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This is my place on the web. Eventually, you’ll find below all manner of publications, blog posts, microblog posts, and essays. Some of this content was previously hosted on my academic website at Columbia and on a Jekyll blog that was hosted on GitHub Pages.

[CONFERENCE PAPER] The test-disc cultures of the audio compact disc (CD) format

Details This talk will be presented on 18 December 2020 as Eamonn Bell, “The test-disc cultures of the audio compact disc (CD) format” at Sound Instruments and Sonic Cultures: An Interdisciplinary Conference, Bradford, UK. December 14–18 2020. Video A video presentation of this paper will be made available for download here after the conference. Talk outline When the digital audio CD format was launched in 1982, it introduced a new paradigm for sound reproduction to the consumer market.

[INVITED TALK] [On fugues and functionalism]

Details This talk was presented at Community Research Seminar event on AI and music at the Mellon Sawyer Seminar “Histories of AI: A Genealogy of Power” at the University of Cambridge (virtually) on 20 November 2020. Slides A PDF file with the slides for this presentation are available for download here (20.5 MB). Abstract Around 1960, Walter Reitman of the Complex Information Processing group at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) made tape recordings with his co-investigator Marta Sánchez ‘thinking aloud’, as an unnamed experimetnal subject composed a fugue at the piano keyboard.

[CONFERENCE PAPER] Subverting algorithmic policies of sonic control in Nicolas Collins’s Broken Light (1992)

Acknowledgments Introduction On Broken Light On algorithmic policies of sonic control Conclusion Funding acknowledgment Works cited Details This paper will be presented as Eamonn Bell, “Subverting algorithmic policies of sonic control in Nicolas Collins’s Broken Light (1992)” at 18th Annual Conference of the Society for Musicology in Ireland, University College Dublin/Virtual. (October 29—31 2020). Eamonn Bell, “Subverting algorithmic policies of sonic control in Nicolas Collins’s Broken Light (1992)” at Joint Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society and the Society for Music Theory (AMS/SMT), Virtual.

[CONFERENCE PAPER] Exploring time-coded comments on YouTube music videos: The past, present, and future of an emerging source for digital musicology

Details Abstract Video recording Slides Funding acknowledgment Presentation outline Introduction Previous work From the dataset Challenges Possibilties for the future Funding acknowledgment Works cited Details Presented as Eamonn Bell, “Exploring time-coded comments on YouTube music videos: The past, present, and future of an emerging source for digital musicology” at Like, share and subscribe: Youtube, music and cyberculture before and after the new decade. Research Cluster in Music and Cyberculture (CysMus).

[CONFERENCE PAPER] Reanimating the CDLink platform: A challenge for the preservation of mid-1990s Web-based interactive media and net.art

Details Presented at Engaging with Web Archives: Opportunities, Challenges and Potentialities (#EWA20 / #EWAVirtual), Maynooth University/Virtual. September 22, 2020. (Originally scheduled for 15–16 April 2020) Abstract The Voyager Company realised the creative and commercial potential of mixed-mode CD-ROMs as the platform par excellence for interactive multimedia. Starting in 1989 with the release of a HyperCard-based interactive listening guide for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Voyager tightly integrated rich multimedia, hyperlinked text, and high-quality audiovisual recordings into over 50 software releases for Mac and PC well into the late 1990s.

Uses, reuses and abuses of the compact disc at 40 — IRC New Foundations 2020

I’m delighted to announce that I have been awarded an Irish Research Council (IRC) New Foundations grant for the project “Uses, reuses and abuses of the compact disc at 40: an obsolete format and/or a new opportunity for critical digital media literacy?”. This year, the New Foundations programme supported projects that aim to “to bring science (including social science) and art/design/humanities together to work on new ways of communicating scientific concepts and/or complex societal challenges for a lay audience,” and I’m pleased to say that this project was funded under this STEAM strand.

Categorizing media defects

This is a response to a prompt over at the TAXIS blog, where we read the first chapter of the classic Geoffrey C. Bowker and Susan Leigh Star, Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences, (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000). Media in their broken states can tell us as much about their social construction as they can in their putatively “normal” modes of operation, so I’ve taken an interest in how the designers and manufacturers of CD players and CD media have managed defects in their engineering work.

All I want for Christmas is a Buchmann-Meyer pattern

Doing some reading for my current project (a history of the CD Audio format), I stumbled across a physical phenomenon that does not often crop up in discussions of the history of gramophone recording: the Buchmann-Meyer effect. This optical effect was once used to measure the quality of gramophone records, both qualitatively and quantiatively, by shining a band of light on a disc and capturing the characteristic “Christmas tree”–like pattern that is reflected back to the viewer.

Two more minimalists

Short post tonight. I often feel quite defensive when I start off thinking or writing about what I like in minimalist music, because, let’s face it – even thanks to interesting work by Music Theorists™ – there’s a fair bit of residual snobbishness in academe when it comes to this repertoire. I think the problem is that there are some composers in this style who have written some pretty bad music, and its hard to get away from the idea that choosing to study someone’s musical works has this side-effect of inaugurating the person in some sort of music-analytical Hall of Fame: “this person’s work is worth analyzing”.

A guide to free reference and academic paper management with Zotero

Update: I recently learned that box.com plans to deprecate WebDAV support in October 2019, a decision which renderse part of the workflow described here unsustainable beyond October. As I come up with an alternative solition, I will change this post to reflect the new reality. First things first, we need a reference manager. A reference manager stores bibliographic information for each reference, and most of them support associating the reference with a source file corresponding to the reference.