The Avant-Garde in the Family Room: American Advertising and the Domestication of Electronic Music in the 1960s and 1970s
Timothy D. Taylor
Today, the world is surrounded by electronic sounds of all kinds, which were not always so omnipresent or accepted. This article offers a history of the domestication of sounds that were initially associated with science fiction but fairly quickly found their way into television commercials. It uses the domestication concept in three ways. The first deals with the adoption of sounds associated with science fiction to use in selling products in everyday life. The second explores the complex set of processes behind the scenes by which electronic sounds were harnessed for use in selling. Under this, the article addresses the question of how electronic musicians convinced potential clients in and out of the advertising industry that such sounds could be used in advertising. Finally, the article refers the concept of domestication to the ways in which commodities were thought to become friendly products for consumers and were brought to life by electronic sounds.
This chapter investigates the timbral world of ancient Greece through a close analysis of particular types of sonic language in a selection of poetry and prose treatises, from Homeric epic to fifth-century BCE tragedy to the treatises of Aristotle and his school. By trying to locate this elusive category within accounts of music-making and sound more generally, it demonstrates not just the rich vocabulary for conveying different elements of an acoustic experience in the ancient Greek world, but the cultural valences of specific terms and images. In particular, the chapter shows how frequently the various auditory qualities that we might—however anachronistically—associate with timbre are as much social constructions as physical properties.