Music Analysis Today: Crisis, or (r)evolution?


Music Analysis Today: Crisis, or (r)evolution?

Strasbourg, 19–21 November 2009

Université de Strasbourg
Research Group ‘Approches contemporaines de la Création et de la Réflexion

Société française d’Analyse musicale

With the support of Institut d’Esthétique des arts et technologies
(Université de Paris-1/CNRS) & IRCAM (Paris)


Musical research in general has undergone considerable transformation in the
last decades, as concerns both its object and its methods. The respective
breaking up of these, together with the calling into question of traditional
approaches in the historical as well as in the theoretical domains have led
to a situation amounting, for certain thinkers, to a crisis. However, it
may be that beyond this ‘Babelization’ of music studies, a broader
disciplinary field is emerging, at once more international and
transdisciplinary, the diversity of which reflects an ongoing reconstruction
and a transformation of epistemological status. Are we witnessing a global
and lasting weakening of all norms, or, on the contrary, a change in
dominant ideas and paradigms—but also biases?

This conference proposes to examine some of the orientations which have thus
significantly modified analytical practice together with its theoretical
foundations, taking as a symbolic reference point the 1989 European Congress
in Colmar which sought to map the landscape of music analysis. Since that
date, it may be considered that the geography of music analysis has been
altered at least in a threefold way by: (i) the emergence of new corpuses,
(ii) transformations in modelling, and (iii) the shifting of disciplinary

Papers, in English or in French, of 30’ duration each, should develop one or
more of the above themes through a non-exclusive, critical approach.
Reflexion should be backed up with concrete analytical examples.

Topics may be chosen from the following, although other suggestions will be

– new analytical methods (systematic or mathematic approaches,
neo-Riemannian theory, transformational theory, computational musicology,
computer-assisted analysis, etc.),

– new corpuses for analysis (improvised, traditional—notably
non-Western—music, pop-rock, electro-acoustic music, etc.),

– new domains (performance practice, reception, etc.),

– new supports (visual representations, sound recording, digital support
systems, etc.)

– the epistemology of analytical research (history of music analysis, the
analysis of analysis, relation of analysis to other musicological approaches
or to other disciplines, etc.).

Proposals for individual papers, of no more than 700 words, together with a
short CV, should be emailed simultaneously to Mondher Ayari
<> and Xavier Hascher

The deadline for the submission of proposals is 17 April 2009.

Notification of acceptance will be sent by the end of April. It is intended
that the proceedings of the conference shall be published.