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Science and Fiction

The Science of Sci-Fi Music

Authors: May, Andrew

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  • Of the many books on “science fiction music”, this is the only one that looks at the science aspect of the music itself
  • Gives an insight into the way music is composed, and why it sounds the way it does, in an engaging way that avoids traditional music theory or jargon
  • Shows the surprising relationships between two disparate styles that arose in the 20th century – avant-garde art music and popular sci-fi movies
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eBook $19.99
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  • ISBN 978-3-030-47833-9
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  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $24.99
price for USA in USD
About this book

The 20th century saw radical changes in the way serious music is composed and produced, including the advent of electronic instruments and novel compositional methods such as serialism and stochastic music. Unlike previous artistic revolutions, this one took its cues from the world of science.

Creating electronic sounds, in the early days, required a well-equipped laboratory and an understanding of acoustic theory. Composition became increasingly “algorithmic”, with many composers embracing the mathematics of set theory. The result was some of the most intellectually challenging music ever written – yet also some of the best known, thanks to its rapid assimilation into sci-fi movies and TV shows, from the electronic scores of Forbidden Planet and Dr Who to the other-worldly sounds of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

This book takes a close look at the science behind "science fiction" music, as well as exploring the way sci-fi imagery found its way into the work of musicians like Sun Ra and David Bowie, and how music influenced the science fiction writings of Philip K. Dick and others.

About the authors

Andrew May obtained a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Manchester in 1982 and is an experienced and versatile professional, with a career spanning academia, government and private industry. Since 2011 he has been working as a freelance writer and defence consultant. He has a wide range of interests and has written both authoritatively and entertainingly on the physical sciences, military technology, British history, science fiction, New Age beliefs and the paranormal. He has recently published Pseudoscience and Science Fiction (2017), Rockets and Ray Guns: The Sci-Fi Science of the Cold War (2018) and Fake Physics: Spoofs, Hoaxes and Fictitious Science (2019) with Springer.

Reviews

“If either the development of electronic music and avant garde musical techniques or science fiction is an interest, this book is likely to pique your attention. If both interest you, this is a book that has to be added to your collection.” (Popular Science, popsciencebooks.blogspot.com, July 17, 2020)


Table of contents (6 chapters)

Table of contents (6 chapters)
  • Alien Sounds

    Pages 1-28

    May, Andrew

  • Musical Mathematics

    Pages 29-52

    May, Andrew

  • The Electronic Revolution

    Pages 53-75

    May, Andrew

  • Scientific Music

    Pages 77-100

    May, Andrew

  • Science Fiction and Music Culture

    Pages 101-125

    May, Andrew

Buy this book

eBook $19.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-47833-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $24.99
price for USA in USD
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Science of Sci-Fi Music
Authors
Series Title
Science and Fiction
Copyright
2020
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-47833-9
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-47833-9
Softcover ISBN
978-3-030-47832-2
Series ISSN
2197-1188
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
V, 153
Number of Illustrations
11 b/w illustrations, 29 illustrations in colour
Topics