Music 3240 –– “Musical Technologies and the Natural World”

This course was designed as a space for undergraduate students at Cornell University to explore the complex entanglings of Nature and Culture (not to mention this confusing bifurcation), specifically as expressed through experimental musics in our contemporary “technological age.” Students were asked to negotiate this complex headspace in two avenues, one scholarly, where students interacted with readings sourced from the fields of sound studies, acoustic ecology, and “eco-musicology” through regular reading responses, presentations, and classroom discussion; the other creative, where students were asked to engage with topic areas from the course through six distinct assignments, each crafted to give them insight into the interest behind a particular body of creative work, and to provide them with a basic palette of audio technology skills, from field recording to basic studio production and sound design. A complete syllabus is available here for perusal.

Although many of the topics explored in this class could be complex and contradictory, often maddeningly so, my agenda was fairly simple: to show that a culture’s relationship to the natural world is as complicated as impregnated with its most unattainable ideals, and to insist that these students flex their auditory muscles through their creative work and become attentive listeners to their quotidian world of noise.

This webpage is dedicated to the fifteen wonderfully patient, creative, thoughtful and respectfully provocative individuals who showed up on day one and stuck it out straight through to the end. Linked below are individualized pages featuring the work they did for their final projects.

Read Barbee –– Bird + Radio

Rachael Cusick –– “Nature in Her Manner of Operation

Jared Frank –– Footsteps

Yordanos Goshu –– Poetry in Motion

Emily Gustafson –– Klarman by Klarman

Soren Malpass –– Shorelines

Brad Nathanson –– Music Technology and the Built Environment

Joe Nechleba –– Shared Language

Elizabeth Reigel –– Felling

Josh Sadinsky –– Music and Nature: The Importance of Listening and Conservation

Grant Stento –– Sound in Color

Nick Swan ––The Natural Merits of Post-WWII Bebop

Tyler Tracy –– Sounds of Chaos

Thomas Valerio –– bugs

Jared Wong –– Sounds Across America: A Collection of Stochastic Soundscapes