“A History of Automation in Real-Time Musical Performance”
My research explores the roles of composers, performers, and listeners in the development of technological innovations and performance practice during the twentieth century. I examine the intersection of live performance and automation technology through three case studies: the player piano in the early twentieth century, drum machines in the mid-twentieth century, and holographic performance media in the twenty-first century. In each case, I discuss the anxieties that accompanied the introduction of these new technologies, and the agency of both professional and amateur users. Melding traditional musicological methodologies, such as archival research and music analysis, with user-focused approaches from sound studies and performance studies, my work sheds light on the unpredictable and creative nature of human use, and its implications for the development of instruments and the practice of music making.
Supervisor: Lloyd Witesell