Notation in Contemporary Music: Composition, Performance, Improvisation

Notation in Contemporary Music: Composition, Performance, Improvisation

Call for Papers / Performance Presentations

Contemporary Music Research Unit
Department of Music, Goldsmiths, University of London

18 – 19 October, 2013

This symposium proposes to bring together composers, researchers and practitioners working in contemporary music, and musicologists studying the influence notation has had for composers and performers.
From the problematics of the score as music’s sound-image to the the (im)possibility of transcription, contemporary music has been challenging the role of notation on various levels. Several responses such as non-standard formats of open works, graphic or text-based scores, have today become standard practice. To the extent that new notation seeks to problematize traditional ideologies of music performance, the symposium seeks to address the limits that current notational practices wish to explore, and to throw open possibilities for future endeavours. As such, post-WWII approaches are considered to be part of standard performance practice, although past practices can prove fruitful today in unexpected ways. Especially after the deconstructive turn in philosophy and the arts, music notation has seen novel interpretations, which are particularly welcome, although the symposium is aimed at accommodating all current directions. Recent developments in composition, aesthetics, technology, or performance can inform this gathering, which hopes to constitute a space of thinking today’s notation at the intersection of current research in such fields.

Themes might include, but are not limited to:
Graphic notation
Relationship between notation and improvisation
New complexity
Aesthetics, philosophy, and notation
Visual music
Word scores

Proposals of up to 300 words are invited for 20 minute presentations with 10 minutes questions. Please also include a short biographical note of around 100 words.

In addition, proposals involving practice are encouraged. These may take the form of a 30 minute presentation split between practice, speaking and questions as desired by the proposer, or pieces which could be performed as concert items. In the case of these presentations, please supply a full list of equipment needed for the presentation/piece.

Simultaneous to, and affiliated with, the symposium will be a study day devoted to the AHRC funded Digital Scores project led by Mick Feltham (University of Sussex) and Alistair Zaldua (Goldsmiths). Depending on the number of applicants this study day may run in parallel with the Notation in Contemporary Music symposium, however a discourse between acoustic notation and digitally determined/influenced notation will be sought and encouraged. Composers, performers and researchers involved in the this area are invited to submit abstracts. Information on the Digital Scores project can be found at

Please send proposals and indications of interest to either Professor Roger Redgate: , Dr Dimitris Exarchos:, or Alistair Zaldua:

Deadline for proposals: Friday, 14 June 2013

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