Notation for Improvisors

Conference Supported by the Institute for Musical Research (IMR)

9th February 2019, Senate House, London


Existing studies of innovative musical notation and performer collaboration overlap, yet their interface, or mutual influence, remains unexplored. This event will explore notation that enables collaborative processes through its realisation in performance extending from printed media into include audio, video, and digital media and practices such as conduction, live video and audio as notation, and para-notation (the marks commonly made by performers on scores). It will examine the spaces and regions in which collaboration and notation cross-over and mutually influence, change, determine, and restrict each other and argues for a more fluid, or dynamic space for notation. Practice-based research exploring dynamic notation and/or multi-media for improvising performers across disciplines, through composition and performance will also be welcomed.

Contributions are invited and encouraged from scholars and practitioners in music and further afield. Dialogue between scholarship, practice and praxis, and between disciplines through inter- and cross-disciplinary work is particularly of interest. ‘Traditional’ conference paper presentations (20 minutes + questions) are possible, alongside presentations in alternative formats involving performance, multi-media or participation. If the latter, full details of what will be needed and what will be provided should be submitted alongside the proposal.

The keynote speaker has been confirmed, we are happy to announce that Professor Matt Wright (website) will deliver the keynote lecture. Matt Wright currently works at Canterbury Christ Church University, as Professor of Composition and Sonic Art (staff page).


Topics for presentations might include:

•Improvisation and collaboration: Is it possible for notational practices within multi-media to make collaborative processes visible through composition

•Documentation: How might practitioners document and explore collaborative responses to contemporary notation involving practitioners with different disciplinary backgrounds and levels of expertise?

•Possibilities and limitations: How might the possibilities and limitations of notation be explored and expressed within notation itself?

•Legacy: What might be meaningful methods of documenting the processes and practices of practice research in this area to ensure the longevity of its knowledge claims beyond the moment of practice?

Please submit:
a 300 word abstract
an indication of the format and duration of the presentation
a list of any technical or other requirements in order to present the research

Deadline: 1 December 2018

Grants for Early Career Researchers

Five small grants are on offer for Early Career Researchers if traveling from outside London, and subject to the distance traveled. If you are interested in receiving one of these grants, please indicate this on your proposal, or email Alistair Zaldua directly. Priority for these grants will be given to researchers who propose a paper, and more grants than five may be awarded if finances allow.


RMA Music and/as Process Study Group 6th Annual Conference

Call for Papers/Lecture Performances
Conference: Music and Language Friday 29th June – Sunday 1st July, 2018
Edinburgh Napier University, School of Arts and Creative Industries, Merchiston Campus

We welcome proposals for contributions in the following formats:

  • Paper (20 minutes + 10 minutes questions)
  • Lecture Recital (30 minutes)
  • Participatory lecture/workshop (30 minutes)

The theme of the conference is Music and Language, both spoken and written.

Whilst the Music and/as Process Study Group has previously been aimed towards the field of music, the call remains open to practitioners and researchers within the spoken arts, and sound poetry and beyond who are drawn towards an association with the theme.

Particular themes covered might include:

  • Sound Poetry Linguistic processes in composition and new music performance
  • Oulipo
  • Radio art (or Hörspiel)
  • Concrete Poetry / Phonetic art / Lautpoesie
  • Spoken/Written Language in the construction of new music/performance/creative work
  • Interactive spoken word performance
  • Translation

Proposals should include all of the details of the proposed contribution:

  • the name(s) of presenter(s)
  • email address of presenter(s)
  • affiliated academic institution
  • title of paper/lecture-recital/workshop
  • 200-word abstract
  • [for participatory workshops only] description of the format of the workshop
  • A full list of any technical requirements and other resources


Please send your proposals by email to Alistair Zaldua:
Deadline for proposals: Friday, 09 March 2018 Notification of successful presentations can be expected in late March 2018.

In your proposal please clearly indicate all of the presenters, including any performers if you do not intend to perform your own work. Unfortunately, the study group is not able to provide any financial assistance to attend the conference, or to support the creation or performance of works at the conference.

All presenters and performers will be required to register and pay the conference fee. At present we are working to keep this as low as possible, and we do not anticipate it being higher than £50, with a discount for students, unaffiliated ECRs, and RMA members.