ESP Biography

NICK SEAVER, Media Studies Grad Student interested in sound

Major: MastersComparative Media Studies

College/Employer: MIT

Year of Graduation: Not available.

Picture of Nick Seaver

Brief Biographical Sketch:

I graduated from Yale in 2007 with a degree in Interdisciplinary Literature, studying how recording technologies change the way people think of "noise" and the history of sound art. I just finished my master's degree at MIT in Comparative Media Studies.

My master's thesis was on the history of performance-based music reproduction, focusing on the player piano. I'm interested in experimental, modern music and the physical objects that are made as a part of sound art.

In the fall, I am starting a PhD in Anthropology at UC Irvine.

Outside of class, I like to listen to music, make music, and play around with computers.

Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

A3552: Experimental Music in HSSP Summer 2010 (Jul. 11, 2010 - Jul. 11, 2011)
What is music? Experimental music tries to push the boundaries of what counts as "music" by exploring unusual answers to these questions. Beginning in the 20th century, composers, performers, and inventors came up with a wide variety of experimental musics that stretched the imagination, challenged the ears, and broke with tradition. Technologies for making sounds like the phonograph, synthesizer, and computer allowed new kinds of music to be made. In this class, you will learn about the history of experimental music from the early 20th century to today and discuss what "experimental" means; you will get to perform some historical pieces; and you will have the chance to compose your own experimental pieces. We will be looking at the music technology of the 20th (and 21st) century, learning how it works, and using it to make and think about experimental music. Students who took the version of this class taught last summer (see the syllabus and course materials here: ) had this to say: "This was my favorite class at HSSP this year." "I <3333 you and your class. Seriously. Best class I've taken at HSSP- it's the one I keep telling people about. Thank you so much! This was a great part of my summer- definitely one of the best parts." (This class has some overlap with "Sound in the 20th Century" taught last summer, but focuses more on in-class performance and student activities. Repeat students are welcome!)

A2405: Sound in the 20th Century in HSSP Summer 2009 (Jul. 12, 2009)
Can you play a piano by hitting it with a hammer? What is the difference between noise and music? This course will look at the history of sound in the arts over the course of the 20th century, from Futurist noise-makers, through John Cage and his infamous "silent" pieces, to the present day. We'll talk about how sound is used, listen to examples of experimental music, and even make some of our own! For an idea of some of the things we'll be talking about (and doing), check out the videos here: