Monthly Archives: August 2018

Class meeting #3 – Digital audio formats – Monday 9/17


Sterne, p. 1–31; Kittler, p. 1–19 only


Pick a digital format (it does not have to be an audio format) that you are familiar with (not the MP3 or the LP) and, following Sterne and/or Kittler, describe how you think how the technical or material facts about your chosen format can be used as evidence of one or more of the following, more broadly reaching, concerns: specific social practices and habits of media consumption, the aesthetic priorities of artists who make use of your chosen format, any empirical human-centered user research that was used in the development of that format, the fetishization of innovation (conversely, Luddism), or any other topic of your choice.

Class meeting #2 – Vocal synthesis: Voder to Vocaloid – Monday 9/10


Use the DOI links in the bibliography below to retrieve the readings using the Columbia Libraries e-resources. We will read only a small section of the Tompkins; I will scan and upload the relevant pages here.

Courtesy links: [Tompkins, pp. 18-50]


In a short (150-200 word hard max.) response to these three readings, briefly describe a theme or topic common to all readings.


There are thousands of tracks using speech synthesis. Recently, Porter Robinson’s album, Worlds, makes heavy use of Vocaloid software. Two contemporary examples of the vocoder include Taylor Swift, “Delicate” (at the beginning) or Zedd and Maren Morris, “The Middle” (at 0:36). In both cases, the vocoder is used to provide backing vocals supporting the lead singer (so the tracks include both the unprocessed “dry” vocals as well as the “wet” vocoded part). You should also have a look at this short excerpt from the 1939 demo of the Voder.