Traditional analysis and classification of musical instruments is often based on an account of the material characteristics of instruments as physical objects. In this sense, their material basis as a kind of purpose-built technology is the primary focus of concern. This chapter takes the position that musical instruments are better understood in terms of their place in a network of relationships-an '‘assemblage’'-with other objects, practices, institutions and social discourses. Particular attention is applied to the violin, the electric guitar and the phonographic turntable as examples. The assemblage is variable, and the same instrument can be used differently and take on different meanings depending on its place within a particular assemblage; indeed, it is the assemblage that allows us to consider devices like turntables as musical instruments even though they were not designed for such purposes.

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Theberge, P. (2016). Musical instruments as assemblage. In Musical Instruments in the 21st Century: Identities, Configurations, Practices (pp. 59–66). doi:10.1007/978-981-10-2951-6_5