Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Historical Foundations of Music Technology

MUS- N 523 / 3 Cr.

This course analyzes and evaluates concepts, events, designs, and creative works that have served as catalysts in the progression of music technology over time. It also explores historical paradigms that helped shape the progression of technology in music and related fields. Treatment is given to a variety of movements, music-forms, communities and entities, that contributed to their age through technological, conceptual, and artistic innovation. Through the study of the past, the class will develop rationales for new and emerging technologies that relate to the expression of music.


REQUIRED TEXTS: Dean, R. ed. (2009) Oxford Handbook of Computer Music. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press Holmes, Thom. (2012) Electronic and Experimental Music: Technology, Music and Culture (4th Ed.) New York, London, Routledge Press.  ISBN-13: 978-0415896368 Additional readings will be provided via Canvas   OPTIONAL TEXTS: American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association. 


Objectives stem from the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) Music Technology Competencies 1, 2, and 9


  1. Organize and differentiate the historical scope, integrative nature, and various functions of music technology as a field, including various applications of music technology in music, technological development, research, pedagogy, and in other fields.

  2. Apply, analyze, and critique various terminologies and procedures in music, technology, and their combinations as employed in and associated with the work of music technology studies. This includes, but is not limited to, their respective vocabularies of practice, ways work is conceptualized, developed, synthesized, and finalized, and phases of production, presentation, and/or distribution. Students will evaluate specific connections of music technology and related areas in line with research interest, and will present a critical literature review.
  3. Possess an evaluative understanding of the connections among music, technology, music technology, and culture, including the evolution of music technology, the impact of technology on music and culture, technological influences on multiple musical styles, including contemporary styles, and their cultural contexts, and information and means for projecting future possibilities in music technology; and basic understanding of these connections with regard to current and emerging Internet- and network-based programs, services, and environments related to the creation, sharing, and distribution of music. Students will synthesize current technology tends into a proposal for conceptual and technological development.
Principles of Undergraduate Learning (PULs)

1. Demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to identify and conduct original research, scholarship or other creative endeavors appropriate to the field.

2. Communicate effectively high-level information from their field of study.

NASM Standards
Music Technology Competencies 1, 2, and 9