Digital Sounds

Conférence, Music, Roma
Conférence, Music

New Technologies and Sonic Heritage

Digitalisation changes fundamentally our understanding and perception of music and sound. Until the late 19th century the primary form of making reproducible sounds was through notation. By the early 20th century technological advances had eventually led to the capturing of music and sounds with ever greater precision and better quality, making recordings not only available to a larger audience but also retrievable on demand. The latest step in this development was the introduction of digital recording systems in the 1970s, which came to revolutionise the music market—first with the Compact Disc and later with MP3 and other audio formats. Digitalisation, however, had not only an impact on the producing industry but also on how sound is being perceived in society— be it as an item of consumption, a mode of expression and communication, a bearer of meaning, or as an object of theorisation. Indeed, the prevalence and easy accessibility of noises, sounds and music has had a profound effect on how we understand audible surroundings. The conference hence takes a fresh look at the world of hearing and listening, investigating how technology transforms our understanding of sound and music and how sounds conversely create a space, in which culture reproduces itself.

The proceedings are accompanied by the first-time staging of previous concerts from the Montreux Jazz Festival Archives, creating a unique musical experience in which past music performances can be relived. The re-enactments comprise the performances of Etta James (1977) and George Benson (2015) on September 18, and PJ Harvey (2016) and Moderat (2016) on September 19.

In collaboration with École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Montreux Jazz Festival, Claude Nobs Foundation, and with the support of the Institut Français Italia.

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