Eliot Bates


Eliot Bates

Research interests

I am an ethnomusicologist by training, and my research focuses on ethnographic approaches to the study of digital recording production, including the studio performance of Anatolian folk and Ottoman art musics and experimental electroacoustic genres (ambient/EDM). I also research acoustic musical instruments in contemporary society, with a key focus on instrument agency, makers, and changes in the performance practice of acoustic instruments due to their amplification and use in digital recordings.

My first book, Music in Turkey: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture, was published by Oxford University Press in 2010 as part of the Global Music Series. Music in Turkey focuses on the contemporary musical life of Istanbul, and its overarching theme is that music in twentieth-century Turkey had a primary role in forming a national consciousness about Anatolian local and regional cultural differences. I explore this theme by analyzing musical nationalisms in Turkey, instrument builders, folkloric dances, pedagogies, rhythms, recording arrangement styles and musical aesthetics.

I am in the final stages of a ten-year project focused on studio musicianship, song arrangement and audio engineering in the music and film industries of Istanbul. In Digital Tradition: Arranging and Engineering Traditional Music in Turkey, I explore the (digital) mode of production and musical aesthetics used for products marketed and consumed as traditional and folkloric. To make sense of studio work, I adapt and refine theories and methods from Science & Technology Studies and interdisciplinary studies of sensoriums and bodily pedagogies; I then use this case study into the micropractices of work and cultural production to suggest new approaches to the study of tradition, nationalism and music in Turkey. This book is one of the first ethnographies on studio musicianship or film/TV music production, and the first extensive account of the emergence of a transnational market for music in Anatolian minority languages (e.g. Kurdish, Armenian, Lazuri).

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

Dr Bates is happy to discuss potential supervision with postgraduate candidates pursuing research on topics relating to sound studies, the art and practice of recording production (including all forms of music), contemporary and historical music practices in the Middle East, ethnographic projects relating to the music of Birmingham, and ethnographies of online music communities.