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Music, tech and culture roundup, bis

September 2, 2009

The National

It’s the start of school! Here are your reading assignments for the week.

Music History 101: The transition from live music performance to recordings. In the 1950s, music used to be about songs – what we now think of as standards. Whether in Paris or Poughkeepsie, people wanted to hear someone sing Cole Porter’s  “Miss Otis Regrets,” and it didn’t really matter who. With the rise of radio in the 1960s, music began to be about recordings – “Hey Jude” is not only by the Beatles, but there is a single, canonical version of it in our collective memory. In this article by Elijah Wald, he discusses the history and context of this transition, including how it reinforced racial segregation.

Intro to Sociology: Indie rock from the perspective of our parents. While “The Grown-Ups Guide to Indie Rock,” is a less than appealing title, fifty-something music critic D.J. Palladino writes an appreciation of indie music that gets closer to its heart than a score of Pitchfork 9.4 reviews ever could.

[extra credit] Advanced Topics in Neurobiology: Why we respond emotionally to music. Scientific American had a great article last month on the neurological basis of the emotional response to music. You can read a summary here, but unfortunately the full article is behind a paywall (if you happen to actually be at a college, you should have online access).

MP3: Kirsty McColl and the Pogues – Miss Otis Regrets [buy]

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