DIY and Maker Communities in Electronic Music
Since the late 1990s, there has been huge growth in new do-it-yourself (DIY) and maker communities, reflecting the democratisation of technology. Such practitioners have tended to reject pervasive and ubiquitous technologies and ‘virtualness’, and have moved towards working directly with materials through arts and crafts approaches. Running alongside the growth of digital technologies and culture, a counter-culture took hold, built on grassroots initiatives that had ‘much in common with punk rock, knitting clubs or ham radio societies’ (Richards 2013, p. 274). This maker spirit was also deeply rooted in an ideology of self- sufficiency and self-expression and the empowerment of the individual. Perhaps self- contradictory, DIY often became more about doing-it-together (DIT) or doing-it-with-others (DIWO). Workshops and maker participatory events flourished. Hackspaces/Hackerspaces and Fab Labs (fabrication laboratories) began to emerge as physical locations where active participants could meet, share tools and ideas and learn through making and taking things apart. This maker ideology and cultural activity has had a major influence on music and music technology, from how music is disseminated and consumed to, most significantly, how music is experienced culturally. What could be considered as a maker music scene is replete with enthusiasts who build their own modular synthesisers, create their own Theremins and musical robots, deploy microprocessors for control mechanisms and sound generation, share open-source hardware and software and explore the resources of electronic music at a fundamental level of components, wires, and solder.
Citation : Richards, J. (2017). DIY and Maker Communities in Electronic Music. In: Collins, N., and Escrivan, R. J. The Cambridge Companion to Electronic Music. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 238-257
Research Group : Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre
Research Institute : Music, Technology and Innovation - Institute for Sonic Creativity (MTI2)
- Leicester Media School 
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