Louis Niebur, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Music
Director, Music History/Musicology
- Office: CFA 133A
- Phone: (775) 784-4061
by Louis Niebur
Special Sound traces the fascinating creation and legacy of the BBC's electronic music studio, the Radiophonic Workshop, in the context of other studios in Europe and America. The BBC built a studio to provide its own avant-garde dramatic productions with experimental sounds "neither music nor sound effect." Quickly, however, a popular kind of electronic music emerged in the form of quirky jingles, signature tunes such as Doctor Who, and incidental music for hundreds of programs. These influential sounds and styles, heard by millions of listeners over decades of operation on television and radio, have served as a primary inspiration for the use of electronic instruments in popular music.
Using in-depth research in the studio's archives and papers, this book tells the history of the many engineers, composers, directors, and producers behind the studio to trace the shifting perception towards electronic music in Britain. Combining historical discussion of the people and instruments in the workshop with analysis of specific works, Louis Niebur creates a new model for understanding how the Radiophonic Workshop fits into the larger history of electronic music.
- Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (October 14, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 019536841X
- ISBN-13: 978-0195368413
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Louis Niebur is Associate Professor of Musicology at UNR. His research primarily concerns avant-garde and popular music of the post-war era, focusing on musics that bridge the categories of high and low culture in society through media technology. He has delivered and published papers on such topics as electronic television music in Britain, the use of sound effects as music in early radio drama, and the gendered role of electronic sound production, as manifested in gay electronic dance music, the role of women in early electronic music studios, and American popular music. He received his Ph.D. in musicology from UCLA with a dissertation on the development of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, one of the earliest electronic music studios, and his M.M. from the University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Niebur is also an experienced early music performer and director, having performed extensively over the last 15 years in repertoires from the 8th - 18th centuries. In his career he has worked under such distinguished early music scholars as Elizabeth Aubrey, Martin Jenni, Rebecca Baltzer, and Philip Brett. He was the director of UCLA's early music ensemble, Musica Humana, from 2002-2004, and is currently music director of Reno Early Music, the area's only early music performance group.