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The 'Languages' of Electroacoustic Music
Fourth International Conference, Electroacoustic Music Studies Network ('EMS07')

De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, June 12-15 2007

Call for Proposals

The EMS Network has been organised to fill an important gap in terms of
electroacoustic music, namely focusing on the better understanding of the
various manifestations of electroacoustic music. Areas related to the
study of electroacoustic music range from the musicological to more
interdisciplinary approaches, from studies concerning the impact of
technology on musical creativity to the investigation of the ubiquitous
nature of electroacoustic sounds today. The choice of the word, 'network'
is of fundamental importance as one of our goals is to make relevant
initiatives more widely available." (

EMS07 - Electroacoustic Music Studies - Conference Theme:  The 'languages'
of electroacoustic music

Conference Committee
      Marc BATTIER (MINT-OMF, Université de Paris-Sorbonne)
      Simon EMMERSON (MTI, De Montfort University, UK) Leigh LANDY
      (MTI, De Montfort University, UK)
      Daniel TERUGGI (INA/GRM, Paris)

12-15 June, 2007 - De Montfort University, Leicester, UK

The EMS conference is organised yearly through the initiative of the
Electroacoustic Music Studies Network, an international team which aims to
encourage reflection on the better understanding of electroacoustic music
and its genesis, appearance and development over the span of a century.
 The organisers are all engaged in the key areas of debate and actively
seeking the development of solutions. The first conference, in October
2003, was a result of the initiatives of De Montfort University (UK), the
University of Paris-Sorbonne (France), and INA/GRM (France).

It took place at the Georges-Pompidou Centre in Paris, within the auspices
of IRCAM's Résonances 2003 festival. The second conference took place in
October 2005 in Montreal  in collaboration with Concordia and McGill
Universities and the Université de Montréal. The third takes place in
October 2006 Beijing, China in cooperation with the Electronic Music
Association of China's (EMAC) MusicAcoustica 2006 Festival.

As of 2006, thanks to a collaboration with ISAST (International Society
for the Arts, Sciences and technology) and OLATS (Observatoire Leonardo
des Arts et Technosciences), a Leonardo EMS prize will be given to a
selected communication of a young researcher publication of the paper in
Leonardo (MIT Press).

The 4th Conference will start on the evening of Tuesday 12th June 2007
(registration will be from 18.00, welcome and opening concert at 20.00)
and conclude in the late afternoon of Friday 15th June. The conference
will be preceded by a one day workshop (free to participants), 'New
Protocols in Electroacoustic Music Analysis' on Tuesday 12th June
09.30-18.15 (see details below).

Organisation of the EMS07 Conference
Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre, De Montfort University
(UK) in collaboration with members of the EMS Network.

While the theme of EMS06 (Beijing) concentrated on a crucial aspect of
language, namely terminology and attendant questions of translation and
local knowledges, EMS07 (Leicester) aims to look at some perennial
questions of language and analysis with respect to the electroacoustic
field. Are there parallels with how language works or is this an unhelpful
metaphor? There have been many different approaches to analysing works in
an attempt to find out 'rules' (a 'syntax') common to a composer, genre or

In 2007 it will be twenty-one years since the publication of The Language
of Electroacoustic Music (edited by Simon Emmerson) (Macmillan (UK) &
Harwood Academic (USA), 1986). This brought together writings on a cluster
of ideas around electroacoustic music 'language' - such as
spectromorphology, sound symbolism, soundscape-landscape, 'abstract and
abstracted' syntax, and the influence of (then recent) developments in
computer technology on language. Have any of these strands 'come of age'
in the intervening years? Much has challenged many of the definitions and
assumptions of the 1980s: hybridisation with other musics (techno,
non-western) and new technologies (audio-visual); new listening habits,
venues and media of dissemination and exchange; the identity of the work
itself may be open form, fluid, real-time. And then there are the
increasingly blurred distinctions of composer and performer, venue and
studio, 'live' and 'machine', performance and installation. Finally the
emerging and emergent properties of the internet as both source and site
of new developments. But are these developing new 'languages'? Do these
new musics 'express' anything new?

Keynote speakers

Denis Smalley (City University, London)
Katharine Norman (Pender Island, BC)

Topics and keywords for paper proposals EMS07 (Leicester)

None of these is exclusive, any may be combined, others added. Critiques
of the terminology, categories and assumptions made in this list will be
perfectly acceptable.

- What types of discourse are relevant to electroacoustic works?
- What analytical methods are currently being developed?
- Can one adapt existent analytical methods of music to electroacoustic
  works, many of which involve no prescriptive notation?
- How can we further develop the field of study of electroacoustic musics?

Transcription and representation of sound, new audio-visual tools:
- How are analytical tools being produced and disseminated in the
- What means are available for communicating the sonic form through 
  symbolic and graphic representations?
- Does the study of electroacoustic musics require specifically designed
  tools or can it take advantage of methods conceived for other musics?

Taxonomy, terminology - 'meaningful' units of music description:
- What systems of classification are in use or should be developed?
- How can we become more consistent in our use of terminology in a field 
  as dynamic as electroacoustic music?

Real-time music making:
- How can live performance/composition strategies be analysed?
- What is 'live' electronic music?

Performance, presentation, dissemination:
- What is the 'work'?
- New presentation spaces, technologies.
- Internet communities, group compositions and performances.

Listening, Intention-Reception:
- Issues of perception and interpretation.
- How do the composer's intentions relate to what is perceived?

Semiotics/semiology, 'meaning':
- What (and how) do different electroacoustic music genres express?

Soundscape, sound ecology:
- Analytical tools for the understanding of soundscapes.
- New approaches to sound ecology, sonification, sound environment.

Genres/styles, 'languages':
- Questions of unity, diversity, plurality, multicultural resources,
polystyle, hybridisation, 'local music'

Gender issues:
- Have gender balances shifted in the last twenty one years?
- The relationship of technology and electroacoustic music to gender.
- Unrecognised contributions: revising history.

Furthermore ...
Proposals concerning any other themes related to electroacoustic music
studies, such as sources and resources are most welcome.

Guidelines for submission of proposals for presentations

The duration of each paper will be 20 minutes (not including the question
period of about 10 minutes).  The papers will be given in English or

Multimedia support will be provided in the form of video projector (for
laptops), overhead projector, CD and DVD player, internet access and
stereo sound system.

Submissions are to be made electronically to

A submission must consist of -
- The paper proposal abstract (in English or French, 1,000 words
  maximum), headed with your name, organisation affiliation (if any),
  contact address, telephone, and preferred e-mail address;
- Curriculum vitae (including a list of publications);
- Brief biography (150 words maximum).

The abstract should be ready for publication if the proposal is accepted.
A programme containing the paper abstracts will be available in advance
on the EMS website and distributed at the conference.  

Submissions from research students and early career postdoctoral
researchers are particularly encouraged.


Deadline for receipt of proposal for presentation: Tuesday 2 January 2007.
Paper acceptance decisions will be completed by Saturday 13 January and
emailed without delay. The full conference programme will be available
late January 2007.

Submission address:


Accepted papers will be published on the Electro-Acoustic Music Studies
Network website

Pre-conference workshop - free to all conference participants
Tuesday 12th June 2007 09.30-18.15

'New Protocols in Electroacoustic Music Analysis'
(This workshop is funded by an ICT-Network award)

Within the area of electroacoustic music analysis we are seeing new,
highly dynamic approaches being developed using ICT that aid in the
greater understanding of musical content and intention. These include:
interactive analytical tools; use of multimedia/hypermedia in analysis and
presentation of analytical results; documentation of non-prescriptive
notated composition; the intention/reception approach - triangulation; and
computational approaches to electroacoustic music analysis. This workshop
will allow participants the opportunity to be have hands-on access to some
of the tools being developed. A round-table discussion with the invited
specialists (one or more representing each of the fields mentioned above)
would be held to investigate where we think we are in terms of
electroacoustic music analytical methods and where we think we should be

09.30-10.00 Registration for those attending the workshop;
10.00-13.30 Invited guests introduce their ICT-based methods;
14.30-16.30 Parallel hands-on demos of all systems;
16.45-18.15 Round table discussion with participant feedback.

Invited guest presenters:
Prof. Michael Clark (Huddersfield) - interactive composition/Sybil
Prof. Barry Truax (Simon Fraser University) - production
documentation/hypermedia publications
Prof. Eduardo Miranda (Plymouth University) - computational analysis
Yann Geslin (INA/GRM-Paris) - multimedia/Acousmographe system
Dr. Pierre Couprie (MINT/Sorbonne & MTI/DMU + online publication -
Musimédiane) - hypermedia publication of analytical results
Dr. Kate Stevens (MARCS/Univ. of Western Sydney) intention/reception from
a music psychology point of view - new ICT-based metrics

Registration for this workshop will be part of the registration for the
EMS07 conference. Details will be available from January 2007.
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