A vinyl record

Listening after Electricity, from Opera to Pop


This course was available in the past and may be presented again as part of the Open Enrollment curriculum.

Most of the music we hear today is electric. Even listening to a string quartet through a home stereo is electric by virtue of the components reproducing a recording through a speaker. In this course, students will investigate a range of electric sounds utilizing technologies dating back to the 19th century. During this era, audio technology progressed alongside the industrial revolution, complicating notions of time and space through inventions like the phonograph. Over time, artists both academic and popular employed these technologies for musical purposes producing affects from the experimental to the funky, even framing the transition from blues to rock. Both students who are new to music history and those who aren't will be accommodated and challenged in this course. In this way, students with a broad range of artistic backgrounds and skill levels will work together, piecing together how exactly we’ve arrived at the music of today.

Course Outline

Course Syllabus

Required Texts (all texts and links will be available on Canvas):

“Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music” by Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner, 2004, ISBN-13: 978-1501318368

“Pink Noises” by Tara Rodgers, 2010, ISBN-13: 978-0-8223-4673-9

“Beep: A Documentary History of Game Sound” by Karen Collins, 2018, Documentary Film, https://vimeo.com/234211603


Online registration deadline: Thursday, Sept 22 at 5 pm CT.