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The Relentless Pursuit of ToneTimbre in Popular Music$
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Robert Fink, Melinda Latour, and Zachary Wallmark

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199985227

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199985227.001.0001

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Hearing Timbre

Hearing Timbre

Perceptual Learning among Early Bay Area Ravers

Chapter:
(p.21) 1 Hearing Timbre
Source:
The Relentless Pursuit of Tone
Author(s):

Cornelia Fales

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199985227.003.0002

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.

Keywords:   EDM, electronic dance music, perceptual learning, timbre perception, Web ethnography, San Francisco

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