Perceptual Learning among Early Bay Area Ravers
This chapter explores the concept of implicit perceptual learning through the lens of timbre sensitivity in San Francisco electronic dance music (EDM) listeners in the 1990s. Cross-fertilizing theories of timbre perception with Web ethnography, the chapter argues that members of this subculture created a shared lexicon with which to describe timbral changes in EDM music. Through this discourse, listeners slowly learned to hear their own music in a new way through a process of perceptual learning. The chapter explores the valorization of “nonspecificity” in the EDM community, claiming that timbre played a crucial role in the development of an aesthetic that eschewed conventional musical signification.
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