Software mediates a great deal of human musical activity. The writing, running, and maintenance of code lies at the heart of such software. Code Musicology: From Hardwired to Software argues why it is time for a “code musicology,” then outlines what that should entail. A code musicology opens a conduit between musicology and software studies, providing insights into both of these now interlinked fields along the way. It extends an ethnomusicology of technoculture from the world of hardware and the hardwired to software, code, and algorithms. For popular music studies, it helps direct attention to a newly relevant industrial focus—IT and software-centered transnational commerce—as a result of sectorial transformation.
Denis Crowdy demonstrates how analysis from software studies, critical code studies, and the digital humanities offers insights into power relations, diversity, and commerce in music. Crowdy weaves readings of code and application programming interfaces (APIs) into the discussion, as well as ethnomusicological fieldwork exploring music and mobile phones from the Global South. Analysis of the author’s own music apps and associated distribution infrastructure provides unique insights into the machinations of music “appification.”
Denis Crowdy is senior lecturer at Macquarie University.
Introduction: The Rise of Code
Chapter 1: The Life of Code
Chapter 2: Life around Code
Chapter 3: Coding Constraints
Chapter 4: Coding Aesthetics
Chapter 5: A Software Development Perspective
Chapter 6: Code on the Move
"Denis Crowdy’s Code Musicology is a welcome addition to the fast-growing literature about digitalized music. Crowdy avoids getting bogged down in technical details in this well-written book, which usefully and intelligently demystifies how software code works in the increasing ubiquity of the digital world."
“A book on code is a welcome addition to the Critical Perspectives on Music and Society series, where the code and related infrastructure behind the software omnipresent in our contemporary musical lives is analyzed and interrogated. The author’s argument for a code musicology is timely and valuable, and this approachable volume reframes the way technology, through code, is modulating music and the way we interact with it. It asks important questions for a future determined by code, where musicians and scholars will benefit from engagement with this very fundamental building block of contemporary culture.”