Cultural Bias in Music Technology


There is no such thing as neutral technology. What DAWs, synthesisers, virtual instruments, audio effects plugins, notation programs, even AI- and machine learning models have in common is that they are almost all exclusively based on western music theory, concepts and perspectives.

Cultural bias inscribed in technology mirrors the bias that runs through Western music theory, which to this day has not yet succeeded to address and dismantle its non-neutrality and the colonial framework that informed many of its canonical 19th century works.

Things could be different. Technologies could equally be applied to embrace all musical cultures, yet these possibilities are rarely implemented, and when so, then mostly to mere symbolic effect.

This presentation will focus on the possibilities for transcultural music technologies by asking: Which structural and technological changes are necessary to allow for more liberated, creative, and culturally balanced processes of music-making? How can we focus on the relational character of all creative processes and their value to us, and emphasise the unique ways creativity connects and responds to our times and contexts?

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