Analog Audio Synthesis

Oscillations, Traces, and Trajectories

Authored by: Peer D. Bode

The Routledge Companion to Media Technology and Obsolescence

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138216266
eBook ISBN: 9781315442686
Adobe ISBN:


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There is a beginning, middle, now, and next; beginning, now, middle, and unexpected; now, middle, beginning, and ruptured. Possibly more surprising than that events, moments, and times are linear, having a limited timeframe in a sequential additive progression, is the situation of events occurring in unpredictable ways. An argument could be made that sound-making and music-making are human occurrences, rich time-based forms, infinitely varied vibrational pitch events that participate in the varied paths of our human history. The sound arts as well as the visual arts, the time-based arts, are only deepening in their variety and their accessibility. The means to create and deliver these forms are changing. How does a culture develop and organize its material progress and evolution? Technological development sees periods of invention and innovation intertwined with periods of refinement and diversification. Technologies now are commonly need-tested and market-tested to determine viability. The pressure of innovation, improvements, and the pressure that comes from needing some degree of change, as well as repetition and ritual, are steered by many forces, not by industry alone. Change is with us, we cannot escape it. Having said that, contemporary acts of communication and development have long histories, the patterns of which and the lessons of which, can only be seen over time, at a distance. To be critical and to better understand the notion of obsolescence, the obsolete, and to use it productively, we need to consider that it functions within time-based forms. To consider and focus on varied timeframes alters the notion of obsolescence, its object, its impact, its usefulness. Let us start by enlarging our timeframe. By considering electronic music technologies and specifically analog electronic music technologies in the context of various historical conceptual trajectories, we can observe many seemingly diverse events, thick with living puzzles and queries, rich with historical connections. What follows is a directed weaving of concepts and narratives.

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