A Sociology of Organology

“How,” asks Kartomi, “do musical instruments reflect the musical thoughts of society?”

What if you asked how musical instruments shape (not just reflect) the musical thoughts (and actions) of a society?

It is possibly a seed for a more sociological approach. It is, potentially, more akin to actor-network theory and implies some role for objects themselves. What are an instrument’s affordances?

Kartomi, Margaret. 1990. On Concepts and Classifications of Musical Instruments. Chicago and London: Univ. of Chicago Press.


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