Narrativity and Popular Music

Popular Music and Narrativity 1-day conference, Senate
House, London, 7 June 2019
CfP Deadline:  March 31, 2019

*Confirmed keynote speaker: Prof Nicholas Reyland, Royal Northern College
of Music*

Narrativity — the property of conveying or otherwise evoking a story — is
one of the most compelling components of popular music. Storytelling in
music can operate in complex and, at times, ambiguous ways that are
distinct and sometimes divergent, from other narrative media such as film,
television and literature, offering the exciting opportunity
of media-conscious analytical approaches. As entertainment music media have
evolved, so has how and where this type of narrativity operates, from the
pub and music hall to screen media, the sphere of private listening and the
internet. Moreover, the organisation of sound through technology (e.g.
studio-based production and mixing) has created new parameters for
expression that raise new opportunities to interrogate narrativity beyond
lyrics or notated detail.  Finally, encouraged by the increasing presence
of music on the internet, there are now more forms within which narrativity
can emerge than ever before, such as multimedia concept albums, long-form
music video and transmedia projects rooted in popular music.

We invite proposals for a one-day conference that explores popular music
and narrativity through a wide range of (inter)related topics and
issues.  We seek to situate narratatological approaches within popular
music studies more broadly, as well as opening narratological fields to the
unique textuality, processes and effects of popular music.  Papers are
particularly welcomed from scholars working in interdisciplinary areas that
intersect with popular music studies through the lens of narrativity, such
as the study of fandom, adaptation, cinema and transmedia
(multimodality).  Additionally, we welcome papers that examine narrativity
in popular music through approaches that are Afrocentric, non-Western and
so on. We also welcome contributions from presentations in which practice
forms an integral part of the research.

Proposals for individual papers (20 minutes + questions) or panels (90
minutes) are warmly invited. Abstracts may address, but need not be limited

·   Popular song or video as narrative “text”

·   Narrativity relating to longer form works such as concept albums/video

·   Adaptation into and from popular music

·   Intermediality and popular music transmedia

·   Narrativity and popular music fandom (particularly the construction of
narrative around performers’ star personae)

·   ‘Sonic narratives’ and narrativity in relation to music production and

·   Popular music within digital cultures

·   Worlding/world building and popular music

·   Intersections with practices such as soundtracks and musical theatre
that illuminate narrative issues within popular music

·   Phenomenology/experiencing narrative through popular music

·   Language and language barriers complicating (or enhancing) access to

Abstracts of no more than 200 words should be sent to by 31 March, 2019. Please include title, name,
institutional affiliation (if applicable), and a short biography (max. 80
words). Applicants will be notified of the outcome by mid-April, 2019.

This conference is being partially funded by the IMR. Although we are
hoping to make this a free event, a small registration fee may apply, to
covering refreshments and lunch.

Programme Committee:
Dr. Alex Harden
Dr. Alex Jeffery

For other queries, please contact the conference email address at or check the conference website