• Image of Alexandra Hui

CISM in the Archive: Functional Music, Material Music: The Edison-Carnegie Mood Music Studies

Wed, 03/31/2021 - 3:30pm

Location: Online

UCSB Library and the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music present a talk by Alexandra Hui, part of the annual CISM in the Archive series featuring presentations by scholars highlighting sound recording materials in the Library’s Special Research Collections.

Hui will discuss the internal studies and large public survey performed by the Edison-Carnegie Music Research Program towards the development of the Mood Music pamphlet. She will show how both the experiments and Mood Music marketing campaign contributed to the creation of a consumer base that understood music to be functional, capable of altering one’s body and mind. The application of this functional understanding of music is evident in the music organizational strategies of the Edison Company and beyond. Hui encourages us to reflect on how the material nature of recorded music combines with faith in its functional features to inform contemporary musical categories, from Spotify playlists to organizational strategies in the archive.
Alexandra Hui is a historian of science who works at the intersection of sound studies, the history of science, and environmental history, and co-editor of the journal Isis. In addition to several scholarly articles and book chapters, she is the author of The Psychophysical Ear: Musical Experiments, Experimental Sounds, 1840-1910 (MIT Press, 2012), and co-editor of both the 2013 volume of Osiris: Music, Sound, and the Laboratory from 1750-1980 and Testing Hearing: the Making of Modern Aurality (Oxford University Press, 2020). She has received awards and fellowships from the European Society for the History of the Human Sciences, the Smithsonian Institute, the National Science Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. 
Hui is currently preparing two monographs. The first, Sonifying Space: A History of the Science of Background Music, 1910-2010, examines the co-development of new listening forms and background music technology. The second research project, Listening to Nature: Standardized Soundscapes and Imagined Ecologies, 1900-2000 is a comparative study of how field scientists listen to the environment. Which means Hui currently listens to a lot of Muzak and talks to a lot of duck hunters.

Find the Library event page here

  1. March 31, 2021 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
  • Image of Lauren Yee

CISM Talk: Lauren Yee and Senon Williams: The Music of Cambodian Rock Band
February 10, 2021
3:30 – 5 PM PST

In this conversational talk, playwright Lauren Yee and musician Senon Williams discuss the music behind Yee’s award-winning play Cambodian Rock Band—equal parts comedy, history, mystery and rock concert—about the resilient bond of family and the enduring power of music. The play thrusts us into the life of a young woman trying to take down a Khmer Rouge war criminal thirty years after her father fled Cambodia. Yee will present her work in conversation with collaborator Senon Williams, a member of long-term LA-based band Dengue Fever, to describe the play’s mix of contemporary Dengue Fever hits and classic Cambodian oldies, and the importance of this music for Cambodian and Cambodian American narratives of identity and personal history.

Lauren Yee is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and TV writer born and raised in San Francisco. She currently lives in New York City.

Senon Williams is a visual artist and musician. He performs in the LA-based Cambodian rock band Dengue Fever.

Organized by UCSB Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music, with sponsorship from the Department of Theater and Dance and Department of Asian American Studies.

Topic: CISM Lauren Yee Senon Williams Cambodian Rock Band
Time: Feb 10, 2021 03:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 884 2465 6588
Passcode: 182216
  1. February 10, 2021 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
  • Image of Senyawa
Talk and Performance: Senyawa
Feb 5, 2021
7 - 8:30 PM
A performance and live conversation with the experimental band Senyawa from Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The band Rully Shabara and Wukir Suryadi will discuss the transnational release of their latest album Alkisah, experimental music in Indonesia, the digital decentralization of the global music industry, and their creative lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. Free and open to the public.
Hosted by UCSB Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music
Feb 5, 2021 (USA) 07:00 PM PST / Feb 6, 2021 (Indonesia) 10:00 AM UTC/GMT +7
A recording can be found at our video page, here! 


  1. February 5, 2021 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm