The Charisma of Dissonance

“The Charisma of Dissonance”

Musicological Society of Australia 37th National Conference
29 Nov – 2 Dec 2014
Melbourne, Australia

CFP Deadline 10 March 2014
Dissonance is integral to human experience. Awesome, beautiful, and
terrifying, it occurs in nature in the form of thunderstorms, 
tsunamis,and earth tremors - and music is created in their honour. 
At the root of communal human tragedies, dissonance leads to war,
bloody revolution, and terrorism, and music is performed for 
relief. Soul destroying and depressive, dissonance occurs in 
interpersonal relationships through intimidation, unrequited love,
and death, and music is received as cathartic. Vicariously we are 
charmed by the theatrical villain whose dissonant behaviour 
encapsulates an intoxicating freedom that resonates with the ego. 
Although typically considered undesirable – something to avoid, 
escape or be freed from – without dissonance there is no 
contrasting time of peace or joy. No need for music. From acts of 
dissonance arise creative solutions, new technologies, new sounds,
and new ways of being. Without dissonance there can be no heroes 
and no history to record and analyse. An essential component of 
musical creation, as both sound object and programme material, the
charisma of dissonance is inescapable. 

Individual papers which address this theme are warmly welcomed; 
however, papers on other topics of current research are also 
invited, as are proposals for panels of up to four papers on a 
common theme. In the centennial year of the commencement of World 
War I it is anticipated that several consecutive sessions will be 
devoted to the musical responses, outcomes and products of a war 
that has historically – albeit controversially – been described as
"Great", and thus constitutes a quintessential expression of the 
charisma of dissonance. 

Abstract Submission Procedure and further information is available

All enquiries should be addressed to