Research Data Leeds Repository

Keynote 2: Electronic Music Filtered Through Science and Technology Studies

Pinch, Trevor (2016) Keynote 2: Electronic Music Filtered Through Science and Technology Studies. University of Leeds. [Dataset]

This item is part of the Alternative Histories of Electronic Music collection.

Dataset description

“Musical instrument design is one of the most sophisticated and specialized technologies that we humans have developed.” – Robert Moog. If music is about technologies then how should we think about technologies? In this talk I will approach the history of electronic music as conceived by another academic discipline: Science and Technology Studies (S&TS). I will briefly outline the main ideas and approaches in S&TS and the sorts of methods developed. The mutual shaping of technology and culture offers clues to thinking about the development of the technology used in electronic music and how it shapes and is shaped by culture. The S&TS approach draws attention to “opening the black box” , which means understanding the design and working of musical technologies and thinking about how they could be otherwise and paths not taken. It is sensitivity to these alternative developments and questioning the very notion of what it means for a music technology to “succeed” which gives clues as to what an alternative history of electronic music might look and sound like. If we think about musical technologies rather than musical instruments we end up in new sorts of spaces – such as the studio at the BBC Radiophonic workshop where the music for Dr Who was created or a bath in London from which Peter Zinovieff dreamt up designs for new instruments . The S&TS approach leads scholars to focus upon particular actors such as users, tinkerers, and intermediaries and particular contexts and spaces where instruments are developed, tested, demonstrated, and used. I will argue that following salesmen is as important as following composers. My main examples will come from the development of the Moog and Buchla electronic music synthesizers developed in the period 1964-75 but I will also reflect a little on the nascent British synthesizer industry from that period - particularly EMS.

Subjects: W000 - Creative arts & design > W300 - Music
W000 - Creative arts & design > W300 - Music > W310 - Musicianship/performance studies > W316 - Electronic/electro-acoustic music performance
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures > School of Music
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Date deposited: 27 Jul 2017 19:22



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