1st Edition

Rethinking Music through Science and Technology Studies

Edited By Antoine Hennion, Christophe Levaux Copyright 2021
    304 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    304 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume seeks to offer a new approach to the study of music through the lens of recent works in science and technology studies (STS), which propose that facts are neither absolute truths, nor completely relative, but emerge from an intensely collective process of construction. Applied to the study of music, this approach enables us to reconcile the human, social, factual, and technological aspects of the musical world, and opens the prospect of new areas of inquiry in musicology and sound studies.

    Rethinking Music through Science and Technology Studies draws together a wide range of both leading and emerging scholars to offer a critical survey of STS applications to music studies, considering topics ranging from classical music instrument-making to the ethos of DIY in punk music. The book’s four sections focus on key areas of music study that are impacted by STS: organology, sound studies, music history, and epistemology. Raising crucial methodological and epistemological questions about the study of music, this book will be relevant to scholars studying the interactions between music, culture, and technology from many disciplinary perspectives.


    Foreword   Howard S. Becker
    Introduction  Antoine Hennion and Christophe Levaux
    I. Histories
    1. Rameau and Harmony: Can Theory Make Reason of Music?
     Antoine Hennion
    2. Sounding Standards: A History Concert Pitch, between Musicology and STS
     Fanny Gribenski
    3. Is DIY a Punk Invention?: Learning processes, Recording Devices, and Social Knowledge 

    François Ribac
    4. Secure and Insecure Bases in the Performance of Western Classical Music
     Daniel Leech-Wilkinson
    5. Deep Structure: The Generative Subject in Actor-Network Theory and Musicology
     Patrick Valiquet
    II. Instruments
    6. Sonic Imaginaries: How Hugh Davies and David Van Koevering Performed Electronic Music’s Future
    James Mooney and Trevor Pinch
    7. Following the Instruments: The Designers and Users of the Fairlight CMI
    Paul Harkins
    8. The Interface and Instrumentality of Eurorack Modular Synthesis
    Eliot Bates
    III. Technologies
    9. Human Sounds and the Obscenity of Information
     David Trippett
    10.  STS Confronts the Vocaloid: Assemblage Thinking with Hatsune Miku
    Nick Prior
    11. Similarity and Difference in Sound Studies (and elsewhere)
     Basile Zimmermann
    IV. Practices
    12.  Smartphones, Streaming Platforms, and the Infrastructuring of Digital Music Practices

    Paolo Magaudda
    13. Tracing the Music Actor-Network: Losing the Meaning of Musical Experience? The Limits of a Routinization of Science and Technology Studies Applied to Techniques and Knowledges of Music
     François Debruyne
    14. Musicalized Images: Composing, Playing, Remixing, and Performing Net Art
    Jean-Paul Fourmentraux


    Antoine Hennion is Professor at Mines ParisTech, and the former Director of the Centre for the Sociology of Innovation. He has written extensively on the sociology of music, media, and cultural industries.

    Christophe Levaux is a lecturer and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Liège, Belgium. His research focuses on approaches to 20th-century American music and Actor-Network Theory.

    "For STS practitioners and students who are forming their own interests in exploring music in their own ways, this book will no doubt be a vital touchpoint; STS as it stood already provides us with our three chords, and this volume demonstrates that now is the time to form bands."

    — Philip Brooker, Tecnoscienza: Italian Journal of Science & Technology Studies