Modular synthesizers, which represent a sound synthesis paradigm that was almost completely abandoned in the 1980s to be replaced with more efficient and inexpensive approaches, are back with the popularization of the Eurorack format. Yet, there is only a small amount of discussion in the literature regarding the reasons for this revival. With the ethnographic field research planned to be conducted as part of this research project, the goal is to find out why users have adopted this relatively old form of sound synthesis. This way, it is aimed to gain an insight into the current state of the musician-technology relationship and to contribute to the literature discussing the soundness of the common narrative that correlates technological development with the democratization of music.
The ethnographic study mentioned above will commence in the Edinburgh region by participating in Eurorack-themed events such as concerts and workshops, and by visiting music stores, of which Eurorack users are customers, and then it will be expanded by conducting in-depth interviews with the informants that are met during the preliminary fieldwork. Considering the available literature's emphasis on the agency of Eurorack synthesizers, this study will adopt the actor-network theory approach, which is receptive to the relationship between human and non-human actors. However, unlike the actor-network theory's approach that constructs all actors as equals, it is aimed to discuss the power relations between different actors in order to extend the discussion towards the debates regarding democratization. Additionally, since the online activities of Eurorack users are emphasized in the literature as an important part of the Eurorack-related practices, the relationships between the online world and offline practices will be observed during the fieldwork. The city of Edinburgh appears to be suitable to conduct such fieldwork on the users of Eurorack synthesizers, especially since it houses the monthly event series titled “Wavetable”. Moreover, since the city of Edinburgh is adjacent to one of the UK's largest cities, Glasgow, it will be possible to visit Glasgow to conduct fieldwork when necessary.
The proposed project has a research plan that can be summarized basically in two parts: (i) data collection through fieldwork, and then (ii) analysis of this data. At the end of the project, it is planned to submit an abstract to at least one international conference, and also to prepare a draft for at least one international journal. Additionally, the data will be gathered as part of this proposed project will be used as an additional dataset for the doctoral dissertation of the researcher, in which the researcher examines the relationship between musician and technology with the guidance of disciplines such as gender studies, leisure studies, ethnomusicology, and popular music studies, and by using theories and concepts such as hegemonic masculinity, serious leisure perspective, and the Anthropocene.