The Style of Critical Essays on the Arts

“The essay is first and foremost a literary genre of critical and anti-dogmatic thought, and it is for this reason that it has exercised an essential function in the development of Western culture. Behind its form, what is revealed is not only the historical growth of the modern individual, but also public discussion and critical reason applied to themes of collective interest”. The words are those of Alfonso Berardinelli, one of the most authoritative Italian scholars of the genre. A few years later Remo Ceserani was to specify that the essay “can be considered the concrete form in which encounters between disciplines are realized in an explicit and plastic way”, given that it is “the interdisciplinary form par excellence”. The aim of issue 16-17 of «Poli-Femo» ( is to study the stylistic plasticity of the essay genre, and to analyse in particular the characteristics of critical essays on the arts: which inventions, which structures, which figures of speech, which intertextual references, which communication strategies are chosen by those who reflect on the arts.

Therefore, we will assume that research into the problematic definition of the essay, into the multiplicity of its themes, into the subjectivity and eccentricity of a thought that continues between doubts and contradictions has already been assimilated. From Theodor W. Adorno to Roland Barthes, from Klaus Weissenberger to Alfonso Berardinelli and Giulia Cantarutti, there are numerous important theoretical reflections on an open genre which «Poli-Femo» intends to discuss from the point of view of art criticism. All the arts: not only the literary arts (poetry, novels etc.), but also and above all the visual arts (painting, sculpture etc.), the performing arts (music, dance, theatre, musical theatre etc.), the constructive arts (architecture, design), the arts of the post-mechanical technological image (still or in movement: photography, cinema, video art etc.) and all those that have appeared in more recent times as hybrids or extensions or twists of the traditional arts (installations, performance art, land art, net art, comics etc.).

«Poli-Femo» therefore urges researchers in various disciplines – literary and other arts disciplines – to present articles aimed at the study of the semiotic, linguistic and literary style of criticism. Talking about style does not mean talking about “good writing”, but dealing with how an essay is created. You may decide to analyze the works of a single author and/or a “school” (Roberto Longhi and / or the “Longhiani”, for example), or you may choose to read a series of authors who have dealt with a specific art (the theorists of the Modern Movement in architecture, for example), or you may carry out a critical study concerning different arts (literature and cinema, literature and music, among others). Further topics that can be covered include:

– The origins of the essayistic style (in the forms of correspondence, dialogues, treatises), its development in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the transformations of writing on the web;

– The permeability of critical language with regard to the artistic discipline;

– The relationship between technical jargon and instances of popular publications;

– The complexity of a subjective style of writing that describes and interprets elements of artistic reality;

– Genre essay writing;

– The convergence between forms of discourse (morphology, syntax, figures of speech) and forms of thought (for example, the description of an object and the narration of an experience with that object are different).

Other proposals for study on the subject put forward by those intending to collaborate in the publication will be examined by the Scientific Committee, in order to widen the field of exploration undertaken in this issue of the Magazine. Contributions will be accepted in Italian, English and French.

To this end, the Editorial Board propose the following deadlines, with an essential preliminary step being the sending, to, of an abstract (min.10/max.20 lines), keywords and a short curriculum vitae of the proposer, by no later than 20th May 2019. Authors will receive confirmation from the Editorial Board of acceptance of their contributions by 3rd June 2019. Contributions shall be delivered on 30th September 2019. All contributions will be subject to a double blind peer review. The issue, edited by Prof. Lucia Rodler and Prof. Stefano Lombardi Vallauri, will be published in December 2019.

The Unwritten in Sources of Notated Music: Reconstruction, Editing, Interpretation, and Extrapolations

Paris, June 6 – 7, 2019

Entretiens sur la Musique Ancienne en Sorbonne, Doctoral Days, 16th edition

Institut de Recherche en Musicologie (IReMus) · Sorbonne Université – UFR de Musique et Musicologie · Association Musique Ancienne en Sorbonne · École Doctorale V Concepts et langages

The Call for Papers is available at:

Call for papers

All musical notation is addressed to readers who understand the corresponding reading codes. Beyond the graphic markings, many implicit elements are required to be able to make music from a notated source (play the score). In general, the copyist or the author does not bother to specify what is self-evident in a given time and context, which might not necessarily be evident for the interpreter of today. Early musical notation is generally relatively ‘open’ and allows the performer to adapt the work to the context of its performance. In other words, the opposition between written and unwritten does not entirely cover the questions raised by interpretive objectivity versus subjectivity, or what is fixed versus the improvised.

From these very general observations, numerous questions can be raised:

– potential versatility of the musical source, open instrumentations;

– determination of ensemble sizes and of instrumental combinations from complementary sources (iconography, chronicles, ceremonials, etc.);

– arrangement and related practices(including transcription and adaptation);

– divergent sources and interpretative issues (with or without ornamentation, with or without thoroughbass, handwritten additions on early sources, etc.);

– interests and limits of the instructions given by treatises and instrumental tutors;

– thinking about the ‘authentic’ sound of early music: taking into account historical performance conditions and spaces, history of listening;

– application of intuitive rules and implicit (nonetheless respected) practices, exceptional ‘licenses’ and usual ‘routines’; empirical and / or intuitive practices theorized (sometimes) a posteriori (musical rhetoric, theory of the fundamental bass).

These topics invite us to study and comment on the way in which the interpreter’s liberties can be managed in relation to the written source in a historically informed performance of early music.

Keywords: musical notation, orality, improvisation, empiricism, reconstruction, paratexts, listening, historically informed performance, vocality, musical analysis and rhetoric

Proposals accepted until Monday, April 1, 2019 to

Proposals must include a title, a summary of about 250 words and a biographical note of about 100 words.

Doctoral Days, 16th edition, organized by Jean-Christophe Frisch, Théodora Psychoyou and Anna Schivazappa

Scientific Committee: Catherine Deutsch, Jean-Christophe Frisch, Raphaëlle Legrand, Katarina Livljanić, Theodora Psychoyou and Anna Schivazappa

Perspectives on Introducing a Work Level in RISM, Mainz, May 2019

RISM cordially invites everyone to attend the conference “Works, Work Titles, Work Authorities: Perspectives on Introducing a Work Level in RISM.” 

May 9-11, 2019
Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz, Germany
Registration (by 5 April):

Up to now, RISM has emphasized creating descriptions of musical sources in which works are “only” included as content-related information. But new possibilities exist thanks to the concept of work titles, which are already used in libraries and are included as a type of international authority file in VIAF. RISM would like to employ this tool, but we also seek a strategy in dialogue with users from academia and libraries that goes beyond this.

Participants will have more than just the opportunity to learn about various positions concerning titles for musical works. In addition, you can bring your opinion into the discussion and workshop and thereby influence the decisions of RISM. Workshop modules will provide an opportunity to put ideas into practice. Please bring your own laptops. A test version of our cataloging program Muscat will be available.

The conference is free and open to the public.

In, from, and towards the Americas – Musical Migrations: Transnational Communities, Oral History and Cultural Memory. II MUSAM International Conference

  • Deadline: May 15, 2019
  • Conference dates: October 24-25, 2019
  • Conference venue: Complutense University of Madrid (Spain)

The II International Conference of the Study Group ‘Music and (Latin)American Studies’ (MUSAM) of the Spanish Society of Musicology (SEdeM) warmly encourages submissions within the following themes, although other topics are also welcome:

– Methodologies, historiographical problems, and sources for the study of migratory processes in music towards/from/in the Americas.

– Migrations of musicians: motivations and networks.

– Circulation, reception, and transformation of repertoires, genres, and musical and choreographical techniques.

– Export/import of musical instruments, organological models and performance practices.

– Transnational communities and musical migration.

– Oral sources and historical interpretation.

– Interrelations between academic and popular musical repertoires.

– Familiar history, domestic spaces, and everyday life.

– Musical migration: construction of individual and collective memory.

– Colonialism, Postcolonialism, and Cultural History: interdisciplinary challenges and musical imaginaries of Americanism.

Proposals must be sent as an attachment (.doc, .docx, .rtf) to, and include: title and abstract (ca. 200 words), institutional affiliation (when applicable), short bio (ca. 150 words), e-mail. Languages: English, Spanish and Portuguese

Conference fee: 40€ (ES88.2100.3477.9322.0009.7194)


Study Group ‘Music and (Latin)American Studies’ (MUSAM) of the Spanish Society of Musicology (SEdeM) and Complutense University of Madrid


Victoria Eli Rodríguez (Complutense University of Madrid)

Javier Marín López (University of Jaen)


Belén Vega Pichaco (University of La Rioja)


Enrique Cámara de Landa (University of Valladolid)

Emilio Casares Rodicio (Complutense University of Madrid)

David Cranmer (Universidade Nova de Lisboa-CESEM/Caravelas)

María Gembero-Ustárroz (Mila & Fontanals Institution-CSIC, Barcelona)

Julio Ogas Jofre (University of Oviedo)

Irma Ruiz (CONICET, Universidad de Buenos Aires)

Juan Francisco Sans (Central University of Venezuela)

Belonging and Detachment: Representing Musical Identity in Visual Culture


Hobart, Tasmania, 13-15 November 2019

The 19th International Conference of Association Répertoire International d’Iconographie Musicale (RIdIM) will be held at the University of Tasmania, Hobart (Australia), from 13 to 15 November 2019.

The Call for Papers is available at: The deadline for submission is 1 April 2019.

Association Repertoire International d’Iconographie Musicale (RIdIM).
Badergasse 9, CH-8001

Theatre and Performance Research Association Conference. Sound, Voice & Music WG: Listening Across

University of Surrey, 4-6 September 2019.

Listening is, unsurprisingly, a primary concern in the study of the aural and the sonic. Foundational texts of sound studies have proposed various taxonomies for understanding listening as both ontological and phenomenal: from Don Ihde’s phenomenology of listening and philosophy of sound (1973) to Michel Chion’s categorisation of listening modes as causal, semantic and reductive (1994) and Jean-Luc Nancy’s examination of listening as distinct to hearing (2007). More recent theorisations have foregrounded listening as corporeal and carnal (Le Guin 2006); porous and intersubjective (Cavarero 2005); implicating the voicer and listener in an in-between (Thomaidis and Macpherson 2015); embedding the posthuman sound-maker in a sonic/vocal assemblage (Neumark 2017); and conceiving listening as agential in the politicising of sound (Stoever 2016). Such conceptualizations deny any neat division between listening ‘as an actual practice and as a conceptual sensibility’ (Voegelin 2010), reposition it as ‘a political tool and the possibility of wider social and political change’ (Farinati and Firth 2016), and renew its epistemic force ‘as the basis for a knowledge production that is equally a position of radical empathy’ (LaBelle 2014). How do such formulations of listening ‘speak’ to each other? How do methodologies of listening interconnect and interact? What is the role of performance in inviting, cultivating, and rethinking practices of listening across?Given the proliferation of methodologies, conceptualisations, and critical interrogation of listening as well as of new, emergent, and developing practices of listening in contemporary sound, music and vocal performance, we invite presenters to consider such topics as:  

  • Listening across disciplinary boundaries (see Voegelin and Barney)
  • Listening intersectionally (see Thomaidis 2017): across identities, categories and positionalities of class, ability, race, ethnicity, gender, age and sexuality
  • Cross-temporal and cross-historical modes of listening on- and off-stage
  • Intersubjectivities of listening and radical ethics of listening
  • Listening across performance theory and practice
  • Performing cross-species listening; engaging the more-than-human as a listener in music, theatre and sound art
  • Integrating, privileging or subjugating listening to other senses in performance; intermedial and multimodal listening
  • Listening to/in performance across time and space
  • Listening-across as composition or dramaturgy
  • Training the interdisciplinary or intersectional listener

  In response to the above areas, we invite expressions of interest for:  

  • formal papers (up to 20 minutes)
  • provocations or position statements (up to 10 minutes)
  • laboratory explorations rooted in practice research (for example workshops, demonstrations, performance lectures or other appropriate formats between 30-60 minutes)

Submitting a proposal

Please send a 300-word (max.) proposal and a short biography in a Word document via email. Please also include precise details of your resourcing needs, for example, any audio-visual technology, or a particular type of space (e.g. drama studio) that you will need to make your presentation. Email abstracts and information to the Working Group conveners, Leah Broad, Adrian Curtin and Konstantinos Thomaidis, at

The deadline for the submission of proposals is Monday 8th April 2018.

Early Career Researchers Bursary Scheme: If you are an Early Career Researcher, then you are eligible to be considered for a TaPRA ECR Bursary. Please follow this link for more information, and please indicate on your proposal whether you fit the criteria and wish to be considered for the bursary scheme:

Postgraduate Bursary Scheme: There will be a separate call for PG Bursaries later in the year, but please do indicate in your proposal whether you are planning on applying to the scheme.    

Please note: only one proposal may be submitted for a TaPRA event. It is not permitted to submit multiple proposals or submit the same proposal to several Calls for Participation. All presenters must be TaPRA members, i.e. registered for the event; this includes presentations given by Skype or other media broadcast even where the presenter may not physically attend the event venue.

The Operatic Century: European Opera in Latin America during the Long Nineteenth Century (1789-1914)

Clare College, University of Cambridge, 25 June 2019; supported by the Royal Musical Association

The nineteenth century has long been recognised as the era when European opera became a truly global phenomenon. Grand opera houses were established throughout Asia, Africa and the Americas during and after the end of European colonial rule, and Latin America emerged as a vibrant and increasingly prominent axis of the global opera industry. Recent decades have witnessed a flourishing body of research on the dissemination of European opera in Latin America – above all Italian repertory – while scholarship in global history has highlighted the entanglement of musical activity within broader networks shaped by the mobility of people, goods and ideas.

This conference aims to enrich our understanding of operatic culture throughout the long nineteenth century by a focus on Latin America’s operatic boom. Organised in conjunction with the IMS study group “El RIIA: Relaciones Italiano Iberoamericanos, El Teatro Musical”, it will explore how the diversity of European operatic activity across Latin America can reshape existing narratives about western operatic history, as well as nuance accounts of Latin America’s cultural and political history. 20 minute papers should be presented in English, and possible topics could include:

– The operatic canon

– Adaptation

– Visual representations of opera

– Performance practice and stage technology

– Touring opera

– The reception of opera in other artistic media

– Newspaper criticism

– Opera beyond the opera theatre

– Highbrow and lowbrow

– Singers and musical training

– Nationalism and cosmopolitanism

– Listening cultures

– Translation

– Opera and urban development

– Ideas of Italy and italianità

– Latin America in the European imagination

Proposals should be sent by email to the convenor, Ditlev Rindom, by 31 March 2019, 5pm GMT. Decisions will be communicated as soon as possible thereafter. Proposals and enquiries should be emailed to

RMA/KVNM Postgraduate International Research Symposium in Musicology

Saturday 29 June 2019, University Library, Amsterdam

Postgraduate research is a vital part of the musicological discipline, and holds the potential to change engagements with music in new and important ways. With the recent growth of musicological research in conservatoires and broadening of the subject in universities, research students have been engaging with a wider range of approaches and perspectives to the subject than before. This event, organised in cooperation with the two oldest musicological organisations in the world, the UK Royal Musical Association (RMA) and the Dutch Koninklijke Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis (KVNM), aims to bring together postgraduate researchers from both universities and conservatoires in The Netherlands, Belgium, and the UK for a knowledge exchange that aims to future develop national and international collaborations across the field.

Proposals from MA students and PhD researchers are encouraged from any discipline, including but not limited to historical musicology, ethnomusicology, performance studies, composition, music psychology, and music education. Papers should be 15 minutes long, and will be followed by questions from the audience. Abstracts of up to 300 words, along with AV requirements, institution, paper length, and a biography of up to 100 words should be sent to The deadline for submissions is midnight on 6 May 2019.

The RMA has kindly offered a three bursaries for students in the fields of historical musicology, 21st-century musicology and ethnomusicology, and practice-based research (composition and performance) to cover the travel costs for members travelling from the UK. Students willing to be considered for this are asked to send in their abstracts by midnight on 8 April 2019.

Organising committee:

Núria Bonet (Plymouth University, RMA)

Rutger Helmers (University of Amsterdam)

Michiel Kamp (Utrecht University)

Petra van Langen (KVNM)

Marten Noorduin (University of Oxford)

National Musical Cultures in the Central and South-Eastern Europe: Initiatives and Arguments, Development and Dialogue

Cluj Napoca, 11 April 2019

Gheorghe Dima Music Academy in Cluj-Napoca, Romania

in collaboration with

Sigismund Toduţă Doctoral School and

the Association of the Composers and Musicologists

is pleased to announce the International Symposium

National Musical Cultures in the Central and South-Eastern Europe:

Initiatives and Arguments, Development and Dialogue

hosted by Gheorghe Dima Music Academy on April 11, 2019 and coordinated by musicologist Bianca Ţiplea Temeş.

The event is organized as part of the “Cluj Modern” Festival and allows the participants to retrace aspects of cultural identity in the region.

The contributors will provide valuable insights, recreating the intricate sonorous landscape of this geographic area, with its post-1918 redrawn frontiers.

Keynote Speakers:

Jim Samson (Emeritus Professor, Royal Holloway University of London) 

Ioan Aurel Pop (Rector of the Babeș-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca; President of the Romanian Academy)

Session 1  DIALOGUES: Romania and its neighbours

Ioan Aurel Pop (Rector of the Babeș-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca; President of the Romanian Academy) – keynote speaker

Transylvania within Romania: Historical Patrimony and Intercultural Interferences

Otilia Badea (College of Art and Music ”Victor Brauner” Piatra-Neamț; Seminar of Historical Antropology of the Babeș Bolyai University Cluj)

Convergent and Disjunctive. The Romanian National Music through the Double

Perspective of Composers from Transylvania and the Old Kingdom

György Selmeczi (University of Theatre and Film Arts, Budapest)

National Characterology in Central Eastern European Music. The Dichotomy of Hungarian Music History

Elena Chircev (Gh. Dima Music Academy Cluj-Napoca)

Romanian Contributions to the Perpetuation of the Byzantine Musical Tradition

Florinela Popa (National University of Music Bucharest)

Music and National Identity in Romania during the 20th Century

Session 2   ARGUMENTS: Exploring musical identities within national borders

Jim Samson (Emeritus Professor, Royal Holloway University of London) 

– keynote speaker

Challenging National Paradigms in Music history: the Case of South East Europe

Zdravko Blažeković (City University of New York, The Graduate Center)

The Nationalistic Symbolism and Decorative Transformation of the Croatian and Serbian Gusle during the 1990s

Jan Dušek (Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Music and Dance Faculty)

Bohemia: Still the Conservatory of Europe?

Anita Mayer-Hirzberger (Department of Musicology and Performance Studies, University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna)

What is „Austrian Music”? About the Creation and Discussion of National Music in Austria after 1918

Bianca Țiplea Temeș (Gh. Dima Music Academy Cluj-Napoca)

Hearing the Stateless: the Aromanians in the Balkans

Harmonisation and the Law – an interdisciplinary approach to legislative drafting

Wednesday, 4th June 2019, 2pm, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London

Confirmed Speakers include:

Dr Maren Heidemann, IALS, University of London

Dr Simon Desbruslais, University of Hull

Dr Martin Parker Dixon, University of Glasgow

The seminar brings together scholars from several disciplines of the arts and humanities in order to revisit the notion of harmony in a number of contexts. Harmony plays a role in music, architecture, sculpture, philosophy, sociology and many more scholarly disciplines, last but not least in the law where it has acquired a fixed place in legal terminology without ever enjoying a clear definition, though. Harmonisation of laws is often synonymous with uniform law. The conveners of this event believe, however, that harmonisation, if understood properly, could be a powerful tool in shaping better law and are proposing research with the aim to explore the full potential of harmony and harmonisation for the law by building a new, innovative and interdisciplinary method and meaning of harmonised law.

The speakers have their background in law, musicology and philosophy.

Academic conveners: Dr Maren Heideman and Dr Simon Desbruslais

Draft Programme:

13.30 registration and coffee

14.00  Welcome and introductory remarks, convenors

14.10 “Harmonisation and the law – developments and potential”,  Dr Maren Heidemann

14.30 “The evolution of musical harmony”, Dr Simon Desbruslais

14.50 “Harmony as an aesthetic value”, Dr Martin Parker Dixon


About the speakers:

Dr Maren Heidemann is Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (Centre for Corporate and Finance Law)  and a guest lecturer and postgraduate tutor at Queen Mary, University of London, Centre for Commercial Law Studies. She is a qualified lawyer (Germany) and since 2007 has held a number of academic teaching and research positions at UK universities, including as a Lecturer in Commercial Law at the University of Glasgow. She is the author of numerous monographs and journal articles and leads the research project “The Future of the Commercial Contract in Scholarship and Law Reform” at the CCFL. She is also an active musician, a graduate of the Conservatoire of the City of Cologne and has experience in ensemble management as well as in orchestral, chamber music and  and solo performance as a flute player.

Dr Simon Desbruslais is Lecturer in Music and Performance Coordinator/ Musical Director of the University of Hull Chapel Choir at the University of Hull. He is author of “The Music and Music Theory of Paul Hindemith” (Boydell & Brewer), and was the first British scholar to publish in the Russian Journal of Music Theory. Dr Desbruslais is also an accomplished trumpet soloist including critically-acclaimed recordings and a musicologist, with active research interests in music theory, analysis, and performance studies.

Dr Martin Parker Dixon is Lecturer in Music at the University of Glasgow, School of Culture and Creative Arts as well as a College Teaching Associate in Music at St John’s College, University of Cambridge where he obtained his doctorate in the subject of philosophy as well as a Diploma in Computer Science. He studied composition and classical guitar at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. One of his recent research projects includes the Collaborative Doctoral Partnership with the British Library “The music of Thea Musgrave, an analysis based on the manuscript sources” for which is is a Principal Investigator. He is also a composer of a number of commissioned works for established opera companies and festivals.

For further information and booking, please visit: