Vocality/Instrumentality 2017

Saturday 14 January – Sunday 15 January 2017, University of Huddersfield

A conversation about music-making for performers, composers, musicologists of all persuasions, philosophers, educationalists, sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists, and innocent bystanders.

Is not the voice always already intervening, as a sounded body that searches for its place, one that projects forward to incite response?

– Brandon LaBelle, Lexicon of the Mouth (2014)

  • What and where is a musical voice?
  • Why do we encourage instrumental musicians to ‘sing’ on their instruments? Whose voices should they be emulating and how?
  • To what extent and for what purpose might the voice be understood as an instrument, or the instrument as a voice?
  • What kinds of historically situated models of vocality should be considered in the performance of vocal or instrumental music?
  • Which musical communities glorify or reject vocality as a model for the ‘musical’?
  • What is the nature of the relationship between instrumentality and vocality in the practice of music performance?

For Vocality/Instrumentality 2017, we extend an invitation to researchers and performers from a broad range of fields both within and outside of the musicological spectrum who wish to engage with questions that relate, in a variety of creative ways, to ideas about ‘vocality’ and ‘instrumentality’ in connection with music performance.  Papers and presentations might, for example, frame ‘voice’ or ‘instrument’ as literal, physiological entities, as metaphors or models for musicians, as cultural constructs, as a kind of vocality or instrumentality from a specific historical moment, or as actors in philosophical problems.  They might examine specific voices or vocal identities in an effort to locate the presence and meaning of vocality in relation to the act of musical performance by instrumentalists, or alternatively, consider the concept of instrumentality and its relationship with the voice and vocal music-making.  Presenters could explore aspects of the music-making practices of any time period, and are encouraged to respond imaginatively to the proposed theme.

Highlights of the weekend will include a keynote presentation by Professor Lydia Goehr (Professor of Philosophy, University of Columbia New York), and a series of live performances featuring instruments and voices.

We look forward to welcoming the international academic community to Huddersfield in January 2017 and to stimulating conversation, sharing ideas and thinking creatively in an open-minded and interdisciplinary musical environment.

Deadline for submission of proposals: Friday 7 October 2016.

Proposals of papers or presentations in lecture-recital formats (30 min presentation with 10 minute question period for both formats) will be considered for inclusion in the conference schedule.  Panel proposals are welcome, as are proposals of concerts, short performances or installations that connect to the conference theme.  Posters will also be displayed for the duration of the conference.

Additionally, there will be sessions devoted specifically to postgraduate research statement presentations.  These will allow ample time for discussion and useful feedback on both content and presentation style to be provided to postgraduate researchers by other conference delegates and an invited expert panel.  Current students whose research is musically situated and who would like to apply to make a 10 min presentation in one of these sessions can feel free to propose a topic in their area of research, whether or not it connects directly with the conference theme.  Postgraduate work is, of course, welcome throughout the conference, and not only in these sessions.

For all information, latest updates, and details on how to submit a proposal, please visit our website: Vocality/Instrumentality 2017

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