RMA Annual Conference 2010


RMA Annual Conference 2010


Institute of Musical Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
15 - 17 July 2010

A provisional programme and booking form is now available on the IMR website: http://music.sas.ac.uk/imr-events/imr-conferences-colloquia-performance-events/royal-musical-association-annual-conference-2010-boundaries.html#c1430


Conference Abstract: The past 25 years of reflection and renewal within musicology have led relationships between our inherently interdisciplinary subject area and other disciplines to flourish as never before; the range of methodologies encompassed by those who consider themselves to work in the field has grown exponentially. At the same time, we have begun to challenge the validity of musical categorizations that have long been taken for granted both within academia and in the public at large, by exposing them as at best oversimplifications and at worst complete fabrications that tell us more about their inventors than they do about the music on which they seek to impose order; this in turn has led to reflection on the ways in which such artificial constructions can distort our understanding of music from other cultures and other periods. So how can we now define the boundaries of our subject? What impact do different ways of conceptualizing and categorizing music have on our understanding of it and on the creative activities of musicians? The aim of the conference is to encourage exploration of the ways in which those working in the diverse areas of musical research understand, challenge and make fluid some of the boundaries within their own disciplinary areas and beyond them. The following questions are intended to guide practitioner-researchers and print-based scholars alike to the main preoccupations of the conference:

How has the adoption of musicological labels, periodization and geographical or cultural classifications (e.g. First Viennese School, absolute music, Renaissance, Western/non-Western) influenced our perception of music and to what extent do such categorizations create artificial boundaries? How can we trace the development and significance of musicological categorizations?

* In what ways can traditional musicological boundaries be seen to suppress certain types of music-making and individuals through the exercising of soft power or self-censorship? What underlying ideologies influence the nature of the groupings that have been adopted?
* How are the increasingly blurred boundaries between musicology, ethnomusicology and other disciplines affecting the ways in which we understand musical activities and musicology? How are other cultural activities being affected by this trend?
* To what extent can expectations and conventions related to the way we group and understand musical activities be seen to have influenced musical creativity in the past and to influence it today?
* What can we learn from historical examples of dissonance and debate over musical boundaries?
* How have composers associated themselves with particular trends and movements, and to what extent have such groupings been creatively significant and/or resulted in a coherent body of material? How are today's composers and their compositional identity affected by our 'crossover' culture?
* How have the priorities of those involved with commercial music-making and broadcasting governed the categorization of music and adoption of labels (e.g. 'world music')? What influence do such boundaries have on musical creativity?
* To what extent do externally driven criteria, such as funding-council research themes, political agenda and the pressures of research assessment govern the directions of our discipline?

The conference will include the Peter Le Huray Lecture for 2010, to be given by Jim Samson (Royal Holloway), and keynote presentations from Martin Clayton (Open University) and Sara Cohen (University of Liverpool).

Call for proposals:
Proposals of 250 words maximum are invited for the following:

* Papers (20 minutes maximum, with 10 minutes discussion)
* Lecture-recitals and performances /demonstrations (30 minutes maximum, with 15 minutes discussion)

Proposals of 650 words maximum are invited for the following:

* Themed paper sessions of three or four papers (to include a proposal of 300 words maximum outlining the purpose of the themed session, along with brief explanations of each of the individual papers to be included - each paper to be 20 minutes maximum plus ten minutes discussion)

DEADLINE for proposals: 5pm (GMT), Friday 20 November 2009

Results and preliminary programme announced: late December 2009

Please submit by email, in an attachment including your full name and contact details, to the IMR Administrator Mrs Valerie James, at
music@sas.ac.uk. If you are a student, please say so.

Proposals will be judged anonymously. Proposals sent in by students will be given special consideration.

RMA Programme Committee: Rosamund Bartlett (Oxford), Katherine Brown (KCL), Rebecca Herissone (Manchester), John Irving (IMR), Nicholas McKay (Sussex)