A Most Valuable Medium
The Remediation of Oral Performance on Early Commercial Recordings
As companies sought to discover what kinds of records would appeal to consumers, they turned to performance forms already familiar to contemporary audiences—sales pitches, oratory, sermons, and stories. In A Most Valuable Medium, Richard Bauman explores the practical problems that producers and performers confronted when adapting familiar oral genres to this innovative medium of sound recording. He also examines how audiences responded to these modified and commoditized presentations.
Featuring audio examples throughout and offering a novel look at the early history of sound recording, A Most Valuable Medium reveals how this new technology effected monumental change in the ways we receive information.
About the Authors
Richard Bauman is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, of Folklore, and of Communication and Culture at Indiana University. He is author most recently of A World of Others' Words: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Intertextuality and (with Charles L. Briggs) of Voices of Modernity: Language Ideologies and the Politics of Inequality. He is editor (with Patricia Sawin and Inta Gale Carpenter) of Reflections on the Folklife Festival: An Ethnography of Participant Experience.
Patrick Feaster is Cofounder and Lead Researcher at First Sounds Initiative and former Media Preservation Specialist for Indiana University's Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative. He is a specialist in the history, culture, and preservation of early sound media and a three-time Grammy nominee.
"A Most Valuable Medium brings an exquisitely tuned analytical ear to a rich collection of understudied but foundational media performances. Richard Bauman's seminal approach to verbal performance sheds new light on commercial recordings at the dawn of modern media, providing a model of historically specific intermedial scholarship and producing a cornucopia of insights about how sales pitches, political oratory, storytelling, and sermons were adapted for the phonograph. A most valuable book!"—Jacob Smith, Northwestern University
Other Titles in SOCIAL SCIENCE / Folklore & Mythology
Other Titles in Folklore, myths & legends