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Unstable Modernism in the Barron Studio

Mid-century modernism in music largely flowed in two streams. One was the austere, hermetic music of composers such as Milton Babbitt, Pierre Boulez, and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Their “serialist” music was built from refined, logical, even mathematical systems, but listeners often experience it as the opposite: haphazard, frustrating, incomprehensible.[1] Akin to the flat, polished surfaces of mid-century architecture, such music offers few graspable sonic hooks by way of melody, harmony, or rhythmic pulse. It instead proffers an overwhelming pointillistic surface, overdetermined by an internal logic.[2] Serialist mid-century modernist music has roots in Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern’s enigmatic disavowals of the 1920s and ‘30s, which broke with tonality but still reproduced the forms and routines of high art music. The technologically informed Cold War resumption of the modernist project was mostly institutionally funded, as in the Darmstadt summer courses (underwritten by the American and West German governments), and the electronic studios of Columbia-Princeton (overseen by Babbitt) and the West German Radio (overseen by Stockhausen).[3]

A second stream of mid-century musical modernism was far more experimental and on the fringe—think of the New York City group around John Cage or the concept-noise-music of collectives like Fluxus, Sonic Arts Union, Musica Elettronica Viva, or the Scratch Orchestra.[4] This second, experimental modernism was more properly avant-garde in Peter Bürger’s sense of the term.[5] Experimental collectives operated with less steady funding from universities, government bureaus, or radio stations; its champions frequently disavowed institutional prestige. Like Marcel Duchamp in the visual arts (though decades later), experimental musicians questioned what sounds count as “music,” often favoring noisy sounds and politicized, incendiary, performance-art–like actions.

In this essay I’d like to introduce a third expression of mid-century musical modernism that is historically coincident with both institutional high modernism and experimental collectives, but is fully resonant with neither. This case study centers around the Barron studio—a homemade, home-based electronic studio run independently by Louis and Bebe Barron in 1950s New York City. The Barrons’ largest claim to fame was supplying a fully electronic soundtrack for the 1956 film Forbidden Planet, a high-budget B-movie that has since become a sci-fi cult classic: an over-the-top, not-quite-believable, quintessentially Cold War fetish object. Beyond MGM, the Barrons also collaborated with Cage and his circle, maintained a lifelong collaboration with Anaïs Nin as well as the writers and experimental filmmakers in her circle, and took on sound-effects work for TV advertisements, corporate training videos, and Broadway plays.

The most striking aspect of the Barrons’ work is its genre porousness: their electronic sounds resonate with the niche, conceptual, experimental tape music of the Cage circle just as well as the mass-market, mass-media orientation of Hollywood cinema. For those acquainted with the purer canonical musical modernisms laid out above, the Barrons’ porosity induces a kind of vertigo. The high-low divide largely remained intact at mid-century: the people who made Hollywood film soundtracks were, by and large, not the people who advanced either experimental or institutional modernism. Musical modernism was electronic or acoustic, it was institutionally supported or experimental, but it was always aesthetically coherent. Further, modernist musical compositions were and are largely imagined as single-author texts. Even in ostensibly collaborative scenarios such as the West German electronic music studio or the New York-based American experimentalists, we obsess over the ways that genius-personalities like Stockhausen and Cage orchestrated the scenes from their internally fueled creative imaginations.

The Barrons’ situation, then, introduces a host of factors—independent and home-based, technologically driven, aesthetically porous, relentlessly collaborative—that are not usually visible when we grapple with the stakes of modernism in music. How did the Barrons’ studio destabilize solo genius authorship? How did the collaboration extend beyond their creative partnership to a network that included technologies, creative affiliates, and funders? How does this network upend our canonical understandings of (musical) modernism? Tracing the Barrons’ varying aesthetic products as they unfolded over a ten-year span roughly aligned with the decade of the 1950s, I will attend in particular to where the Barrons received financial support, and how this impacted the genres and works they produced. Over the course of this essay, I’ll try to convince you that the Barron studio was less a place than a process. We speak of it as a stable thing: the Barron studio, you know, where X was made. But really, the Barron studio operated more like a contingent, unstable circuit, an analysis that resonates with Colleen McQuillen’s discussion of Russian modernism in this colloquy. The Barrons’ creative partnership was occasionally stabilized by external validation, but more often, their studio fluctuated as an unstable iteration of mid-century modernism: a technologically informed network that was collaborative, malleable, and contingent. Let’s examine the studio’s inputs (fig. 1).

Circuits and Currents

Louis and Bebe Barron married in 1948 and received an AEG tape recorder from a German friend. While working as journalists in New York City, they began experimenting with recording voices and sounds.[6] Shortly, they relocated to the San Francisco area, where they met Anaïs Nin and recorded her and authors in her circle reading from their literary works (fig. 1). (Aldous Huxley’s persistent musicalization of narrative, as analyzed in Sarah Terry’s contribution, provides a wonderful foil for the Barrons’ literary-musical collaborations.) The couple pressed these authors’ voices on to vinyl, selling them on their independent mail-order label “Sound Portraits.” The problem was that few people bought the records.

​​​​​​​Timeline and Network Map for Barron Studio Relationships
Fig. 1. Timeline and Network Map for Barron Studio Relationships

Sometime in 1950, the Barrons headed back for Greenwich Village, having already learned that it was an artistic hotbed. The two doubled down on their home recording studio idea, adding a Stancil-Hoffman tape recorder and a stock of magnetic tape from a relative who was an executive at 3M (Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, an innovation technology corporation). Besides their two tape machines, they included a grand piano, microphones, speakers, and circuits hand-built from vacuum tubes, capacitors, and resistors. As Nin described, it was a “jungle of electronic instruments, knobs, wires, as complex as the control panel of an airplane. It [was] separated from the living room by soundproof glass.”[7]

This was a time of artistic and intellectual ferment for the young couple. Louis (a University of Chicago graduate and self-taught electrical engineer) tore through Norbert Wiener’s recently published Cybernetics, constructing hand-built circuits based on the equations he found in the book. Together they frequented the Artists’ Club, a Greenwich Village bar that put them in proximity with “dancers, painters, singers, architects, the crème de la crème of the avant-garde.”[8] Figure 1 shows who the Barrons circulated amongst in the early 1950s—indeed, a who’s who of the New York experimental scene. It was at the Artists’ Club, after the Barrons presented their electronic sounds, that Cage and David Tudor approached them with the idea for collaborating on a “Project for Magnetic Tape.” Cage had just secured a grant of $5,000 (about $48,000 in 2020 dollars) from Paul Williams, an architect with family money that Cage had gotten to know at Black Mountain College.[9] The Barrons and the Cage group produced five tape works, many of them from related sound materials.[10] The Barrons and each of the other collaborators received a stipend of $40 per week ($384 in 2020 dollars), enough to pay their rent for the duration of the project and then some.

The work varied. Early on, the Barrons took on field recording, venturing out with their clunky equipment to gather sounds in Cage’s categories of city, country, wind-produced, manually produced, electronic, and small sounds requiring amplification. Later, the Barrons served as producers, mixing down the tape that Cage and Brown had dutifully spliced like dressmakers following a pattern. Cage eventually preferred this decentralized contractor model, advocating for it in a plea to Williams for further funding:

I originally thought of “collaboration” between engineers and composers; I now see as more practical the direction of the work by composers alone, who will obtain materials from engineers (as a painter obtains colors from a store) and who will send material to the engineers for processing (as a color-cinematographer sends film to a company for development). . . . What one will engage in then will not be ‘collaboration’ but “consultation”; and it is easy to see that not being bound to one engineer will be beneficent in such a situation since one will be able to go directly to the engineer who is best equipped to consider, advise and invent in relation to the point in question.[11]

As the compositional process unfolded, Cage seemingly demoted the Barrons. Though collecting the sounds was incredibly important and creative, as was mixing and processing, Cage eventually saw them less as creative partners and more as technicians who would handle the “busy work” and solve errant problems. Cage began the Williams project in the heady collectivism of the Artists’ Club, but reinscribed a hierarchical division of labor akin to the WDR studio in West Germany, in which the more prestigious creative work was supposed to remain relatively uncontaminated by the invisible, mercenary technical work.[12] Perhaps it was disappointing to the Barrons that they eventually functioned less as creative partners and more as Cage’s sound engineers; perhaps they accepted this as a pragmatic division of labor, perhaps some of both. In this period, the couple also sought collaborations in the Nin circle, scoring Ian Hugo’s The Bells of Atlantis (1952) and, slightly later, several films by Maya Deren, Shirley Clarke, and other experimental filmmakers.[13] But in the mid-1950s, as the grant money dwindled and Paul Williams withdrew, prodding Cage to instead find institutional money for a brick-and-mortar electronic studio, the Barrons found themselves once again short of steady funds.[14]

Given their work in film scoring, they decided to try to land a Hollywood gig that would pay real money. Buttonholing MGM head of production Dore Schary at his wife’s NYC art opening, the Barrons talked their way into a further audience with Schary and walked out of his LA office a week later with a provisional contract to provide electronic sound for Forbidden Planet. They worked non-stop on the project for over three months, using a rough-cut work print of the film and the homemade circuits of their Village studio. Their initial sounds were mostly approved, but also revised in cooperation with Johnny Green, head of MGM’s music division. Incorporating input from the film’s directors and producers, they forged ahead with what became Hollywood’s first all-electronic soundtrack, eventually receiving $25,000 ($232,425 in 2020 dollars). The Barrons used a Leitmotif approach to the film score, creating individual circuits and sounds that would represent each character (e. g., the Monster, Robbie the Robot) or scene (e. g., spaceship landing, Krell civilization).[15] Their coauthorship utilized their strengths, marrying Louis’s engineering and circuit-building with Bebe’s undergraduate training in music composition.

The scope of their collaboration was pervasive, if decentralized: the Barrons worked cooperatively with MGM executives and their expectations, with film characters and their intended personalities, with their unstable circuits, and with each other. The Barrons’ division of labor was that Louis would hand-wire circuits and frequently overdrive them, recording the unpredictable squeals and wails. Bebe would listen to his recordings to find promising sounds, which she would then subject to further processing (speeding, slowing, filtering, etc.). Their creative practice resonates with literary coauthorships, as Louis and Bebe combined their strengths in a communicative feedback loop.[16] Eventually, Forbidden Planet’s finished sounds were a synthesis in which their individual contributions were indistinguishable.

The Barrons’ collaboration extends into a network, however, when we consider the constraints of both the technological and the funding systems in which they worked. Parroting Wiener’s Cybernetics—and forecasting the ideological coordinates of actor-network theory—the Barrons conceptualized their own agency in a dance with the agency of the circuits:

The instructions inform [the circuits] how they should react and interact to the sensations they receive from other circuits, and how they should react to their own behavior, which they sample through feedback loops. This means that these circuits have an awareness of what other circuits are doing, what they themselves are doing, and what is expected of them by the designer—in this case the composer. (Quoted in Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. V, 99, emphasis in original)

Exercising a thoroughly cybernetic imagination, the Barrons took seriously the circuits’ behaviors, which were only somewhat transparent and modifiable, since the circuits’ behaviors were determined partly by the circulating feedback. The Barrons’ human ability to intervene had to be channeled through the system, through the feedback loops, through the inputs and currents, all of which had their own energies. The limited-life circuits became the film’s characters. As Louis said, “these circuits are as if a living thing were crying out, expressing itself. There’s an organic type of behavior going on.”[17]

If the Barrons found a cybernetic collaboration with their circuits, they were less successful in navigating the feedback loops of Hollywood power structures. Schary had hired the Barrons on a whim rather at the last minute, after casting about with Harry Partch and others for an adequately weird sci-fi film score. The sound production timeline was extremely short, and the Barrons either weren’t aware they needed, or didn’t have the time or credentials to procure, a membership in the American Federation of Musicians. Fearing a lawsuit for employing non-union musicians, Schary and MGM producers credited the Barrons with “electronic tonalities” rather than “electronic music.” Likewise, when Forbidden Planet was nominated for an Academy Award for special effects, MGM’s uninvolved sound team stood in to receive the award for the music department and the Barrons (Wierzbicki, Barron’s Forbidden Planet, 13–14). The Barrons either suspected they were or actually were blacklisted in Hollywood, an alienation compounded by intellectual property lawsuits that the Barrons filed and dropped. The Barrons sensed that the industry, moreover, was hostile toward electronic music: “At one of their secret meetings, [the union] discussed whether we should be admitted or not,” Louis recalled, “They decided we were a threat. And yet, this same guy who was important in the Guild would call me to ask how he could make a certain type of scene more interesting. The musical community absolutely hated the word electronic” (Quoted in Greenwald, “The Self-Destructing Modules,” 58). After Forbidden Planet they simply were not going to get a union membership.

Though Forbidden Planet’s sounds were widely heard by producers and audiences alike as novel and interesting, the Barrons were excluded from Hollywood networks by various bureaucratic and attitudinal factors. The Barrons had serendipitously procured mainstream work despite their experimental pedigree, and they seemingly stumbled out of it just as accidentally. In the late 1950s and 1960s, freelancing again, they produced scores for Broadway plays, experimental films, corporate advertisements and in-house training videos, and corporate-sponsored television specials (fig. 1). The Barrons accelerated their genre crossing, finding collaborations with varying partners who increasingly relied upon—for better or worse—a fairly static, stereotypical idea of “outer space” sound effects and music.[18]

Unstable Modernism

Examining the network of the Barron studio can provide several insights into the terms of a collaborative, networked, unstable modernism. The Barrons were, by their own accounting, the most creatively resonant with the plethora of artists, dancers, writers, and filmmakers they encountered in experimental circles like the Artists’ Club. And yet, this personal resonance with experimentalism was only part of the story, since the Barrons had to seek and accept funding from anyone who wanted to make a recorded sound project with them. Through the Williams grant, the Barrons were afforded the opportunity to work extensively on experimental high-art tape pieces, but later, they had to be just as willing to produce stereotyped sound effects for Broadway plays and corporate training videos. As independent contractors, they simply needed to follow the money. It is clear then, that the aesthetic changeability of the Barron’s projects was related to their financial precarity.

Institutional sponsorship creates the conditions for aesthetic coherence, the likes of which the West German government nurtured at the Cologne Radio; a house style emerged there, buoyed by steady, noncommercial funding, meant to secure an emerging national identity.[19] Another way to produce aesthetic coherence is to work within a relatively closed circle of experimental artists, promoters, and funders—the likes of the Artists’ Club in Greenwich Village. There is considerable overlap in the aesthetic and conceptual vocabularies of the painters, authors, composers, and dancers that traded ideas there. The Barrons found themselves working within neither structure. They were mediators who brought quite different aesthetic worlds into proximity or even collision: from experimental filmmakers, to MGM producers, to dancers and painters and writers, to institutional modernist composers.

This multiplicity of connections recalls Mark Granovetter’s thesis that more social mobility is accomplished when information is shared through weak ties (acquaintances) than strong ties (e. g., partners, siblings, close friends).[20] The idea is simple: when actors transmit information through weak ties, they open themselves up to entire adjacent networks of people and resources, in contrast to the largely shared networks that are built from strong ties. Less overlap in social worlds gives us more access to new people—friends of their friends and so on—who might spread our news or unexpectedly advance our cause. We’ve already seen such weak ties were necessary for the Barrons’ financial sustenance and abetted their aesthetic promiscuity, but we might go further. The Barron studio—from the circuitry to the collaborators—reveals a “tangled mesh of modernists,” whose fleeting alignments were unstable configurations.[21]

In fact, the terms of the Barrons’ collaboration can only be grasped within a relational network that accounts for people, technologies, and funding streams. The Barron’s unstable modernism was constructed ad hoc, as various relationships unfolded in new directions. Working as coauthors, neither Bebe nor Louis was autonomous or independently creative in the same way we commonly assume music composers to be. Furthermore, their studio was not exactly a place so much as a relentlessly collaborative and relational process of exchange. The Barrons moved drastically between genres and art forms, riding the waves of widespread curiosity about new sonic technologies. The Barrons capitalized upon weak ties and heterogeneous connections, nurturing the flexibility for diverse collaborations in radically different aesthetic spheres. Their studio was momentarily stabilized by external validation—moments when collaborators offered financial resources and made creative projects available for coauthoring.[22] The studio’s stability depended upon pleasing collaborators, who could offer recognition, support, and additional funding. Technologies exerted their own contingency: the studio was stabilized when technologies were working well, but less stable when technologies were broken or outmoded.

In short, the modernism that unfolded between the Barrons and their collaborators was unstable because it was always relational. The Barron studio was ambitious, technologically driven, experimental, and capacious—like many musical modernisms—but it was not stable, repeatable, or definable. Their “studio” provides a window on to a promiscuous, inter-generic modernism that far exceeded more familiar intra-avant-garde collaborations. The Barron’s connections were more diffuse and their products were more disparate. Theirs was a precarious, unstable, and contingent modernism—not single author, not aesthetically coherent, not technologically sleek, not institutionally protected. But all those “nots” should neither surprise nor worry us. As John Cage wrote in 1951:

What we desperately need in America is a laboratory for useless musical activity, devoted to failure rather than to success . . . The dream is a simple one: a place for collaboration between composers and sound engineers replete with equipment—in Hollywood terms a simple get-together of the Music and the Sound Departments.[23]

The John Cage of 1951—either soon to meet or newly partnered with the Barrons—courted collaboration for the project of failure. Aesthetic failure? Technical failure? Genre failure? The Barrons, like Cage and several other modernists, did fail in all of these ways (as Brian Norman’s analysis of Hurston and Hughes’s contentious failure in Mule-Bone in this cluster also illuminates). The Barrons’ network was only ever momentarily stable in its aesthetics, genres, technologies, and finances. In Cage’s hypothetical laboratory—in the Barrons’ studio—the unstable, contingent, evolving, relational network drove the creative process. After all, how else could the modernist project advance?


[1] The classic defense of hermetic modernism is Milton Babbitt’s 1958 essay “The Composer as Specialist,” which his High Fidelity editor originally and provocatively titled “Who Cares if You Listen” (The Collected Essays of Milton Babbitt, ed. Stephen Peles (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003), 48–54). Scholars were often just as frustrated by high-minded modernism as concert-going audiences; see George Perle, “The ‘Simple Truth,” in The Right Notes: Twenty-Three Selected Essays by George Perle on Twentieth-Century Music (Stuyvesant, NY: Pendragon Press, 1995), 257–260 and John Backus, “Die Reihe: A Scientific Evaluation,” Perspectives of New Music 1, no. 1 (1962): 160–71.

[2] Such critiques circulated internally amongst the composers themselves, too; see for example, György Ligeti, “Pierre Boulez: Decision and Automatism in Structures Ia,” in Die Reihe 4, English edition, trans. Leo Black (Bryn Mawr, PA: Theodor Presser, 1960), 36–62 and Iannis Xenakis, “Wahrscheinlichkeitstheorie und Musik,” Gravesaner Blätter 6 (1956): 28–34.

[3] See Amy Beal, New Music, New Allies: American Experimental Music in West Germany from the Zero Hour to Reunification (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006); Danielle Fosler-Lussier, Music in America’s Cold War Diplomacy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015); M. J. Grant, Serial Music, Serial Aesthetics: Compositional Theory in Post-War Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001); Martin Iddon, New Music at Darmstadt: Nono, Stockhausen, Cage, and Boulez (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013); Frances Stonor Saunders, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters (New York: The New Press, 2013).

[4] See Robert Adlington, ed., Sound Commitments: Avant-Garde Music and the Sixties (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009); Michael Nyman, Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Benjamin Piekut, Experimentalism Otherwise: The New York Avant-Garde and Its Limits (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011); Benjamin Piekut, ed., Tomorrow is the Question: New Directions in Experimental Music Studies (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2014).

[5] See Peter Bürger, Theory of the Avant-Garde, trans. Michael Shaw (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984).

[6] The Barrons’ story, as summarized here, is cobbled together from several interviews: Jane Brockman, “The First Electronic Filmscore—Forbidden Planet. A Conversation with Bebe Barron,” in The Routledge Film Music Sourcebook, ed. James Wierzbicki, Nathan Platte, and Colin Roust (New York: Routledge, [1992] 2012), 166–69; Mark Burman, “Making Music for Forbidden Planet: Bebe Barron Interview,” Projections 7: Film-makers on Film-making, ed. John Boorman and Walter Donahue (London: Faber and Faber, 1997), 252–63; Jerry Modjeski, “Bebe Barron Interview,” KFAI independent radio show “Spinner Sanctum,” 2000, audio, 43:28; Susan Stone, “The Barrons: Forgotten Pioneers of Electronic Music,” NPR Morning Edition, February 7, 2005, audio, 8:55 .

[7] Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5, 1947–1955 (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1966), 99.

[8] Eric Chasalow, “Bebe Barron Interview,” Oral History Project: Video Archive of the ElectroAcoustic Music, curated by Eric Chasalow and Barbara Cassidy, 1997, video, 14:49, 2:45–2:55).

[9] David Revill, The Roaring Silence. John Cage: A Life (New York: Arcade Publishing, 1992), 144.

[10] Imaginary Landscape No. 5 (1952, John Cage), For Magnetic Tape (1952, Christian Wolff), Octet I (1953, Earle Brown), Williams Mix (1953, John Cage), and Intersection (1953, Morton Feldman). See Volker Straebel, “The Studio as Venue for Production and Performance: Cage’s Early Tape Music,” in Cage & Consequences, ed. Julia H. Schröder and Volker Straebel (Hofheim: Wolke, 2012), 101–109 and Jason Cady, “An Overview of Earle Brown’s Techniques and Media,” in Beyond Notation: The Music of Earle Brown, ed. Rebecca Y. Kim (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2017), 1–20.

[11] John Cage to Paul Williams, August 1953, John Cage Collection, Northwestern University.

[12] See Jennifer Iverson, Electronic Inspirations: Technologies of the Cold War Musical Avant-Garde (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), 23–48 and Iverson, “Invisible Collaboration: The Dawn and Evolution of elektronische Musik,” Music Theory Spectrum 39, no. 2 (2017): 1–23.

[13] Circles continue to overlap; for more on Cage’s connections to Deren, experimental film, and film sound, see Richard H. Brown Jr., Through the Looking Glass: John Cage and Avant-Garde Film (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019) and John Cage, “A Few Ideas about Music and Film” in The Routledge Film Music Sourcebook, 148–50.

[14] Correspondence between Paul Williams and John Cage, summer and autumn 1953, John Cage Collection, Northwestern University.

[15] For more close reading of the film sounds and score, see Rebecca Leydon, “Forbidden Planet: Effects and Affects in the Electro Avant-garde,” in Off the Planet: Music, Sound, and Science Fiction Cinema, ed. Philip Hayward (Eastleigh, UK: John Libbey Publishing, 2004), 61–76 and James Wierzbicki, Louis and Bebe Barron’s Forbidden Planet: A Film Score Guide (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2005).

[16] See Vera John-Steiner, Creative Collaboration (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000); Wayne Koestenbaum, Double Talk (New York: Routledge, 1989); Holly A. Laird, Women Coauthors (Urbana Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2000); Laird, “Preface: On Collaborations,” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 13, no. 2 (1994): 235–40; Bette London, Writing Double: Women’s Literary Partnerships (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999); Lorraine York, Rethinking Women’s Collaborative Writing: Power, Difference, Property (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002).

[17] Quoted in Ted Greenwald, “The Self-Destructing Modules Behind the Revolutionary 1956 Soundtrack of Forbidden Planet,” Keyboard 12 (1986): 54–60, 65, 59.

[18] Louis Barron complains of being typecast in Greenwald, “The Self-Destructing Modules,” 58.

[19] See Jennifer Iverson, “Fraught Adjacencies: The Politics of German Electronic Music,” Acta Musicologica 92, no. 1 (2020), 93–111.

[20] See Mark S. Granovetter, “The Strength of Weak Ties,” American Journal of Sociology 78, no. 6 (1973): 1360–80.

[21] Paul K. Saint-Amour, “Weak Theory, Weak Modernism,” Modernism/modernity 25, no. 3 (2018): 437–59, 449, discussing Scott’s The Gender of Modernism.

[22] Ideas about momentary “stability” in a scene or network are well developed in sociological literature about science and technology; see Wiebe E. Bijker, Thomas P. Hughes, and Trevor Pinch, eds., Social Construction of Technological Systems (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987); Andrew Pickering, The Mangle of Practice (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1995); and Trevor Pinch, “Technology and Institutions: Living in a Material World,” Theory and Society 37, (2008): 461–483.

[23] Cage, “A Few Ideas About Music and Film,” The Routledge Film Music Sourcebook, 150.