The Politics of Music Capturing. Music Information Retrieval and Ethnomusicological Research, 1900–1970
Christopher Klauke’s research project explores the ways in which concrete political structures and beliefs have influenced the historical development, establishment, and operativity of the knowledge techniques of music capturing.
Music Information Retrieval has become a central and widely used resource for today’s data-driven music culture. It enables the algorithmic transcription and analysis of music and is used by, for example, music streaming platforms and large-scale musicological projects. Surprisingly, this knowledge technique emerged within disciplines peripheral to the humanities: ethnomusicology and folk music research, which were shaped by colonial, eugenic, or emancipatory assumptions. From 1900 onward, various machines—such as phonophotographs, melographs, or spectrographs—were developed that were able to address and translate the audio signals of non-Western music recordings into diagrammatic forms.
Methodologically, the project is situated in media history, specifically Kulturtechnikforschung, and in postcolonial history of knowledge. It draws on recent publications in the fields of science and technology studies, musicology, and visual studies.
Christopher studied musicology, music pedagogy, and art history at Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen for his BA. He earned his MA in musicology at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in 2022 with a thesis on techniques of measuring and listening in the Phonogramm-Archiv Berlin.
Find Christopher's profile on the Website of the International Max Planck Research School – "Knowledge and its Resources" (IMPRS-KIR).