Of Epistemic Tools: musical instruments as cognitive extensions

Magnusson, Thor (2009) Of Epistemic Tools: musical instruments as cognitive extensions Organised Sound, 14 (2). pp. 168-176. ISSN 1355-7718

This is the latest version of this item.

Of_epistemic_tools.pdf - Published Version

Download (288kB) | Preview


This paper explores the differences in the design and performance of acoustic and new digital musical instruments, arguing that with the latter there is an increased encapsulation of musical theory. The point of departure is the phenomenology of musical instruments, which leads to the exploration of designed artefacts as extensions of human cognition – as scaffolding onto which we offload parts of our cognitive processes. The paper succinctly emphasises the pronounced epistemic dimension of digital instruments when compared to acoustic instruments. Through the analysis of material epistemologies it is possible to describe the digital instrument as an epistemic tool: a designed tool with such a high degree of symbolic pertinence that it becomes a system of knowledge and thinking in its own terms. In conclusion, the paper rounds up the phenomenological and epistemological arguments, and points at issues in the design of digital musical instruments that are germane due to their strong aesthetic implications for musical culture.

Item Type: Journal article
Additional Information: © 2009 Cambridge University Press
Uncontrolled Keywords: Design of new interfaces for musical expression; Semiotic and Epistemic dimensions of digital tools
Subjects: W000 Creative Arts and Design > W300 Music
G000 Computing and Mathematical Sciences > G500 Information Systems
G000 Computing and Mathematical Sciences > G600 Software Engineering
L000 Social Sciences > L900 Cultural Studies
DOI (a stable link to the resource): 10.1017/S1355771809000272
Faculties: Faculty of Arts > School of Arts and Media
Depositing User: Converis
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2009
Last Modified: 08 May 2015 14:04
URI: http://eprints.brighton.ac.uk/id/eprint/6619

Available Versions of this Item

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year