eliot bates: Anatolian music, oud, audio engineering, digital music cultures


research overview

I am an ethnomusicologist -- which means that I "do" music while I do social scientific work and pursue humanistic inquiry. I strongly believe that ethnomusicology has much to offer other fields, and have been deeply involved with expanding the range of methodologies and theoretical frameworks used for the study of music.

From 2004-2014, my primary research concerned recording practices and studio cultures in Istanbul, Turkey. This research was based on nearly three years of research conducted in Istanbul, including a year and a half where I worked as the lead recording engineer at ZB Stüdyo and was involved in Karadeniz (Eastern Black Sea) album production, in film and soundtrack score mixing, and with contemporary arrangements of Ottoman art music and Anatolian folk music. My research is the first extensive study of the thriving market for Anatolian minority language "popular" musics, and also is one of the first studies of the production networks connected to Unkapanı, the heart of the music industry in Turkey and in the Turkish diaspora. Funding for this was provided in part by a Fulbright IIE grant, as well as an ARIT State Department Fellowship.

From 1995-2004, my research primarily covered ambient, glitch, darkwave, isolationist, and experimental dance music genres (or in other words, electroacoustic music produced outside of universities), both in terms of production aesthetics and in relation to the online fan-artist communities that were initially connected via the Hyperreal listserv and rec.music.ambient, and later through social media sites such as tribe.net.

Currently, I am working on my next long-term ethnographic research project, which investigates music's materiality and technological infrastructure in relation to online/offline social and musical interaction. Some of this research continues my collaboration with Samantha Bennett @ ANU.


2016   Digital Tradition: Arrangement and Labor in Istanbul's Recording Studio Culture. New York: Oxford University Press. Read a blog post about the book here...
2011   Music in Turkey: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. New York: Oxford University Press. Mandarin translation published in 2017. Farsi translation published in 2018.

edited books

2017   Critical Approaches to the Production of Music and Sound. Co-edited with Samantha Bennett. New York: Bloomsbury Academic.
co-authored (with Samantha Bennett) the chapter "The Production of Music and Sound: A Multidisciplinary Critique", and wrote the chapter "Producing TV Series Music in Istanbul"

publications: journal articles and book chapters

2018   "Agency and Contemporary Recording Production," in Oxford Handbook of the Creative Process in Music edited by Nicolas Donin. New York: Oxford University Press.
2018   "Actor-Network Theory and Organology." Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society.
2014   "Music, Mobility and Distributed Recording Production in Turkish Protest Music," in Oxford Handbook of Mobile Music Studies edited by Jason Stanyek and Sumanth Gopinath. New York: Oxford University Press. | on academia.edu
2012   "What Studios Do." Art of Record Production 7(1).
2012   "The Social Life of Musical Instruments." Ethnomusicology 56(3). on jstor | on academia.edu
2010   "Mixing for Parlak and Bowing for a Büyük Ses: The Aesthetics of Arranged Traditional Music in Turkey." Ethnomusicology 54(1). on jstor | on academia.edu
2004   "Glitches, Bugs, and Hisses: The Degeneration of Musical Recordings and the Contemporary Musical Work," in Bad Music: Music You Love to Hate, edited by Chris Washburne and Maiken Derno. New York: Routledge.

publications: encyclopedia/reference

2015   The SAGE Encyclopedia of Ethnomusicology: "Turkey: Contemporary Performance Practice" (1600 words)
2015   The SAGE Encyclopedia of Ethnomusicology: "Field Recording" (1800 words)
2015   The SAGE Encyclopedia of Ethnomusicology: "Ambient Music" (1300 words)
2010   Oxford Bibliographies Online: "West Asia" (12,500 words)

publications: reviews

2016   Review of The Musicology of Record Production, by Simon Zagorski-Thomas. twentieth century music 13(2).
2015   Review of Alaturka: Style in Turkish Music, by John Morgan O'Connell. Music and Letters.
2013   Review of Divine Inspirations: Music and Islam in Indonesia , edited by Anne Rasmussen and David Harnish. Indonesia 93.
2012   Review of The Republic of Love: Cultural Intimacy in Turkish Popular Music by Martin Stokes. world of music i(2).
2011   Review of Recorded Music: Performance, Culture and Technology edited by Amanda Bayley. Notes 68(2).
2010   Review of The World Map of Music: The Edison Phonograph and the Musical Cartography of the Earth by the Berlin Phonogram Archive. Ethnomusicology 54(2).
2005   Review of You Better Work: Underground Dance Music in New York City by Kai Fikentscher. Ethnomusicology 49(2).

publications: theses

2008   Social Interactions, Musical Arrangement, and the Production of Digital Audio in Istanbul Recording Studios. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California Berkeley (click here for the abstract). Find on Proquest
1997   Ambient Music. MA Thesis, Wesleyan University, 233 pages. Download it from Wesleyan University

published conference proceedings

2013   "Idiosyncratic Virtuosity: An Analysis of Three Performances by Istanbul's Studio Musicians". Performance in the Studio conference, April 28, 2013. read on academia.edu

grants, fellowships & prizes

2015      American Musicological Society Publication Subvention for the book Digital Tradition
2014      Yale University Stanley T Woodward Lectureship
2013      Society for Ethnomusicology Bruno Nettl Prize for the article "The Social Life of Musical Instruments"
2010-12   American Council of Learned Societies New Faculty Fellows Program (Cornell University Society for the Humanities)
2008      Society for Ethnomusicology, Northern California Chapter Marnie Dilling Prize for the paper "Comfort and Tea: Institutional Culture and Aesthetic Decision-Making in the Turkish Recording Industry"
2006-7   American Research Institute in Turkey (ARIT) Department of State Fellow
2005-6   Fulbright IIE Dissertation Research Grant, Turkey
2005-6   Turkish Ministry of Education Higher Education Grant
2004      Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Grant (Boğaziçi Üniversitesi Summer Language Program, intermediate-level Turkish)
2003,7   UC Berkeley Department of Music Conference Travel Grant (SEM 2003, SEM 2007)
2002-8   UC Berkeley Department of Music Fellowship
1996      Wesleyan University Research Travel Grant (for travel to Turkey)
1990-4   UC Regents Scholar

Updated September 07, 2018

©2002-2018  eliot bates