Sean Luyk

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Music Criticism


Geoffrey M. Rockwell




To turn is to arrive. The turning of the music listener documents the arrival of a new kind of music listener turned with the advent of sound reproduction technologies in the late nineteenth century, a music listener shaped by their interaction with the material forms of music consumption more than ever before. This work discusses the material forms of music consumption across three epochs which all heralded major turns for the music listener: the gramophone record (its pre-1945 manifestations), the compact disc, and the iPod and music file. Historical discussions of the introduction of new technologies of sound reproduction are discussed alongside music listener discourse on their experiences with mediated music listening. Furthermore, the social constructions of the major technologies in each epoch are discussed, highlighting the cultural situatedness of their development. In addition to a thorough overview of conceptualizations of mediated sound as they relate to music listening experiences, and discussions of influential work on this topic, changes in the way music listeners experience music are discussed, reflecting upon the cultural and technological mediation responsible for these changes. Changes in the way music listeners own and collect music, as well as changes in the space and place of music listening are revealed in each epoch, as well as the influence of technologies of inscription on music listening experiences. Along with a methodology of Internet research, computer-assisted text analysis is used to identify major changes in the iPod epoch for music listeners, as evident in blog discourse on iPod use.

McMaster University Library

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