‘The Other’ in music theory. Differences and alternatives.

14th annual Congress of the Society for Music Theory GMTH

Haute Ecole de Musique de Genève, October 17 – 19, 2014


Congress organization: Haute Ecole de Musique and the Department of Musicology of the University of Geneva


Today’s sound environment is made up of a panoply of styles and esthetic choices. Musicians are faced with an ever-increasing number of different sound contexts, and composers have a great variety of concepts at their disposition. Music theory must take these various influences into consideration, requiring an expansion of the boundaries of its reflection. Paradoxically, it appears that distant cultures have more appeal than what’s next door: thus the neighboring linguistic zones (like the French and German languages) have not yet been studied systematically. In this context it is interesting to observe that the terms théorie musicale and Musiktheorie, musicologie and Musikwissenschaft, refer neither to the same concepts nor to the same practice.


In the hopes of going beyond the linguistic limits of the German language, the annual Congress of the Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie will be organized by the Haute Ecole de Musique de Genève, with the theme ‘The Other’:

‘The Other’ in music theory, but also ‘The Other’ theory of music. This theme integrates the cosmopolitan musical culture of the area and course projects focused on cultures outside Europe.


Papers may be submitted under the following general themes (purposely left open to interpretation):


First theme: getting to know ‘The Other’ and comparing


Considering the music theory of ‘The Other’ from one’s own point of view – the strategy of setting boundaries. Esthetics and otherness.


The challenges of translation. German ‘Musiktheorie’ compared to ‘la théorie de la musique française’.


Theory and cultural environment. Daily use in teaching and research.


European and non-European music, European composed music and popular music.


History and geography of music theory



Second theme:   using the paradigms of ‘The Other’


Import/export in music theory: the routes of music and music theory


Prejudices/preconceived notions in music theory and divergent ways of thinking about music


Ethnomusicology and neurobiology: interdisciplinary approaches relevant to music theory


Is the theory of compositional techniques useful for composing?



Third theme:   borrowing and fusion


‘Interbreeding’, mixture, appropriation


Transculturality – equalization of the origins


Subdivision of music theory into individual disciplines, or integration into an overall concept


From the understanding of the musical thought of ‘The Other’ to its practical application




In addition, there will be a section reserved for themes not limited to the above.





You may propose:


Papers on the abovementioned subjects, or of your choice (20 minutes.) The Congress languages are German, French and English.


Workshops related to the subject of the congress or on a theme of your choice. Please indicate the time required (maximum 2 hours) as well as the format.


Suggestions for a thematically-organized section with several, possibly brief contributions, to a total of maximum 2 hours. Please submit a text which describes the individual talks as well as the way in which they are related.


Suggestions for a book presentation: please indicate the exact title and a brief description of the contents, and send us a copy.


Propositions for individual talks, workshops, shared projects or book presentations should not exceed 2000 characters, including punctuation and spaces.


The deadline for applications is May 31st 2014.

Submit your application here:




Planning schedule


May 11 – Deadline for application, talks and workshops

June 30 – Information concerning acceptance/rejection of proposed contributions

July 31 – announcement of the definitive congress program