Instrumentalities

Leuphana University Lüneburg | BA Kulturwissenschaften | Module: Music and Audioculture | Rolf Großmann | Sarah-Indriyati Hardjowirogo

Joint seminar of the Leuphana University Lüneburg (Prof. Dr. Rolf Großmann / Sarah-Indriyati Hardjowirogo) and the Hochschule der Künste Bern (Prof. Dr. Michael Harenberg / Angela Bürger).

That a violin or a flute is a musical instrument seems unquestionable. We have used these objects for generations to produce sounds. But what about objects, environments and processes that were not primarily musically motivated and are now used quite naturally for making music and for auditory creation? Turntables, laptops, DAWs, max patches, sensor technology and many other things are transformed into media and instrumental environments that participate in the workings of former instruments in concerts, installations and sound art. Ever since Pierre Schaeffer’s tape instruments of the 1950s, the “Phonogene” and the “Morphophone”, which are currently experiencing their comeback in the scene of modular synthesizers, the question of the instrumental character, the “instrumentality”, of technical media has arisen.

The aim of the seminar is to develop criteria for a modern definition of musical instruments. Our current digital instruments differ in many ways from the historical ones. The proposed definition of “electrophones” by Hornbostel/Sachs from around 1900 is of little help here, so that we want to generally ask about the way a musical instrument functions from a cultural point of view and new criteria of definition. With the volume “Musical Instruments in the 21st Century”, a groundbreaking anthology on this topic has been published in 2016, which will form a textual basis for the seminar. Sarah Hardjowirogo, the co-editor of this volume, will be one of the seminar leaders.

Further information on this seminar is available in German.

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