The practices and perception of music creation have evolved with the cultural, social and technological contexts of music and musicians. But musical authorship, in its many technical and aesthetic modes, remains an important component of music culture. Musicians are increasingly called on to share their experience in writing. However, cultural imperatives to account for composition as knowledge production and to make claims for its uniqueness inhibit the development of discourse in both expert and public spheres. Internet pioneer Philip Agre observed a discourse deficit in artificial intelligence research and proposed a critical technical practice, a single disciplinary field with “one foot planted in the craft work of design and the other foot planted in the reflexive work of critique. … A critical technical practice rethinks its own premises, re-evaluates its own methods, and reconsiders its own concepts as a routine part of its daily work.” This volume considers the potential for critical technical practice in the evolving situation of composition across a wide range of current practices. In seeking to tell more honest, useful stories of composition, it hopes to contribute to a new discourse around the creation of music.
What is sound design? What is its function in the early 21st century and into the future? Sound Works examines these questions in four parts: Part 1, "Why This Sound?", presents an overview of the modern history of sound design. Part 2 is highly visual and provides a glance onto a sound designer's workbench and the current state of "Sonic Labor." Part 3 uses cultural analysis to explore our contemporary "Living with Sounds." The final and fourth part then proposes a series of anthropological and political interpretations of how Sound Works today. This book is not a manual on sound design; it instead argues for a cultural theory of sound design for sound designers and sound artists, for clients who commission a sound design and for researchers in the fields of sound studies, design research, and cultural studies