Department of Music

This Magic Moment: Capturing the Spirit and Impact of Music
The 2004 Experience Music Project Pop Conference
Seattle, April 2004

This Magic Moment: Capturing the Spirit and Impact of Music
The 2004 Experience Music Project Pop Conference
Seattle, Washington
April 15 - 18, 2004

It might be a song, an album, or a performance, the flowering of a vision
or the eruption of a scene. Music often seems to come to us in a kind of
burst, leaving behind the sense of a mystery that needs deciphering. But
what's the best approach? Musicians can be frustrated by attempts to
categorize rather than delve into their work. Journalists often find that
their deepest take on a subject comes long after their piece has been
turned in. Academics grapple with how to bring issues of emotion, affect,
and meaning into their analyses.

For the 2004 EMP Pop Conference, we invite papers and other kinds of
presentations that closely examine specific musical moments, past and
present, across any genre. The idea is to bring to the surface aspects of
musical experience that often get subsumed in tidier accounts. All
perspectives are welcome: political, literary, musicological, historical,
sociological, aesthetic, identity-based, and beyond.
Participants are urged to treat the way they write about music as
seriously as what they write about. This year's conference will serve as
the basis of a future special issue of Popular Music devoted to questions
of style and perspective in music writing. To that end, and beginning with
the abstracts that are submitted, we'd like to see work (however
scholarly, engaged, or experimental) whose sense of language rises to the
challenge of the music under examination.
The Pop Conference, now entering its third year, is an annual event,
hosted by Seattle's interactive music museum, Experience Music Project.
This gathering connects an unusually broad range of academics,
journalists, musicians, industry figures, and anyone else interested in
ambitious music writing that crosses disciplinary walls. The 2002
conference inspired a book, "This is Pop," due out in 2004 on Harvard
University Press. A second book, based around the 2003 and current
conference, is under development. For more information, go to:

This year's program committee includes: Gage Averill (NYU), David Brackett
(McGill), Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney), Michelle Habell-Pallan
(University of Washington), Margo Jefferson (New York Times), writer Greil
Marcus, Ann Powers (EMP), Oliver Wang (UC Berkeley), Eric Weisbard (EMP),
and writer Douglas Wolk. The conference is sponsored by the Seattle
Partnership for American Popular Music: EMP, KEXP, and the University of
Washington School of Music.
We welcome maverick suggestions, encourage performance ideas, and can
accommodate nearly any form of technological presentation. Proposals
should include a roughly 250 word abstract of the paper, a brief biography
of the presenter, preferred affiliation/title, and complete contact info.
Please send all proposals by December 15, 2003, to Eric Weisbard at