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Sounding Metaphors in Early Electronic Music’s History: the Interaction of Technological Affordances, Conceptual Metaphors and Aesthetics

Bridges, Brian and Graham, Ricky (2016) Sounding Metaphors in Early Electronic Music’s History: the Interaction of Technological Affordances, Conceptual Metaphors and Aesthetics. In: Ideopreneurial Entrephonics II: A Festival of Sound Art and Electronic Instruments, Dublin (organised by Trinity College Dublin Department of Music, event in Freemasons Hall). https://ideosite.wordpress.com/. 16 pp. [Conference contribution]

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URL: https://ideosite.wordpress.com/


Histories of electronic music tend to gravitate towards either of two main narrative strategies, chronicling key technological developments (with brief mentions of pioneering creative works) or favouring thematic accounts of aesthetic schools and their conceptual rivalries. These strategies each have their own productive merits, but, when taken separately, may sometimes obscure connections between the technologies and more general features of emerging musical languages. We believe that two concepts may help us to develop more integrated narratives of early electronic music.The concept of affordances, originating in the ecological perception of J. J. Gibson (1966; 1979) and later used in interaction design, entails the ‘action possibilities’ of a particular object or technology. Rather than simply a case of the adage of ‘form following function’, affordances are cases where actor and tool intersect, with form guiding or constraining the interaction. Cultural factors may still be considered in this context, interacting with technological factors to define ‘aesthetic affordances’: shared practices and conventions. Some of the affordances of electronic music technologies could also be seen as serving as conceptual metaphors for their usage; for example, musicians’ basic understanding of the affordances of analogue synthesis technologies. In more general terms, embodied image schema theory (Lakoff and Johnson, 1980; 1999) sees bodily gesture as the foundation of conceptual metaphors; our understanding of concepts, including technological concepts, may be framed by embodied logics. We believe that an approach which connects affordances with conceptual metaphors may allow for deeper understanding of the structures of early electronic musical expression.

Item Type:Conference contribution (Paper)
Keywords:affordances, synthesis, electronic music, aesthetics, embodied cognition
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Arts
Faculty of Arts > School of Creative Arts and Technologies
Research Institutes and Groups:Arts and Humanities Research Institute
Arts and Humanities Research Institute > Creative Arts and Technologies
ID Code:36063
Deposited By: Dr Brian Bridges
Deposited On:25 Oct 2016 07:43
Last Modified:17 Oct 2017 16:26

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