Electroacoustic Music Studies Network Conference 2012

Electroacoustic Music Studies Network Conference 2012
11-15 June 2012

The Royal College of Music & Elektronmusikstudion
Stockholm, Sweden

EMS12 Conference Theme:
Meaning and Meaningfulness in Electroacoustic Music

Meaning is essential to all human activity and the arts are special bearers of meaning relevant to all cultural communication. Whereas the term meaning suggests something that can be investigated and defined, meaningfulness introduces a quality of significance that seems at once more approachable, malleable and personal.

Meaning in music encompasses a vast area of inquiry, approachable from a multitude of intersecting avenues and, in electroacoustic music, the subject is distinguished by several unique features. Is meaning in music immanent within its structural and formal design? Is it emotional? Is it aesthetically embedded? Is it constructed by listeners both individually and collectively? Is its significance embodied?

Semiotic approaches and studies of intention-reception highlight the interdependence of composers and listeners. Meaning may be considered as an exchange and becomes less a kind of objective quantity and more a process related to qualitative meaningfulness. Composers, on the creative side of the communication chain, often focus on the job at hand; subjective and aesthetic intentions intermingle with both compositional and technical concerns. For electroacoustic music, as a sound-based art, listening is a primary mode of action and often the sole means of reception. Listeners focus initially on experiencing, on making sense of and on understanding the sounds and their relationships. These may be musical or other types of extrinsic, referential sounds.

In all of its guises, electroacoustic music is, moreover, dependent upon a technical medium. Are the diverse technical media, which are employed for electroacoustic music, meaning-neutral, or do they condition – from the perspectives of the composers, performers or listeners – the meaning(s) of the music? What are the differences between delivery via large arrays of loudspeakers, iPod earplugs, internet, installations or live performance. Is the medium a message or a massage?

Electroacoustic music also integrates well with other art forms, in particular those that utilize digital media or are digitally mediated. How does the intermedial environment affect meaning in music and across media?

It is our hope that the conference theme – Meaning and Meaningfulness – will inspire broad interest among the electroacoustic music community, including composers, performers, musicologists as well as other related disciplines.

The call for papers is not limited to any particular type of practice within the diverse field of electroacoustic music. Rather an inclusive approach is advocated in order to bring together a wide variety of theories and practices including acousmatics, live electronics, intermedia and more.

Papers should address specific topics in the call. While some references to works by the presenting author(s) may be cited, these should not be the main focus of the paper.

Related topics
The conference is also open to other topics relevant to the history and/or contemporary practice of electroacoustic music. We encourage the submission of papers relating to any aspect of the field, including but not limited to analysis, perception, listening, terminology, composition, performance, cultural issues and education. See website for additional details.

Conference Co-Chairs
Bill Brunson
Mats Lindström

Steering Committee
Marc Battier
Leigh Landy
Daniel Teruggi

Guidelines for Submission

Deadline for receipt of submissions:
Tuesday 17 January 2012, 09.00 CET (GMT+1).

Reply Date:
Notification of acceptance will be emailed to applicants by mid-February.

Abstract submission guidelines:
Submissions will be made directly by email to ems12 [at] ems-network.org.

A submission should consist of a zipped folder containing:
– The paper abstract in English or French (minimum 1,000 – maximum 1,500 words), headed with author name(s), organization affiliation (if any), contact address, telephone, and email address in PDF:

  • A curriculum vitae (2 pages maximum) in PDF;
  • A list of publications (2 pages maximum) in PDF;
  • A brief bio (150 words) in PDF.
  • The abstract should be ready for publication if the paper is accepted. A program containing the paper abstracts will be made available on the EMS website (www.ems-network.org) and distributed at the conference.

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

    Paper presentation guidelines:
    Each paper presentation will be 30 minutes (including a 5 minute question period). (Changes between speakers will be made at a parallel station.)

    Papers can be given in English or French.

    Standard presentation equipment will be provided including a video projector, CD/DVD player and stereo sound system.


    Bill Brunson
    The Royal College of Music in Stockholm

    Mats Lindström