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The impact of digital technologies on music has been overwhelming: since the commercialisation of these technologies in the early 1980s, both the practice of music and thinking about it have changed almost beyond all recognition. From the rise of digital music making to digital dissemination, these changes have attracted considerable academic attention across disciplines,within, but also beyond, established areas of academic musical research. Through chapters by scholars at the forefront of research and shorter 'personal takes' from knowledgeable practitioners in the field, this Companion brings the relationship between digital technology and musical culture alive by considering both theory and practice. It provides a comprehensive and balanced introduction to the place of music within digital culture as a whole, with recurring themes and topics that include music and the Internet, social networking and participatory culture, music recommendation systems, virtuality, posthumanism, surveillance, copyright, and new business models for music production.

Authors: Nicholas Cook, Martin Scherzinger, Ingrid Monson, K. E. Goldschmitt, Nick Seaver, Sumanth S. Gopinath Jason Stanyek, Peter McMurray, Monique M. Ingalls, Paul Sanden, Isabella van Elferen, David Trippett, Shzr Ee Tan.

Practitioners / personal takes: Lee Marshall, Ben Sinclair, Stéphan-Eloïse Gras, Adam Harper, Mariana Lopez, Graham St John, Alan Blackwell, Sam Aaron, Alex McLean, Andrew McPherson, Steve Savage, Julio d'Escriván, Stephen Baysted, Frances Dyson.

The Cambridge Companion to Music in Digital Cultureedited by N. Cook, M. Ingalls, D. Trippett (CUP, 2019)

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Sound and Virtuality

Immersive media have grown exponentially over the last decade, in part as a result of research driven by the markets for high-end gaming and military simulations. While vision has typically dominated discussions of virtual reality, sound has an undetermined claim to be the primary sense for situating our body in space. We hear in 360 degrees, while we typically see in 180, after all.


This book examines case studies of sound technologies that simulate environments. These range from obvious venues, such as digital simulcasting of theatres and operas in surround sound, to the transposing algorithms of hearing aids and devices for prosthetic hearing that augment our notion of what reality is, or can be. The book closes with an investigation into music's relation to posthumanism, a provocative worldview that, in its broadest sense, anticipates an increasing merger between human body and technological device as part of a new evolutionary mantel that redefines what being human means, culturally speaking, in the twenty-first century.

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