Paul Theberge. Any Sound You Can Imagine: Making Music/Consuming Technology. Hanover: Wesleyan University Press, 1997. xx, 293 pp.
In 1904 Erich M. von Hornbostel and Otto Abraham published an article entitled "On the Significance of the Phonograph for Comparative Musicology" in the Zeitschrift fur Ethnologie, thereby formally establishing the connection between technologies of sound recording and reproduction, and their field of academic inquiry, then known as comparative musicology. Since then, both domains have developed significantly. In the United States comparative musicology became ethnomusicology in the 1950s, while in the realm of musical technologies, the primary function of the phonograph shifted from recording to playback and, more recently, to performance. A second important technological shift for musicians and musicologists alike was the spread of audiomagnetic tape recorders in the 1950s and 1960s, a development that has more recently led to the mass marketing of technologies such as digital audio tape (DAT) and record- able compact disc (CD-R). This article explains why Any Sound You Can Imagine should be part of the library of anyone who is concerned with the state of music and music making at the end of this century.
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- January 14, 2015