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.


chapter |8 pages


ByAntoine Hennion, Christophe Levaux

part I|102 pages


chapter 1|15 pages

Rameau and harmony

Can theory make reason of music?
ByAntoine Hennion

chapter 2|21 pages

Sounding standards

A history concert pitch, between musicology and STS
ByFanny Gribenski

chapter 3|20 pages

Is DIY a punk invention?

Learning processes, recording devices, and social knowledge
ByFrançois Ribac

chapter 4|21 pages

Secure and insecure bases in the performance of Western classical music

ByDaniel Leech-Wilkinson

chapter 5|23 pages

Deep structure

The generative subject in actor-network theory and musicology
ByPatrick Valiquet

part II|78 pages


chapter 6|37 pages

Sonic imaginaries

How Hugh Davies and David Van Koevering performed electronic music’s future
ByJames Mooney, Trevor Pinch

chapter 7|20 pages

Following the instruments

The designers and users of the Fairlight CMI
ByPaul Harkins

chapter 8|19 pages

The interface and instrumentality of Eurorack modular synthesis

ByEliot Bates

part III|50 pages


chapter 9|22 pages

Human sounds and the obscenity of information

ByDavid Trippett

chapter 10|14 pages

STS confronts the Vocaloid

Assemblage thinking with Hatsune Miku
ByNick Prior

chapter 11|12 pages

Similarity and difference in sound studies (and elsewhere)

ByBasile Zimmermann

part IV|44 pages


chapter 13|12 pages

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
ByFrançois Debruyne

chapter 14|15 pages

Musicalized images

Composing, playing, remixing, and performing net art
ByJean-Paul Fourmentraux