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Capturing Sound

How Technology Has Changed Music, Revised Edition

Mark Katz (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 336 pages
ISBN: 9780520261051
October 2010
$34.95, £28.00
Other Formats Available:
There is more to sound recording than just recording sound. Far from being simply a tool for the preservation of music, the technology is a catalyst. In this award-winning text, Mark Katz provides a wide-ranging, deeply informative, consistently entertaining history of recording's profound impact on the musical life of the past century, from Edison to the Internet. Fully revised and updated, this new edition adds coverage of mashups and Auto-Tune, explores recent developments in file-sharing, and includes an expanded conclusion and bibliography.

Find illustrative sound and film clips on the new companion website at
Mark Katz is Associate Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and the author of the forthcoming Groove Music.
“Mark Katz’s Capturing Sound: How Technology has Changed Music is a timely read. As the Supreme Court tackles issues relating to downloading music and file-sharing, Katz . . . examines how recording technology has influenced the ways we make and listen to music. Katz’s discussion of the topic is far-ranging and illuminating. . . . As Katz progresses from the development of the phonograph to turntablism and digital sampling, giving examples along the way, attentive readers will likely want to hear some of the pieces cited. Well, there’s no need to visit iTunes because the book comes with a CD of recordings. The disc makes Capturing Sound a good read and a good listen.”—John Lewis Baltimore Mag
“Katz’s Capturing Sound represents an emerging musicology that is equally at home with the popular and the classical. . . . The book concisely covers an astonishing range of topics linked to the rise of recording technology over the last century. . . . Katz’s approach is primarily historical, drawing on an impressive array of documentation from recording archives, advertising, and literary sources.”—Joseph Auner Institute For Studies In American Music
“Capturing Sound is an interesting, insightful, and informative journey into the origins of recording technology.”—Marian S. Schultz Music Educators Journal
“Of a number of recent books on the history of recording. . . .Katz’s book is the most approachable. . . . In lucid, evenhanded prose, it ranges all over the map, from classical to hip-hop.”—Alex Ross New Yorker
“A creative and highly original examination of the countless ways in which recordings . . . have transformed our understanding of what we listen to and for. Katz is at home in every musical genre.”—Tim Page Washington Post Book World
"In Capturing Sound, Mark Katz focuses on the overwhelming technological transformation that changed music from a medium of elite and canonical performances to a mass-consumed fashion-object experienced privately. Underneath the wealth of scholarship and insight about how new recording techniques continue to change our experience of music, Katz wonders how we ourselves have been changed by the successive recording technologies that emerged since Edison. This is a one-of-a-kind book. It will change your mind about why and how we listen to music."—Giles Slade, author of Made To Break

"I only wish I had put as much thought into making records as Mark Katz does in appreciating and analyzing them. I've always said that what I do is not rocket science, but critques like this make it sound like it has a place in modern culture."—Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, composer, producer, DJ

Sally Hacker Prize, Society for the History of Technology

Choice’s Outstanding Academic Titles, Emery-Pratt

Certificate of Merit for the Best Research in General History of Recorded Sound, ARSC Awards for Excellence, Association for Recorded Sound Collections

Supplementary Materials

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9. Tindle Family, home recording, New York City, ca. 1910 (page 78) Released on I'm Making You a Record: Home and Amateur Recordings on Wax Cylinder, 1902–1920, Phonozoic compact disc 001, Used by permission of Patrick Feaster.

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10. Joe "King" Oliver, "Dippermouth Blues", 1923 (page 89)

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11. Joseph Joachim, performing Johannes Brahms, Hungarian Dance no. 1 (arr. Joachim), 1903 (page 96) Released on Great Virtuosi of the Golden Age, volume 1, Pearl compact disc GEMM CD 9101. Used by permission.

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12. Jascha Heifetz, performing Johannes Brahms, Hungarian Dance no. 1 (arr. Joachim), 1920 (page 99) Released on HMV 78-rpm disc DA 245.

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13. Toscha Seidel, performing Johannes Brahms, Hungarian Dance no. 1 (arr. Joachim), 1940 (page 99) Released on The Auer Legacy, volume 2, Appian compact disc CDAPR 7016. Used by permission.

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14. Mischa Elman, violin, performing Frédéric Chopin, Nocturne in E-flat, op. 9, no. 2 (arr. Pablo de Sarasate), 1910 (page 104)

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15. Jascha Heifetz, violin, performing Frédéric Chopin, Nocturne in E-flat, op. 9, no. 2 (arr. Pablo de Sarasate), 1910 (page 104) Released on Jascha Heifetz: The Early Victor Recordings, Biddulph compact disc LAB 015. Used by permission.

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16. Paul Hindemith, Originalwerk für Schallplatte: Instrumental Trickaufnahme, 1930 (excerpt) (page 110) Used by permission of Dr. Martin Elste and the Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung PK, Berlin.

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19. I.Emerge, "Hardcore Scratching", 2003 (page 137)
Used by permission.

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20. Paul Lansky, Notjustmoreidlechatter, 1988 (page 151)
Released on More Than Idle Chatter, Bridge compact disc BCD 9050. Used by permission.

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22. Camille Yarborough, "Take Yo Praise", 1975 (page 154)
Released on The Iron Pot Cooker, Vanguard compact disc 79356–2. Used by permission.

1. Violinist Itzhak Perlman in performance (page 24)

2. Violinist Jascha Heifetz in performance (page 25)

3. The McGurk Effect (page 25)

5. Elvis Presley, "Blue Moon of Kentucky", released version, 1954 (page 49)

6. Elvis Presley, "Blue Moon of Kentucky", outtake, 1954 (page 49)

7. Cher, "Believe", 1998 (page 51)

8. The Black Eyed Peas, "Boom Boom Pow", 2009 (page 51)

17. DJ Dexta, DMC battle routine, 1999 (page 133)

18. DJ Dopey, Allies All Star Beatdown routine, 2001 (page 133)

21. Fatboy Slim, "Praise You", 1998 (excerpt) (page 154)

23. Public Enemy, "Fight the Power", 1990 (page 160)

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