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FU-BEST 29: Music in the Digital Age (Fall only)

InstructorDr. Lula Romero
Credit Points6 ECTS

Fall semester only


There is hardly any musical style, genre or context which has not been significantly affected by the pervasive digitalization of recent decades. From digital audio workstations to computer-generated music, from laptop performances to fan remixes, from cloud computing to commercial distribution channels – digital technology has profoundly changed the ways in which music is produced, performed, disseminated and consumed. In this course, we will examine the nature of these shifts and sample salient and productive intersections of music and technology. Through specific case studies, we will tackle the following questions: How have digital technologies enabled unprecedented modes of making, using and perceiving music? In what ways has digital mediatization shaped our experiences with musical content and style? And how do we reconcile the long-established connections between music, performance and liveness in an era when the paradigm of reproduction seems to be omnipresent?

In the first five sessions we will consider the impact of digital technologies on the production of music. After an introducing outline of basic shifts in music and musicianship caused by digitalization and the computer, we will look at concrete musical examples in order to understand the influence of digital technologies both on the creative process of music making and on the aesthetic reflection on it.

The second half of the course will start with exemplary examinations of digital music technologies in music-related genres and domains, such as film, video games or sound art.

At the end of the semester we will extend the scope and consider cultural issues that are entailed by digital possibilities of sharing, disseminating and consuming music. In particular, we will discuss the intertwining of digitization and commodification as well as its impact on the experience of music in everyday life.