.

Probably the very first pipe organ recording was a test made on 30 August 1910, with McClellan playing Wagner’s Tannhäuser overture. Two enormous acoustic recording horns, five feet long and two feet wide, were suspended on a rope strung across the Tabernacle. Although the engineer deemed the recordings successful, apparently they were never approved for release.

This according to “The first recordings of organ music ever made” by John W. Landon (Theatre organ: Journal of the American Theatre Organ Society LIII/4 [July–August 2011] pp. 22–28). Above, the Mormon Tabernacle organ as it appeared at the time of the recording (two 15-foot wings were added in 1915).

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Filed under Instruments, Mass media, Science

Carnatic Music Idol

The “Idol” television format has gone global, and since 2004 an Indian version has featured amateur singers of popular Indian film songs. Seeing this, the producer Subhashree Thanikachalam (left)—who had already pioneered three successful television series focused on Indian music—decided to try a version presenting young performers in the classical South Indian tradition.

The result, Carnatic Music Idol, has run for two highly successful seasons and is preparing a third one. The series has done much to raise awareness of the tradition and to help viewers to understand the technical intracacies of its performance. The final rounds even call for a full rāgam-tānam-pallavi, a tour de force that was formerly considered too esoteric for general audiences.

This according to “An idol among TV shows” by Gayathri Sundaresan (Sruti 321 [June 2011] pp. 55–58. Below, an excerpt from the 2011 finals.

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Filed under Asia, Mass media, Reception

The new soundtrack

Launched by Edinburgh University Press in March 2011, The new soundtrack (ISSN 2042-8855; EISSN 2042-8863) presents cutting-edge academic and professional perspectives on the complex relationship between sound and moving images. The journal also encourages writing on more current developments, such as sound installations, computer-based delivery, and the psychology of the interaction of image and sound.

Alongside academic contributions, The new soundtrack includes contributions from practitioners in the field—composers, sound designers, and directors—giving voice to the development of professional practices. Each issue also features a short compilation of book and film reviews.

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Filed under 20th- and 21st-century music, Film music, Mass media, New periodicals

National jukebox

In May 2011 the Library of Congress launched National jukebox: Historical recordings from the Library of Congress, an Internet resource that makes historical sound recordings available to the public for free. The Jukebox includes recordings from the extraordinary collections of the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation and other contributing libraries and archives. These recordings were issued on record labels now owned by Sony Music Entertainment, which has granted the Library of Congress a gratis license to stream acoustical recordings.

At launch, the Jukebox already included over 10,000 recordings made by the Victor Talking Machine Company between 1901 and 1925. Content will be increased regularly, with additional Victor recordings and acoustically recorded titles made by other U.S. labels, including Columbia, Okeh, and some Universal Music Group-owned labels. The selections range from jazz and popular styles to ethnic traditions to Western classical works, including opera arias.

Above, a Victor acoustical recording session ca. 1920.

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Filed under 20th- and 21st-century music, Jazz and blues, Mass media, Opera, Popular music, Resources, World music

Herrmann-induced vertigo

For his main title music for Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, Bernard Herrmann used alternately ascending and descending arpeggiated chords in contrary motion in the treble and bass voices; no clear direction, up or down, is established, nor is a harmonic center confirmed. With its almost uninterrupted, destabilizing undulation, the music provides a musical evocation of vertigo that is reinforced by Hitchcock’s spiraling geometric images.

This according to “The language of music: A brief analysis of Vertigo” by Kathryn Kalinak, an essay included in her Settling the score: Music and the classical Hollywood film (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992) and reprinted in Movie music: The film reader (London: Routledge, 2003).

Today is Bernard Herrmann’s 100th birthday! Below, the virtiginous title sequence in question.

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Filed under 20th- and 21st-century music, Film music, Mass media

Journal of European popular culture

Launched by Intellect in 2010, Journal of European popular culture (ISSN 2040-6134; EISSN  20406142) investigates the present and past creative cultures of Europe. Exploring European popular imagery, media, new media, film, music, art and design, architecture, drama and dance, fine art, literature and the writing arts, and more, this peer-reviewed journal is also of interest to those considering the influence of European creativity worldwide. It is edited by Graeme Harper, Owen Evans, and Cristina Johnston.

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Filed under Mass media, New periodicals, Popular music

South African audio archive

Established by Flat International in September 2010, South African audio archive is a not-for-profit visual archive of rare and sometimes unusual South African audio documents. The project aims to provide a resource for those researching South African audio history.

The database is searchable by artist, label, company, and genre, and the website includes a bibliography and a chronology of sound recording in South Africa. High-quality reproductions of album covers or record labels are provided for each entry, along with full discographic notes and annotations.

This post is part of our series celebrating Black History Month. Throughout February we will be posting about resources and landmark writings in black studies. Click here or on the Black studies category on the right to see a continuously updated page of links to all of our posts in this category.

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Filed under Africa, Black studies, Mass media, Resources

Black Grooves

Hosted by the Archives of African American Music & Culture at Indiana University, Black Grooves is a review site that aims to promote black music by providing monthly updates on interesting new releases and quality reissues in all genres—gospel, blues, jazz, funk, soul, and hip hop, as well as classical music composed or performed by black artists.

Reviews of selected new discs and DVDs are featured, with occasional attention to books and news items. An extra effort is made to track down releases by indie, underground, foreign, and other labels that are not covered in the mainstream media. While the primary focus is on African American music, related areas such as Afropop and reggae are also covered.

This post is part of our series celebrating Black History Month. Throughout February we will be posting about resources and landmark writings in black studies. Click here or on the Black studies category on the right to see a continuously updated page of links to all of our posts in this category.

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Filed under Black studies, Jazz and blues, Mass media, Popular music, Resources

Fonoteca: Radio Nacional de Colombia

 

Fonoteca: Radio Nacional de Colombia presents over 29,000 historical recordings, including speeches by presidents and public employees since 1940, serials since 1941, interviews since 1944, religious music festivals, llanera, bagpipes, porro, vallenato, rock, reggae, and Native American music from 1975 to date, as well as lectures and high school class broadcasts from 1960 through 2004.

The site also features the virtual Fonoteca radio station, whose broadcasts have long been part of the youth-oriented Radionica, the Radio Nacional de Colombia FM station.

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Filed under Mass media, Popular music, Resources, South America

Karaoke and class

Karaoke challenges the hegemony of the status quo by breaking down the received rules of cultural production and challenging binary notions of high vs. low art, live vs. recorded performance, and amateur vs. professional performers.

In so doing, karaoke engenders liveness anxiety—a territorial behavior among social critics, scholars, and performers that comprises a fear of performances that do not fit the template dictated by the wielders of cultural power. Karaoke is a viable site for mounting a lower-class defense against the onslaught of cultural elites; and its multibillion-dollar industry continues to grow every year.

This according to “Liveness anxiety: Karaoke and the performance of class” by Kevin Brown (Popular entertainment studies I/2 [2010], pp. 61–77). Thanks to the Improbable Research blog for bringing this article to our attention!

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Filed under Mass media, Performance practice, Popular music, Reception