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Mark Jonathan Butler
Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA 19104-6205)
Technologies of Improvisation in Electronic Music Performance

In the technologically mediated world of electronic dance music, performers use pre-existent elements such as records and digital samples to create extended improvisations. Analysis of these performances uncovers a complex dynamic in which a modular approach to musical structure enables flexible adaptation and transformation of seemingly "fixed" products in live contexts. Musicians’ improvisational interactions with studio and performance equipment challenge notions of technological determinism, revealing a genre defined not so much by the machines with which it is made as by an ongoing commentary on the interaction of humans with these machines. Funding is requested for travel to complete follow-up field research in Berlin in summer 2006.

Project fields:
Music History and Criticism

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2006 – 7/31/2006