“Musica practica, musica theoretica” – A Musical Work as a Message

On behalf of the Faculty of Theory of Music at the I. J. Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznań, I would like to invite you to participate in the 17th International Conference from the series “Musica practica, musica theoretica” – A Musical Work as a Message – which will take place on 21-22 April 2020 in the Presidential Hall of the Academy.

          The focus of the Poznań conferences has always been on the issues of a musical work and various types of relations between theory and compositional practice. This time, the organizers intend to reflect on the communicative possibilities and properties of music. However, the topic is not categorical and rather encourages discussion, the framework of which has for many years been well-known aesthetic and musical orientations: heteronomic and autonomous orientations (M. Piotrowski), and respectively: referential and absolute (L. Meyer) or transcendental and immanent orientations (H. Goldschmidt). And indeed, it is worth making the suggested problem areas dependent on searching for answers to the question whether music can communicate something. The reply determines further questions, namely what (is the subject of this message) and – possibly – how (does it happen)?

Whether. In the first scope, the conference organizers open the possibility to engage in polemics with two aesthetic orientations – for sake of good order, let us assume heteronomous and autonomous orientations. In this area, it would be possible, for example, to show this dispute in a historical perspective. However, a more detailed issue would be an attempt to answer the question of whether all works or only certain types or genres thereof are entitled to communicative status; or perhaps this entitlement should be relativized due to a specific cultural circle and/or the time (social functioning) of the composition?

The answer to the question about the communicative status of music determines the direction of further research. Let us note that denying the communicative status to musical constructs – in general or parts of them – immediately raises the question about the essence of such compositions: about the sense of composing them. So if this sense should not be to communicate anything to the recipient, and therefore if we remove musical structures outside the symbolic culture – why and for what purpose are they created? Perhaps the statements made during the conference will include proposals for solutions of this issue as well. At this point it is worth signaling only that these decisions can run – in particular – in two directions: a non-symbolically understood musical piece is a sign (symptom) of certain states of affairs – the creator’s emotions or mental states, or/and an stimulus evoking such states in the recipient.

Of course, the submission of each of these proposals immediately raises the question of the mechanisms enabling either the expression (manifestation) of these states, or their evocation. In particular, when it comes to such understood musical expression, the question that arises immediately is whose emotions are discussed here, and – which is probably even more important – what is the foundation of their recognition in the musical work by its recipient.

What (is the subject of the musical message)? – in this problem area, a field is opened for representatives of various positions, i.e. both immanent (after all, the subject of the message can be the specific musical message itself) and semiotic. The circle of considerations also includes issues of analogy between music and language seen from the perspective of e.g. semiotics, and phenomenological and immanent approach. Examples of such issues are:

  • Message versus aesthetical-musical code;
  • Aesthetical autonomy and its social function (C. Dahlhaus);
  • Message versus cultural context;
  • A musical work as an artistic experience and area of ​​scientific cognition (e.g. opera as a historical narrative).

How? – this area of issues may cover considerations devoted to:

  • Composing strategies in the light of the theory of motivation and communication;
  • Conceptualization of musical discourse – relationships and contexts;
  • Intersemioticity of music;
  • Interference of semantic structures in music;
  • Method of communicating meanings in music;
  • Intertextuality of artistic messages.

Presentation of the paper together with music examples should not exceed 20 minutes. The conference languages ​​are Polish and English, and the presentation in Polish should be accompanied by a presentation in English or a translated paper, delivered to the organizers by March 15, 2019.

Conference participants shall be offered accommodation, board and modest remuneration.

You are kindly requested to declare your willingness to take part in the conference and send us (in Polish and English):

  • your presentation’s title,
  • a biographic note (up to 300 characters),
  • an abstract of your paper (up to 2000 characters),

no later than 31th December 2019.

Upon receiving our acceptance – no later than 15th January 2019 – you will be asked to transfer a conference fee of PLN 300 by 31st January 2019 to the following account number:

BZ WBK S.A. VI O/POZNAŃ 66 1090 1362 0000 0000 3601 7907

Your application, subject, biographic note, abstract of the presentation and payment confirmation should be sent to Julia Gołębiowska, Ph.D.’s email address: golebiowska.julia@gmail.com

Further details shall be sent at a later date.