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Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathAudio
Intonarumori (Russolo, Luigi), 1914Imaginary Landscape No. 1 (Cage, John), 1939

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Russolo constructed special mechanical noise generators and demonstrated these ‹intonarumori› at events attended by important artists and musicians of the time. Edgard Varèse, John Cage and others were influenced by Russolo's art of noise and were the first to implement percussion instruments, which had hitherto primarily been used in art music for the purpose of rhythmic accentuation, as carriers of a music consisting of timbres of noise.

Radio art

With his piece «Imaginary Landscape No. 4,» in 1951 John Cage was the first person to perform the peculiarities of the radio—the cheeping and hissing, the accidental juxtaposition of language, music and noise on the waveband—in a composition. He not only used the natural sounds of noise, which from a traditional point of view are perhaps only just acceptable, rather he also used the side effects of technical media, which are typically absolutely undesirable in music, as musical material. A specific ‹radio art› developed out of this approach in the 1960s that thematized the aesthetic effects of the


transmission and perception of sound via radio as well as the social conditions of radio production and consumption. In radio collages consisting of audio fragments, Negativland, for example, show the aesthetic and social effects of the merchandising control of media content and from this—as did John Oswald—they derive their demand for the preservation of the creative scope when dealing with technology.[12]


The storage of sound through the phonograph and the gramophone enabled the unlimited reproduction of music. Whereas sheet music was only disseminated amongst the bourgeoisie, the record was the first musical medium to reach listeners of all classes. Like transmission, sound recording also changed production and reception as the two areas were now separated in terms of both time and space. Because listeners were no longer dependent on musicians, for the first time they were able to integrate music into their daily lives. Music had, so to speak, become a ubiquitous source of nourishment.

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