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Music and/as Right Action

School of Music, University of East Anglia, Norwich UK, 29-30 June 2007


CALL FOR PAPERS

In a contemporary musical discourse largely polarised between style,
context and relativism on the one hand and scientism on the other, this
conference seeks to explore the potential of understanding music as
activity, and therefore potentially as ethical behaviour. The concept of
ethics might be understood as it is construed in various sociological,
historical, critical, and musical configurations in (and through) which it
makes sense to undertake such an exploration.  Behaviour can usefully be
understood as musical activity in respect of oneself, others, society and
culture, but also potentially in respect of approaches that would define
music as a profession, an ideal or an environment. (Please see below for a
summary of proposed sessions that offer possible avenues along these
lines.)

Key speakers include:

Professor Michael Beckerman (New York University)
Professor Andrew Bowie (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Submissions are invited for individual papers (30 minutes including
discussion), themed sessions (three/four speakers 90/120 minutes), and
round tables (90/120 minutes). Proposals (200 words for individual papers
or 600 words submitted by the proposed convenor for sessions and
roundtables) should be emailed to Jonathan Impett (J.Impett@uea.ac.uk) or
Nanette Nielsen (N.Nielsen@uea.ac.uk). Please submit the following along
with your proposal: details of your institutional affiliation, contact
information, and any Audio Visual requirements.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: 1 MARCH 2007

The programme committee will make a final decision on abstracts by 15
March and contributors will be notified as soon as possible thereafter.

Further information, including registration and accommodation details,
will be posted on the conference website shortly:
http://www.uea.ac.uk/mus/research/conferences/mara

Any queries can be directed to either of the conference organisers
Jonathan Impett (J.Impett@uea.ac.uk) and Nanette Nielsen
(N.Nielsen@uea.ac.uk).

PROJECTED SESSIONS INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING, BUT PROPOSALS FOR OTHERS ARE
WELCOME:

ETHICS, POLITICS, AESTHETICS
Music has always been an active aesthetic agent in various ethical and
political circumstances. This session aims to explore the intersection of
musical ethics and aesthetics in particular historical, social, or
cultural contexts. (There can be instances where ethics and politics are
separate entities, and these can be equally beneficial for discussion).
Given a fruitful context, we will for example interrogate the following
questions: How does music impinge on our moral evaluations, and vice
versa? Does musical creativity help us construct moral understanding? Can
we actively aim to draw on the practice of music to further our ethical
awareness?

HISTORY AND THE ETHICS OF THE IMAGINATION
This session interrogates the extent to which reconstructions of
particular events of music history can act to re-shape our ethical
conception and evaluation of this history, thereby enhancing our
understanding of music as right action. By discussing whether it is
ethically defensible and/or necessary to re-imagine history, we will
challenge our familiarity with historical stability.

DIGITAL ETHICS
Do the possibilities of action-at-a-distance in space and time combined
with the self-structuring nature of much interactive music make such work
more a question of behaviour than surface? Does music become a different
kind of activity, or might re-imagining the terms of present and future
music also help us find more relevant understandings of the past?

COMPOSITION AND CREATIVITY
A constant subtext in discussion of the activity of composition suggests
the role of some form of individual-social-cultural integrity. Can the
relationship between composer, material and discipline be considered in
terms of a "virtual" ethics of compositional behaviour?

DIALOGUE AND INTERACTION
The implicit non-rules of free improvised music would suggest action
determined only in present company and the present environment. How is
musical action determined, understood and evaluated when there are agreed
to be no cultural constraints? Might ethics be one mode in which behaviour
can be understood independently of style or rule? Is an ethics of musical
behaviour-in-the-moment distinct from its rhetoric? Can other
improvisation-based practices be understood this way?

VOICE
This session explores the rich concept of voice, firstly, in its broadest
sense (in order to evaluate the critical assessments that have already
been undertaken in scholarship), and secondly in the particular sense of a
musical tool to shape subjectivity in a given context.
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