Carnegie Mellon University

Center for the Arts in Society

Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and College of Fine Arts

Listening Spaces

Listening Spaces

Listening Spaces is an interdisciplinary project that aimed to explore the ethical, political and cultural significance of the digital music revolution. In particular, we have focused on the role old and new recording formats, playback technology as well as digitized distribution networks has had on the listening and consumptive habits of music communities in the 21st century. In conjunction with our focus on listeners we ae just as interested in how the digital music revolution also has transformed our concept of music making—what musicologist Christopher Small termed “musiking”—as well as the value (whether that be cultural or commercial) that we put on the labor behind musiking in the 21st century.  In order to explore these topics, we brought a series of speakers to campus from sound artists and music archivists to ethnomusicologists and labor historians. We also have taught a graduate level seminar that combines cultural studies, music theoretic, musicological, and social psychological methods to explore the role of digital music in the 21st century. The project has also generated an anthology of essays, which we aim to publish soon. We have translated some of the themes and findings of Listening Spaces into a series of lectures and events on music in the 21st century for CMU’s Humanities Center during the academic year 2014-15.