Blogpost: Journal of New Music Research Special issue on the Socio-Cultural Role of Technology in Digital Musical Instruments

By | Koray Tahiroglu

Following the symposium of Digital Music Interactions in Helsinki in 2019, I have been working with a diverse group of expert scholars, artists, musicians, and practitioners, opening further inquiry and dialogue into the socio-cultural role of technology in current and emerging digital music practices.

The content of this work has been published in a special issue in the Journal of New Music Research (Guest Editors: Koray Tahiroğlu and Thor Magnusson). This special issue is one of the outcomes of the Academy Research Fellow project (no.316549).

Considering the wide range of content and viewpoints presented in this special issue, on the social aspect of technology in a particular socio-cultural activity like music, which supports a diverse range of interactions and social or individual goals, one might find some shared interests in one’s own research and artistic practices. You might have access to all the articles through your institutions, and five out of the nine articles are open access publications.

In this special issue you will find:

  • Marc Leman investigates the concept of co-regulating timing in a new Bayesian listener algorithm that could function as a perception module of an artificial musician capable of interacting with human musicians. 
  • Simon Waters’s approach on rediscovering sociality regards instruments as necessarily assemblages rather than objects, and he suggests that in historical terms the non-standard instrument can be seen to be typical of human/instrument entanglements. 
  • Tarja Rautiainen-Keskustalo debates how the examination of material media theory could contribute to understanding music-making as a part of digital networks. 
  • Koray Tahiroğlu explores our current relationship with music further through a particular AIpowered autonomous musical instrument, and argues that music-making still emerges as a social construct, a social activity even as a result of the mutual cooperation with human musicians and autonomous instruments. 
  • Don Ihde looks at selected examples of player-instrument relations beginning with a single string and moves to digital synthesizers, questioning how changes in musical technologies play roles in the social dimensions of musical instruments. 
  • Thor Magnusson looks into the question of how musical instruments establish themselves as part of culture and discusses music-technical transmission through using the conceptual cluster of ergodynamics, ergomimetics and ergophors. 
  • Claudia Molitor engages in a conversation with Thor Magnusson, on certain aspects of her work, discussing the idea of designing technology in the process of creating the social experience that is embodied by a new musical composition. 
  • Taina Riikonen looks into digital anthropology by conceptualizing multi-sensory listening in large-scale city sonic environments and presents listening as an embodied, social and transformative phenomenon through the binaural recordings of Helsinki Metro tunnels. 

I hope that you will enjoy reading this special issue, which I believe is a unique contribution to the research of new interfaces for musical expression. The content might be an inspiring contribution to your own research areas.

Koray Tahiroğlu