To those of us who are not professional musicologists, music seems not just an inherently interdisciplinary topic, but a domain that, because it presents distinct challenges, has the capacity to help scholars think afresh about key issues. Music seems positively to demand interdisciplinary responses, because, for example, it insinuates itself into so much of human life. It involves a notable range of intricate, specialized skills, objects and social relationships. Music is highly technical, and not just in the obvious ways. Instrument making, like the dissemination of music in written form and the design of performance spaces, is ‘technical’ in requiring a range of technologies, occupations and techniques. Yet, however specialized the study of music has become, however much its study demands skills that are not widely dispersed, even in universities, ‘music’ appears as a fount of questions that are exceptionally wide-ranging. I use inverted commas to signal that this seemingly innocent term has to cover so much that containing it is as difficult as defining it.