Eliot Bates is an ethnomusicologist and recording engineer with a special interest in the social studies of technology. His research examines recording production and the social lives of musical instruments and studio recording technologies.

A graduate of UC Berkeley (2008) and ACLS New Faculty Fellow (2010), he is currently an Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. He has also taught at the University of Birmingham (UK), Cornell University, and the University of Maryland, College Park. He is currently the Vice-President of the Society for Asian Music, and formerly served on the Board of the Society for Ethnomusicology.

He has written two books: Digital Tradition: Arrangement and Labor in Istanbul’s Recording Studio Culture (Oxford University Press, 2016), and Music in Turkey: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture (Oxford University Press, 2011)—and, with Samantha Bennett, co-edited Critical Approaches to the Production of Music and Sound (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018). He is also a performer and recording artist of the 11-stringed oud.


2008    Ph.D. in Music (Ethnomusicology), University of California, Berkeley. Committee: Ben Brinner (supervisor/chair), Jocelyne Guilbault, Charles Hirschkind, Paul Théberge (external).
1997    M.A. in Music (Ethnomusicology and Interactive Computer Media), Wesleyan University.
1994    B.M. in Music Composition, University of California, Santa Barbara.


2018    Critical Approaches to the Production of Music and Sound, co-edited with Samantha Bennett. New York: Bloomsbury Academic. Finalist for Association of American Publishers PROSE award (2019).
2016    Digital Tradition: Arrangement and Labor in Istanbul’s Recording Studio Culture. Oxford University Press. 122,000 words. Finalist for ASRC Excellence Award.
2011     Music in Turkey: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. Global Music Series. Oxford University Press. Mandarin translation published by Oxford University Press in 2016. Persian translation published by the Mahoor Institute in 2018.

Journal articles, peer-reviewed
2020     “Resource ecologies, political economies, and the ethics of audio technologies in the anthropocene.” Popular Music.
2019     “Vinyl as event: Record Store Day and the value-vibrant matter nexus.” Journal of Cultural Economy. JCE
2019     “Technological Encounters in the Interculturality of Istanbul’s Recording Studios” El Oído Pensante.
2019     “Actor Network Theory and Organology.” Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society  44.
2013    “Popular Music Studies and the Problems of Sound, Society and Method.” IASPM@Journal 3(1): 15-32.
2012    “The Social Life of Musical Instruments.” Ethnomusicology 56(3): 363-395.
2012    “What Studios Do.” Journal on the Art of Record Production 7(1). 12,008 words.
2010    “Mixing for Parlak and Bowing for a Büyük Ses: The Aesthetics of Arranged Traditional Music in Turkey.” Ethnomusicology 54(1):81-105.
2009    “Ron’s Right Arm: Tactility, Visualization, and the Synesthesia of Audio Engineering.” Journal on the Art of Record Production 4(i).

Chapters in edited books
(2020)     “Feeling Analog: Using Modular Synthesizers, Designing Synthesis Communities.” In The Cultural Study of Musical Instruments, ed. Stephen Cottrell.
(2020)     “The Interface and Instrumentality of Eurorack Modular Synthesis.” In Rethinking Music through Science and Technology Studies, ed. Christophe Levaux and Antoine Hennion. Routledge.
(2020)     “Agency in Contemporary Recording Production.” In Oxford Handbook of the Creative Process in Music, ed. Nicolas Donin. Oxford.
(2020)     “Music in Turkey: Contemporary Recording of Traditional Music.” In Global Music Cultures, ed. Bonnie Wade and Patricia Campbell. Oxford.
2020     “Recording Studios Since 1970.” In The Bloomsbury Handbook of Music Production, ed. Simon Zagorski-Thomas and Andrew Bourbon. Bloomsbury.
2014    “Music, Mobility and Distributed Recording Production in Turkish Protest Music,” in Oxford Handbook to Mobile Music, ed. J. Stanyek and S. Gopinath. New York: Oxford, p 339–60.
2004    “Glitches, Bugs, and Hisses: The Degeneration of Musical Recordings and the Contemporary Musical Work,” in Bad Music: The Music We Love to Hate, ed. C. Washburne & M. Derno. New York: Routledge, p 212–25.

2019    Experiencing Armenian Music in Turkey: An Ethnography of Musicultural Memory, by B. Yıldız. Asian Music 50(1).
2016    The Musicology of Record Production, by S. Zagorski-Thomas. twentieth-century music 13(2).
2015    Alaturka: Style in Turkish Music, by J. M. O’Connell. Music and Letters 96(3).
2013    Divine Inspirations: Music and Islam in Indonesia, ed. by A. Rasmussen and D. Harnish. Indonesia 93.
2012    Republic of Love: Cultural Intimacy in Turkish Popular Music by M. Stokes. the world of music 53(1).
2011    Recorded Music: Performance, Culture and Technology ed. by A. Bayley. Notes 68(2).
2010    The World Map of Music: The Edison Phonograph and the Musical Cartography of the Earth. Berlin Phonogram Archive. Ethnomusicology 54(3).
2005    You Better Work! by Kai Fikentscher. Ethnomusicology 49(2).

Reference works
2010    Oxford Bibliographies Online: “West Asia”


Current research projects:

  • modular synthesis

  • critical organology

  • audio technologies

  • ethnographic research methodologies

Upcoming Talks and Conferences

Saturday, January 25, 2020 will see the debut of my new solo electronic project, Makamqore, as part of the New York Modular Society’s monthly concert series at Muchmore’s.

February 14, 2020 – talk at the University of Lethbridge (Alberta)

February 20, 2020 – talk at Wesleyan University


Society for Ethnomusicology

Society for Asian Music

Society for the Social Studies of Science

Audio Engineering Society (full member)

British Forum for Ethnomusicology

Eliot Bates

Profile picture of Eliot Bates


active 1 month, 1 week ago