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The Sound of Innovation: Stanford and the Computer Music Revolution

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How a team of musicians, engineers, computer scientists, and psychologists developed computer music as an academic field and ushered in the era of digital music.In the 1960s, a team of Stanford musicians, engineers, computer scientists, and psychologists used computing in an entirely novel way: to produce and manipulate sound and create the sonic basis of new musical compo How a team of musicians, engineers, computer scientists, and psychologists developed computer music as an academic field and ushered in the era of digital music.In the 1960s, a team of Stanford musicians, engineers, computer scientists, and psychologists used computing in an entirely novel way: to produce and manipulate sound and create the sonic basis of new musical compositions. This group of interdisciplinary researchers at the nascent Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA, pronounced "karma") helped to develop computer music as an academic field, invent the technologies that underlie it, and usher in the age of digital music. In The Sound of Innovation, Andrew Nelson chronicles the history of CCRMA, tracing its origins in Stanford's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory through its present-day influence on Silicon Valley and digital music groups worldwide. Nelson emphasizes CCRMA's interdisciplinarity, which stimulates creativity at the intersections of fields; its commitment to open sharing and users; and its pioneering commercial engagement. He shows that Stanford's outsized influence on the emergence of digital music came from the intertwining of these three modes, which brought together diverse supporters with different aims around a field of shared interest. Nelson thus challenges long-standing assumptions about the divisions between art and science, between the humanities and technology, and between academic research and commercial applications, showing how the story of a small group of musicians reveals substantial insights about innovation. Nelson draws on extensive archival research and dozens of interviews with digital music pioneers; the book's website provides access to original historic documents and other material.


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How a team of musicians, engineers, computer scientists, and psychologists developed computer music as an academic field and ushered in the era of digital music.In the 1960s, a team of Stanford musicians, engineers, computer scientists, and psychologists used computing in an entirely novel way: to produce and manipulate sound and create the sonic basis of new musical compo How a team of musicians, engineers, computer scientists, and psychologists developed computer music as an academic field and ushered in the era of digital music.In the 1960s, a team of Stanford musicians, engineers, computer scientists, and psychologists used computing in an entirely novel way: to produce and manipulate sound and create the sonic basis of new musical compositions. This group of interdisciplinary researchers at the nascent Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA, pronounced "karma") helped to develop computer music as an academic field, invent the technologies that underlie it, and usher in the age of digital music. In The Sound of Innovation, Andrew Nelson chronicles the history of CCRMA, tracing its origins in Stanford's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory through its present-day influence on Silicon Valley and digital music groups worldwide. Nelson emphasizes CCRMA's interdisciplinarity, which stimulates creativity at the intersections of fields; its commitment to open sharing and users; and its pioneering commercial engagement. He shows that Stanford's outsized influence on the emergence of digital music came from the intertwining of these three modes, which brought together diverse supporters with different aims around a field of shared interest. Nelson thus challenges long-standing assumptions about the divisions between art and science, between the humanities and technology, and between academic research and commercial applications, showing how the story of a small group of musicians reveals substantial insights about innovation. Nelson draws on extensive archival research and dozens of interviews with digital music pioneers; the book's website provides access to original historic documents and other material.

30 review for The Sound of Innovation: Stanford and the Computer Music Revolution

  1. 4 out of 5

    Liam

    "These three themes -- interdisciplinarity, open innovation, and commercialization -- are threads that wind throughout the CCRMA account, stitching together diverse people, organizations, activities, and motivations against the backdrop of a changing and heterogeneous context." (7) "On March 19, 1975, Yamaha Corporation finalized its license for FM, with the clause that [John] Chowning would be highly involved in its development. This license would later become one of the most profitable in Stanf "These three themes -- interdisciplinarity, open innovation, and commercialization -- are threads that wind throughout the CCRMA account, stitching together diverse people, organizations, activities, and motivations against the backdrop of a changing and heterogeneous context." (7) "On March 19, 1975, Yamaha Corporation finalized its license for FM, with the clause that [John] Chowning would be highly involved in its development. This license would later become one of the most profitable in Stanford history." (54) "[P]art of the strength of the Yamaha-CCRMA relationship lay in the fact that it recognized intellectual property, royalties, consulting, musical composition, and personal ties simultaneously; it was (and remains) a robust and multifaceted relationship rather than a singular contractual one." (80) "Stanford's interest, of course, lay in sharing FM as widely as possible (and in realizing the accompanying licensing revenue); Yamaha's interest lay in protecting and growing its own business. Though the two organizations were important collaborators in bringing FM technology to market, their ultimate aims were not entirely aligned." (93) "[T]here is some evidence that university development efforts [of Sondius XG] were actually harmful to the technology's diffusion." (141)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Sawruk

    Focused a little too much on technology transfer and intellectual property issues. I would have preferred if it went into more depth on the technical specifications. (I have several books written by CCRMA faculty and alum that cover that area in depth, so I am well versed in that side of the story).

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    786.76097 N424 2015

  4. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Brown

  5. 5 out of 5

    Drew Lawton

  6. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alejandro Romero godínez

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ethan Geller

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marc Manley

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tim Boyle

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Finer

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    Yan

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bill

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  17. 5 out of 5

    Haig

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Pieters

  19. 5 out of 5

    Blair

  20. 5 out of 5

    Levan Gharibashvili

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    Arnav Barpujari

  22. 4 out of 5

    Asier

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kueter

  24. 5 out of 5

    Fionn

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lokomotywa

  26. 5 out of 5

    Miles Cassidy

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sahil

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nishanth Raj

  29. 5 out of 5

    AE

  30. 4 out of 5

    Vern Glaser

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