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date: 07 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter surveys developments in the sociology of art and theories of mediation to examine the contribution of technical devices and institutions to musical creativity. In particular, it considers Actor-Network Theory as a means to analyse the contributions of ‘nonhuman actors’ to the social world of algorithmic music. Two case studies are discussed: the network music pioneers The Hub and the contemporary genre of live coding. The example of The Hub raises the question of technological change and the necessity of considering the external forces that bear on the instrumentarium of algorithmic music as part of its social ecology. The chapter analyses live coding, focusing on the associated actors’ use of the Internet. It then charts the online development of the TOPLAP manifesto to illustrate how the ‘true’ computer music that live coding seeks to articulate is an ongoing social negotiation. The final section uses the Issuecrawler software to analyse networks of association within live coding.

Keywords: live coding, The Hub, algorithmic music, Actor-Network Theory, genre, popular music, Issuecrawler, TOPLAP, network music, sociology of art

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