Smile Politely

The turntable as a musical instrument

Mix and Scratch: The Turntable Becomes a Musical Instrument, 1975-1978
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
4:00 pm
Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum
600 South Gregory Street
Mark Katz
Music, University of North Carolina

This talk takes as its focus the transformation of the turntable from a playback device to a musical instrument during the early years of hip-hop. It will examine landmark innovations in turntable technique — including Grandmaster Flash’s development of the clock theory method of mixing records and GrandWizzard Theodore’s introduction of needle-dropping and scratching — as well as changes in turntable and mixer technology. In doing so it will offer a framework for understanding the musical and social basis for the turntable’s instrumentality and demonstrate how hip-hop went from being a performance practice to a musical genre in its own right.


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