Nick Collins' Website

Reading List

Core Reading
Recommended Reading
Acoustics, Psychoacoustics and the Psychology of Music
Digital Audio
History of Recording
Electronic Musical Instruments
elektronische Musik
From Analogue to Digital
Into the Mainstream/Synth Pop
Electronic Dance Music
Electroacoustic Music
Analysis of Electronic Music
Audiovisuals and Broadcast Media
Sonic Art and Digital Art
Further Listening Resources
Computer Music Bibliography
Advanced Computer Music Bibliography

Core Reading

Collins, N., Schedel, M., and Wilson, S. (2013) Electronic Music. (Introductions to Music series) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Holmes, Thom (2012) Electronic and Experimental Music (4th Edition). New York, NY: Routledge
Manning, Peter (2004) Electronic and Computer Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Chadabe, Joel (1997) Electric Sound: The Past and Promise of Electronic Music. New Jersey: Prentice Hall
Collins, Nick and d'Escrivan, Julio (eds.) (2007) The Cambridge Companion to Electronic Music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Cox, Christoph and Warner, Daniel (eds.). (2004) Audio Culture : Readings in Modern Music. London; New York: Continuum

Recommended Reading

Collins, Nick (2009) Introduction to Computer Music. Chichester: Wiley
Hugill, Andrew (2008) The Digital Musician. New York, NY: Routledge
Loy, Gareth (2007) Musimathics, Volumes 1 and 2. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
Dodge, Charles and Jerse, Thomas (1997) Computer Music Synthesis, Composition, and Performance. New York: Schirmer Books
Roads, Curtis (1996) The Computer Music Tutorial. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
Prendergast, Mark (2003) The Ambient Century. London: Bloomsbury
Shapiro, Peter (ed.) (2000) Modulations. A History of Electronic Music: Throbbing Words on Sound. New York: Distributed Art Publishers Inc.
Brown, Andrew (2007) Computers in Music Education. New York, NY: Routledge
Braun, Hans-Joachim. (2002) Music and Technology in the Twentieth Century. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Théberge, Paul. (1997) Any Sound You Can Imagine: Making Music/Consuming Technology. Hanover, MH: Wesleyan University Press.
Simon Emmerson (2007) Living Electronic Music. Aldershot, Hampshire: Ashgate
Katharine Norman (2004) Sounding Art: Eight Literary Excursions Through Electronic Music. Aldershot, Hampshire: Ashgate
Barry Schrader (1982) Introduction to Electro-Acoustic Music. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Dean, Roger (ed.) (2009) The Oxford Handbook of Computer Music. NY: Oxford University Press
General Timelines of electronic music:
Electronic Music Foundation timelines
Mark Ballora's timeline
Paul Doornbusch's timeline

Digital Audio

Pohlmann, Ken C. (2005) Principles of Digital Audio (5th edition). New York: McGraw-Hill
Watkinson, John (1988) The Art of Digital Audio. London: Focal Press

Acoustics, Psychoacoustics and the Psychology of Music

Campbell, Murray and Greated, Clive (1987) The Musician's Guide to Acoustics. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Pierce, John R. (1992) The Science of Musical Sound (Revised Edition). New York, NY: W. H. Freeman and Company
Cook, Perry R. (ed.) (1999) Music, Cognition and Computerized Sound. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
Susan Hallam, Ian Cross and Michael Thaut (eds.) (2009) The Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press
William Forde Thompson (2009) Music, Thought, and Feeling: Understanding the Psychology of Music. New York, NY: Oxford University Press
Juan G. Roederer (1995) The Physics and Psychophysics of Music: An Introduction (3rd Edition) New York, NY: Springer Verlag
Deutsch, Diana (ed.) (1999) The Psychology of Music (2nd Edition). San Diego, CA: Academic Press
Everest, F. Alton (2001) The Master Handbook of Acoustics (4th Edition). New York: McGraw-Hill
Moore, Brian C.J. (2004) An Introduction to the Psychology of Hearing (5th Edition). London: Elsevier
Sloboda, John A. (1985) The Musical Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Yost, William A. (2007) Fundamentals of Hearing: An Introduction (5th Edition). Burlington, MA: Academic Press
Radio 4 programme on mathematics and music (Real Player stream)
Physics website, with good diagram materials on physics of sound

History of Recording

Archive of old cylinder recordings
Restoring old recordings, including from phonautograms
History of Recording Technology
Evolution of Recording timeline and links
Early pioneering work in electrical recording, from the website for conductor Leopold Stokowski, a famous enthusiast of recording
Reproducing piano recordings
Les Paul and Mary Ford, How High the Moon nicely demonstrates the backing multi-track tapes too
Milner, Greg (2009) Perfecting Sound Forever: The Story of Recorded Music. London: Granta
Nicholas Cook, Eric Clarke, Daniel Leech-Wilkinson, and John Rink (eds.) (2009) Cambridge Companion to Recorded Music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Frith, Simon and Andrew Goodwin, Andrew (eds.) (1990) On Record: Rock, Pop, and the Written Word. London: Routledge.
Katz, Mark (2004) Capturing Sound: How Technology has Changed Music. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Davies, Hugh (1996) A History of Sampling. Organised Sound 1(1): 3-11
Harrower, Andy (2005) Copyright Issues in Digital Music. Contemporary Music Review 24(6): 483 - 488
Palombini, C. 1993. Machine Songs V: Pierre Schaeffer. From Research into Noises to Experimental Music. Computer Music Journal 17(3): 14-19
A Beatles recording dissected: Come Together
Fun History of Sampling Java applet, showing sample sources, and later tracks which used them
Who sampled who website
The Mellotron
Plunderphonics website of John Oswald
Raiding the 20th Century; cut and paste retrospective, mash-ups aplenty
Buchanan and Goodman - The Flying Saucer (Parts 1 and 2)
Films on turntablism: Scratch (Doug Pray, 2001), Wave Twisters (Syd Garon, Eric Henry 2001)
Waters, Darren (2009) Napster: 10 years of change (including comments from Shawn Fanning)
Anderson, Nate (2009) 100 years of Big Content fearing technology in its own words Ars Technica, Last updated October 11, 2009 11:00 PM

Electronic Musical Instruments

There is a Grove article by Hugh Davies on this very topic.
See also: Hugh Davies (2002) 'Electronic instruments: classification and mechanisms' pp. 43-58 in Hans-Joachim Braun (ed.) (2002) Music and Technology in the Twentieth Century. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Telharmonium DVD (with free Quicktime downloads)
Glinsky, Albert (2000) Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press
[IMDB] Steven M. Martin (director) (1994) Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey.
All Things Theremin
Even More Things Theremin
List of instruments 1870-1990
Miessner, Benjamin F. (1936) Electronic music and instruments.. Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers 24(11), November 1936. Additional editorial comments by Phil Cirocco.
John Cage, Imaginary Landscape No. 1
Hugh Le Caine
Raymond Scott
Taxonomy of Realtime Interfaces for Electronic Music Performance
The Eigenharp

Elektronische Musik

See the main course textbooks here; Peter Manning's book is recommended on this topic.
Bjork interviews Stockhausen
Karlheinz Stockhausen official website
Interview with Konrad Boehmer about Herbert Eimert
Herbert Eimert "Introduction to Electronic Music" LP from 1963

From Analogue to Digital

Computer music from 1951
Many synthesisers are listed in:
Russ, Martin (2004) Sound Synthesis and Sampling (2nd Edition) Oxford: Focal Press
Vintage synths galore
MIDI Manufacturer's Association site
Pinch, T. J. (2002) Analog days: The invention and impact of the Moog synthesizer. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
Jenkins, Mark. (2007) Analog synthesizers : understanding, performing, buying - from the legacy of Moog to software synthesis. Amsterdam : Focal
Moog movie by Hans Fjellestad
Movie on Erkki Kurenniemi, The Future Is Not What It Used To Be (2002), directed Mika Taanila
A movie glorifying Erkki Kurenniemi's circuits!
Mikko Ojanen, Jari Suominen, Titti Kallio and Kai Lassfolk (2007) Design Principles and User Interfaces of Erkki Kurenniemi's Electronic Musical Instruments of the 1960's and 1970's. Proceedings of the 2007 Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME07), New York, NY, USA

Into the mainstream/Synth Pop

Everett, Walter (2009) The Foundations of Rock: From Blue Suede Shoes to Suite: Judy Blue Eyes. New York: Oxford University Press. Particularly pp 78-81; early uses of synthesizers in 1960s rock and pop.
Simon Reynolds (2005) Rip It Up and Start Again. London: Faber and Faber Limited
Bussy, Pascal (2005) Kraftwerk: Man, Machine and Music (3rd Edition). London: SAF Publishing Ltd.
Flur, W. (2003) I Was a Robot (2nd Ed.). London: Sanctuary Publishing Ltd.
Synth Britannia documentary (BBC, aired October 16th 2009)
Krautrock: the Rebirth of Germany (BBC, aired October 23rd 2009)
Trevor Horn interview: nice career retrospective
Kraftwerk velodrome gig/interview 2005
YouTube - Kraftwerk - Pocket Calculator Live 1981
Depeche Mode - New Life live
The Great Electroclash Swindle: later electro pop movement (1998-2002 or so) with pretensions satirised here.
Some original 8-bit: Rob Hubbard's Thalamusik (1987)
New 8-bit:Kind of Bloop: An 8-Bit Tribute to Miles Davis's Kind of Blue. Compilation (May 2009)

Electronic Dance Music

Brewster, B. and Broughton, F. (2006) Last Night a DJ Saved My Life. London: Headline Book Publishing.
Butler, M.J. (2006) Unlocking the Groove. Indiana: Indiana University Press.
Hawkins, S. (2003) Feel the Beat Come Down: house Music as Rhetoric. pp 80-102 in Allan F. Moore (ed.) (2003) Analyzing Popular Music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Redhead, S., ed. (1997) The Clubcultures Reader. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd.
Reynolds, S. (2008) Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture (2nd Ed.). London: Picador
Reynolds, S. (1999) Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture. New York: Routledge
Shapiro, P. (2005) Turn the Beat Around: The Secret History of Disco. London: Faber and Faber Limited
Theberge, P. (2001) 'Plugged in': Technology and Popular Music. In The Cambridge Companion to Pop and Rock, ed. S.Frith, W.Straw and J.Street, pp. 3-25. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Thornton, S. (1995) Club Cultures: Music, Media and Subcultural Capital. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture. Online journal
Late 1960s EDM by Delia Derbyshire
Useful listening guide (with biased text) to EDM's over-abundance of categories; listen for the continuums between supposedly separate subgenres
Sleng Teng; electro bassline for reggae, 1985
20 Best Bleep records ever made
Famous breakbeats
International Association for the Study of Popular Music
Electronic dance music cultures bibliography
Listen to a couple of early house tracks: Jamie Principle, Your Love
Jesse Saunders, On and On
Jesse Saunders recollections

Electroacoustic Music

Grove article by Simon Emmerson and Denis Smalley.
Landy, Leigh (2007) The Art of Sound Organisation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
Wishart, Trevor (1996) On Sonic Art (revised edition, edited by Simon Emmerson). New York, NY: Routledge
Truax, Barry (1999) Handbook of Acoustic Ecology (2nd Edition). Online book
ElectroAcoustic Resource Site (EARS)
Listening library of electroacoustic works
Canadian electroacoustic community educational resources
Illuminating documentary about Pierre Henry, including his later work after he left Schaeffer's circle
Interview of Alejandro Vinao
Sound spatialisation research resources
Ambisonics recordings for download
Multichannel works by Adrian Moore


Cascone, K. (2000) The Aesthetics of Failure: 'Post-digital' Tendencies in Computer Music. Computer Music Journal 24(4): 12-18.
Cascone, K. (ed.) (2003) The Laptop and Electronic Music. Contemporary Music Review 22(4).
Collins, N. (2009) Electronica. In Roger Dean (ed.) (2009) The Oxford Handbook to Computer Music. New York: Oxford University Press.
Hegarty, P. (2007) Noise/Music: A History. New York: Continuum.
Stuart, C. (2003) Damaged Sound: Glitching and Skipping Compact Discs in the Audio of Yasunao Tone, Nicolas Collins and Oval. Leonardo Music Journal 13: 47-52.
Thomson, P. (2004) Atoms and Errors: Towards a History and Aesthetics of Microsound. Organised Sound 9(2):207-218.
Young, R. (2002) Worship the Glitch. In Undercurrents: The Hidden Wiring of Modern Music, ed. R. Young, pp.45-55. London: Continuum.
Young, R. (2005) Warp: Labels Unlimited. London: Black Dog.
Legislation to protect musicians from excessive noise levels
Simon Reynolds (2005) Rip It Up and Start Again. London: Faber and Faber Limited. The chapters on Throbbing Gristle and other noise music get to the heart of some rather dark material; not for the squeamish.
Collins, Nicolas (2009) Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking (2nd Edition). New York, NY: Routledge
Ghazala, Reed (2005) Circuit-Bending : Build Your Own Alien Instruments. Chichester: Wiley
resources on David Tudor's work including circuit sketches
Electro-shock works including through bodies

Analysis of Electronic Music

Rainer Wehinger's visual score for Ligeti's Artikulation; not the best sync, but gives the right idea!
Emmerson, Simon (ed.) (1986) The Language of Electroacoustic Music. London : Macmillan
Licata, Thomas (ed.) (2002) Electroacoustic Music: Analytical Perspectives. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press
Simoni, Mary (ed.) (2006) Analytical Methods of Electroacoustic Music. New York, NY: Routledge
Organised Sound as a journal is probably the best source of analytic work in electronic music (see for instance 11(2) from August 2006), though some selected issues of Computer Music Journal are also relevant.
English translation of Michel Chion's Guide to Sound Objects


Some beautiful graphical scores
drawn sound: Xenakis, Mycenae Alpha
Images in Spectrograms by Aphex Twin, Venetian Snares
Aki Pasoulas: 'An Overview of Score and Performance in Electroacoustic Music'

Audiovisuals and Broadcast Media

Fred Collopy
Chion, M. (1994) Audio-vision. New York: Columbia University Press. Original published 1990, translated by Gorbman, C.
Cook, N. (1998) Analysing Musical Multimedia. Oxford: Oxford University Press, New York.
Spinrad, Paul (2005) The VJ Book. Feral House
[link] Bill Alves (2005) Digital Harmony of Sound and Light Computer Music Journal 29(4): 45-54
[link] Nick Collins and Fredrik Olofsson (2006) klipp av: Live Algorithmic Splicing and Audiovisual Event Capture, Computer Music Journal 30(2): 8-18
[link] Lew, Michael (2004) Live Cinema: Designing an Instrument for Cinema Editing as a Live Performance. Proceedings of New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME04).
Jaeger, Timothy. (2005) Live Cinema Unravelled (self-published) VJ Book
[link] Mia Makela (2006) Live Cinema: Language and Elements. MA thesis, Media Lab, Helsinki University of Art and Design
[link] Snider, H. (2000) Scratch Video: A Mutant Hybrid of Scratch DJ Music and Guerilla TV. Master's thesis, University of Concordia

Sonic Art and Digital Art

LaBelle, B. (2007) Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art. New York: Continuum.
Kahn, D. (1999) Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Licht, A. (2007) Sound Art: Beyond Music, Between Categories. New York, NY: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.
Reas, C., and Fry, B. (2007) Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
Wilson, S. (2002) Information Arts: Intersections of Science, Art and Technology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
UbuWeb is a great resource for experimental music and sonic art


BBC Radiophonic Workshop article by Simon Reynolds, who has a generous blog covering many music scenes
The Alchemists of Sound documentary on the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, from 2003
Creel Pone records; retrospective of rare electronic music by academics and independents 1952-1984
One of many scene following sites; one journalistic snapshot amongst many
Some classic recordings (descriptions, not source audio)
Laurie Spiegel's website
Katharine Norman's website
Alejandro Vinao's website
Some works of Clarence Barlow
Richard Taruskin analyzes the diminished audiences for contemporary classical music through the pretext of reviewing books about the subject
A Popular Guide to Unpopular Music
A course on electronic music with lots of up to date listening suggestions
MIT Open courseware: Resources for Chris Ariza's course, Music and Technology (Contemporary History and Aesthetics)

Further Listening Resources

Electronic music books, interviews, articles, videos at the marvellous ubuweb. See especially here
Out of print experimental music recordings, including electronic music
'Rare vinyl records from the golden era of avantgarde and experimental music'
Music from Mathematics LP from 1962
How to Download Free Music (hints on legal search across many tools; a few links out of date)
Harris, John (2009) . The golden age of infinite music. BBC News, last updated 08:27 GMT, Friday, 30 October 2009 LINK