Past Event

Prof. Morgan Luker: "Matrix Listening: Lessons from the Columbia T Series" (Argentina, 1912–1923)

September 28, 2018
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
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Friday September 28th 2018
4:00PM-6:00PM (note corrected date)
701C Dodge Hall
 (The Center for Ethnomusicology, Columbia University Morningside Campus)

Free and open to the public, reception to follow

A matrix number is a code inscribed in the run out area of gramophone records. They are not relevant to the conventional listening experience and are, in fact, inaudible. Nevertheless, I argue that framing scholarly listening around matrix numbers and other forms of industrial organization can provide valuable insights into directly musical concerns. I make this argument through an examination of the Columbia “T” series, a set of hundreds of 78-rpm discs that the U.S.-based recording company produced for export to Argentina between 1912 and 1923, drawing lessons regarding genre relationality, the materiality of recorded sound, the productivity of recorded sound collections, and listening as a method.

Morgan Luker is Associate Professor of Music at Reed College. He is the author of The Tango Machine: Musical Culture in the Age of Expediency (University of Chicago Press) and the founding director of Tango for Musicians at Reed College ( His current research examines the materiality and management of historic sound recordings as objects of knowledge in and about Argentina. 

Prof. Luker is also an alumnus of Columbia's PhD program in Ethnomusicology.