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Noise practice in the digital age

Noise practice in the digital age

Duke, Russell (2020) Noise practice in the digital age. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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Abstract

Ever since Claude Shannons’ ‘A Mathematical Theory of Communication’ was published in 1948 we have sought to eliminate noise from our sources of communication. The digital age has exacerbated such a phenomenon by allowing us to abstract information into binary code and attenuate the noise that is present as part of all forms of sound processing. Sound is the term that we use to refer to vibrations of air particles when they pass through a particular medium to the ear. In the field of music all forms of sound must pass through some form of medium in order to be audible. In the analogue realm there is a relationship between the sound and the medium, such as vinyl records, magnetic tapes or microphones and amplifiers, as it is a direct representation of a signal. As this relies on some form of movement a degree of what we refer to as noise, or that which is extraneous to the original signal, is added to the signal as it passes through an analogue medium. This differs in the digital realm as rather than relying on such a movement, sound is sampled and abstracted into digital code meaning that no noise is added to the original signal. Yet since the turn of the 20 Century, composers such as Luigi Russolo and John Cage and movements such as Punk and Hip Hop used noise as a vital component in their experimentation and artistic expression of social and cultural forces. So how does noise, in this particular form, manifest itself in the digital age and can it be reconfigured in a combined digital and analogue sound practice that reflect the challenges of contemporary society?

In this thesis I have analysed the relationship between noise and music in the age of analogue and digital technology and how this has impacted on the practice of music composition. In order to this explain I have examined the concept of noise from a number of different perspectives to form a taxonomy of noise and music. From this I have documented the relationship between noise and music over the past decade and how this is particularly relevant in both the analogue and digital realms. Through a methodology of object orientated philosophy I have developed a digital and analogue music practice that aims to use noise as a experimental force to question more conventional forms of music and composition. This practice, which I have labelled Noise Practice, is documented throughout this thesis. This has included the designing and building of sound tools and composing and performing through such a practice.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: noise; digital; sound; practice; analogue music; technology; software; materiality
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Q Science > QC Physics
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Design
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2020 15:33
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/27176

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