Improvisation, Community and Social Practice

Call for papers

Paper proposals are invited for an international, interdisciplinary conference on Text, Media and Improvisation, to be held at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on June 21 and 22, 2008. This conference is organized by members of an inter-university research project entitled Improvisation, Community and Social Practice.

While papers may touch on a wide range of themes related to the conference title, areas of concern might include the following:

  • problems in the notation and description of improvisatory practice;
  • cross-media, multimedia or intermedial improvisatory practices;
  • the status of improvised practice as text or discourse;
  • the relationship of sonic and graphic forms in improvisation;
  • improvised practice and cultural memory;
  • social and technological issues in the transmission and reception of improvisational practice.
  • While musical improvisation will be a core theme of the conference, papers on improvisation in relation to other cultural and social practices are welcome. Proposals for papers should include a title, the name and affiliation of the author and an abstract of 300-400 words. Please send proposals by January 31, 2008 to Will Straw

    Popular Music and place in contemporary Latin America

    SLAS Conference
    March 28-30
    University of Liverpool

    Call for papers

    Music is a present element in the life of individuals living as part of communities and nations. Music in Latin America holds a rich variety of expressions originated within and outside the region. In an expansive trend of cultural globalisation, the study of music in its relationship to place and identity becomes a tricky task. This panel invites paper proposals by researchers working in the field of popular music in contemporary Latin America. Special interest is drawn to topics which relate to the complexities of the relationship between music and nation, identity, and memory.

    Deadline for proposal submission 10th of February (Please not that you need to register to the conference no later than the 15 th of February).

    If you would like to present on this panel please send an abstract to Violeta Mayer

    Information on

    Music and the idea of the North

    Call for papers

    Music and the idea of the North

    6-7 September 2008
    Venue: Sullivan Room, Leeds Town Hall

    A conference to mark the 150th anniversary of the opening of Leeds TownHall, hosted by: The Institute of Northern Studies, Leeds Metropolitan University Leeds University Centre for English Music (LUCEM), University of Leeds Leeds International Concert Season Opera North

    On 6 September 1858, Queen Victoria travelled to Leeds by rail to open the new town hall, built to an ambitious prize-winning design by the young Hull architect Cuthbert Brodrick. In the festivities which unfolded over her two-day visit, music played a prominent role, from the 32,000 Sunday-school children who sang hymns as the procession passed, to the massed choral forces which delivered the Hallelujah Chorus at the climax of the ceremony itself. In the decades that followed, Leeds Town Hall became one of the most widely recognised emblems of civic pride in the north of England, and a prestigious venue for the festival premières of works such as Edward Elgar’s Caractacus, William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, and Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Sea Symphony.

    To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the opening of the town hall, LUCEM and the Institute of Northern Studies present a two-day conference addressing connections between music and global northern identities: how does music express ideas of ‘the north’ and ‘northerliness’, and how have musical cultures been shaped by the dynamics of north vs south?

    Papers are invited on any aspect of music and the north, but are particularly encouraged on the following themes:

  • music and northern landscapes;
  • northern venues and institutions for music;
  • regional variation in audiences, markets, and consumption of music;
  • musical tensions between north and south (within nations, regions, cities, etc.);
  • cultural policy and regeneration;
  • comparative studies of music in northern centres;
  • music and ethnic-minority communities;
  • popular, folk, and traditional musics;
  • northern styles and genres;
  • music, industrialisation, and civic identity;
  • music, politics, and radicalism.
  • Proposals (up to 200 words) for papers of c. 20 minutes’ duration should be sent by 31 March 2008 to the programme committee:
    Professor Tony Collins, Leeds Metropolitan University
    Dr Rachel Cowgill, University of Leeds
    Professor Dave Russell, Leeds Metropolitan University
    Professor Derek Scott, University of Leeds

    Our keynote speakers will be:
    Professor Sherrill E. Grace, University of British Columbia, author of Canada and the Idea of North (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001)
    Professor Peter Davidson, University of Aberdeen, author of The Idea of North (Reaktion, 2005)

    Further details will be posted on the LUCEM and Institute of Northern Studies websites in due course.

    Psytrance: Local Scenes and Global Culture

    Call for contributors for an edited collection

    Psytrance: Local Scenes and Global Culture
    Edited by Graham St John

    This volume seeks contributions to the study of psytrance (psychedelic trance) culture. In particular, it will feature research attending to psytrance as a product of intersecting local and global trajectories. International and interdisciplinary, the collection will host contributions from scholars researching psytrance in worldwide locations, employing various methods, within multiple disciplines: including anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, media studies, ethnomusicology and studies in religion.
    Rooted in Full Moon parties held on the beaches of Goa, India, in the 1970s and 1980s and incubated within “Goa Trance” scenes flourishing around the world in the mid-1990s, psytrance culture mushroomed globally over the past ten years. Inheriting from ecstatic and visionary pursuits of 1960s psychedelia, sharing music production technologies, DJ techniques and the culture of electronic dance music scenes, and harnessing the communication capabilities of the internet, psytrance would develop distinctive sonic and visual aesthetics, organizations and events, discourse and practice. This cultural proliferation would depend upon the growth of exotic sites of travel, exchange and performance (from Goa to Koh Phangan, Thailand, Bahia to Bali, Ibiza to Nevada’s Burning Man and so on). With events attracting enthusiasts from dozens of nations, in the early 2000s psytrance festivals would become what are likely the most culturally diverse music and dance events on the planet. By 2008, psytrance music, style, and texile fashions are evident in scenes the world over, with the music and culture translated among populations across Europe, in Israel, North America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South America, Mexico, Japan, and elsewhere.

    Possible themes to be explored in the collection:

  • The roots of psytrance and the development of electronic trance music.
  • The hybridization of aesthetics, genres, and subcultures in psytrance culture.
  • The role of new communications media and music technologies in production, performance and culture.
  • Globalization and psytrance music and culture.
  • The cultural economy of psytrance.
  • Gender, race, class and psytrance.
  • Psytrance and counterculture.
  • Psychedelics, entheogens, and the trance experience.
  • The trance dance “experience” illuminated performance and/or trance theory.
  • Sonic/visual appropriation/sampling.
  • Trance carnivals and transgression.
  • Pilgrimage and festivals.
  • Fandom, and trance enthusiasts.
  • New spirituality, visionary culture, and psytrance.
  • Distinctions between “travellers” and “tourists”.
  • Theories of subculture, neotribalism, scenes, and psytrance.
  • Contradictions and hypocrisy within psytrance countercultures.
  • While the volume will address these and other themes, contributors should keep in mind the principal objective of the collection: to investigate the local, regional, or national translations of psytrance, on the one hand, and its global character on the other. Chapters will at the very least attend to either the local or global dimensions of psytrance music and culture. Submissions focusing on the interfacing of local/global dimensions will be especially appreciated.

    Interested contributors should send a 250-300 word abstract to Graham St John by May 1 2008. Please send abstract and direct questions to Graham


    British Library Lectures in Musicology 2007/8

    Royal Holloway
    British Library Lectures in Musicology 2007/8

    The 2007-8 lectures, ‘Rock and British Musical Culture 1955-2005’, will be delivered by Prof. Simon Frith (University of Edinburgh).

    Sponsored by the Department of Music, Royal Holloway, University of London and supported by the British Library.

    Lectures take place on the following Wednesdays from 6 pm to 7 pm at the British Library Conference Centre.
    Admission is free, without ticket.

    23 and 30 January, 6, 13, and 27 February, and 5 March 2008

    History of Stardom Reconsidered Vol 1

    New Publication Series on Popular Culture

    Vol 1. History of Stardom Reconsidered

    The International Institute for Popular Culture (IIPC) is happy to announce the launching of a new refereed online series on popular culture. It publishes monographs, edited collections and conference proceedings, and it is open for all scholars of the field.

    The first volume History of Stardom Reconsidered can be downloaded as pdf files at

    … alles hat seine Zeit. Age and Ageing in Popular Music

    Call for Papers

    … alles hat seine Zeit
    (All things have their season)
    Age and Ageing in Popular Music

    19th Conference of the Arbeitskreis Studium Populärer Musik
    (the German Association for the Study of Popular Music ASPM)
    31st October – 2nd November 2008 in Akademie Remscheid near Cologne, Germany

    Remember ‘Hope I die before I get old’ – that supposed pop consensus in the late sixties? Since then, the ageing process has certainly left its mark on the productive forces and forms of all genres, topics, performers and listeners of so-called popular music. The starting point of the discussion at the nineteenth ASPM conference will be the fact that such processes are not only increasingly having an impact on the production and reception of popular music – but in fact always have had.
    Age as a stamp of quality in the blues and jazz, age as a blind spot in pop, or as a simulation of perennial vitality and potency in rock (Mick Jagger) but also as a sign of premature ageing (Ozzy Osbourne, Keith Richards) … Of course we will scarcely be investigating the ageing process in the artists, but rather that of the genre itself. Can we speak of a ‘later style’ in the Stones’ work? Why can pop mainstream products – after a certain safe passage of time – be termed evergreens or (in an inversion of the meaning) oldies? Are sweet sixteens immortal?
    If the performers can’t be made responsible for the cliché of popular music as youth music, can we then look to blame the audiences? And what power to define ‘youthfulness’ (as in sex and drugs and rebelliousness) does popular music actually still have, when teenagers go to concerts with their Mamas and Papas?

    At the ‘… alles hat seine Zeit’ conference, German-language popular music scholars will be looking at this topic for the first time. We warmly invite scholars of all disciplines interested in the multifarious questions and processes of ageing in popular music to contribute.
    Selected contributions on the focus topic of the conference will be published after peer review in the Beiträge zur Popularmusikforschung (Contributions to Popular Music Research) series ( Bielefeld : transcript-Verlag).
    The languages of the conference and the publication will be German and English.

    Papers should be registered at the ASPM office with title and abstract by 1st April 2008:

    Arbeitskreis Studium Populärer Musik e.V.
    Ahornweg 154
    25469 Halstenbek

    or mailed to Alenka Barber-Kersovan

    Further details can be found on our website: Arbeitskreis Studium Populärer Musik

    Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Interactive Media and Performance

    Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Interactive Media and Performance

    Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Regina

    The Faculty of Fine Arts, with Dr. Charity Marsh, (Canada Research Chair in Interactive Media and Performance) at the University of Regina, is now advertising for a Post-Doctoral Fellow. The fellowship is related to Dr. Marsh’s research in one or more of the following areas: 1) (Indigenous) Hip Hop Cultures; 2) DJ Cultures including EDM, Club-Culture, Rave Culture, Techno, Psy-Trance, on-line, community, and pirate radio; and 3) Isolation, Identity, and Space: Production and Performance of Popular Music in Western and Northern Canada.

    In addition to working on the Canada Research Chair research projects, the Post-Doctoral Fellow will have the opportunity to develop their own research interests, participate in the broader activities of the Interactive Media and Performance Lab (IMP), the Interdisciplinary Studies graduate program, Department of Media Production and Studies, the Faculty of Fine Arts, and the University of Regina. The Post-Doctoral Fellow will have access to the IMP labs (which house a multi-media DJ interactive studio and performance/ workshop space, beat-making/production studio, and an ethnomusicology and field work lab), and the New Media Studio Lab (which houses HDTV Imaging and Editing Suite, a surround sound research studio, and a 3-D visualization lab).

    The Post-Doctoral Fellowship is a one-year term, starting May 1, 2008 (or July 1, 2008), and renewable for a second year after a successful year-one review. Funding for this fellowship is provided by the University of Regina and the Saskatchewan Innovation and Science Fund. The Fellowship award is $32,500 per annum (non-negotiable).

    The Post-Doctoral Fellow will be expected to engage in an active program of scholarly research in collaboration with Dr. Marsh and will be supported by a $2,500 research/travel grant for the tenure of the fellowship. The candidate will also have the opportunity to apply for sessional teaching and corresponding stipends (up to two half courses per year) subject to the availability of funds and the needs of the Faculty of Fine Arts and the University of Regina.

    The successful applicant will have a recent Ph.D. and research experience in the areas of Media Studies, Popular Music Studies, Ethnomusicology, Indigenous Studies, Cultural Studies, Socio-Cultural Anthropology, or equivalent. The Fellow will have the capacity to undertake independent research as well as to manage large and ongoing research projects related to the Canada Research Chair in Interactive Media and Performance.

    Applicants should submit a c.v., a one-page description of a research plan that would be carried out during the period of the appointment; a description of courses that one could offer in Media/ Film Studies, Music, and Interdisciplinary Studies; and a proposal for a special topics course. Applicants should describe the areas and strengths in research and teaching that they would bring to the Faculty of Fine Arts.

    For more information please consult Dr. Charity Marsh at or 306-337-2623.

    Deadline for applications is April 1, 2008.

    Send applications to the following address:

    Dr. Charity Marsh
    Canada Research Chair
    Ed. 243 – Media Production and Studies
    University of Regina
    Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada S4S 0A2

    The eXtensible Electric Guitar Festival

    the eXtensible Electric Guitar Festival

    Since its development in the mid-twentieth century, the electric guitar has had a profound influence on many aspects of music, creating new sounds, spurring the development of new musical styles, and reshaping concepts of musicianship. In the early twenty first century, despite retaining its iconic status as a symbol of innovation and transgression, the electric guitar and its uses now seem commonplace, almost routine; in short, the instrument may be in danger of losing its edge.

    The Extensible Electric Guitar Festival aims to rediscover and showcase the electric guitar’s spirit of innovation and exploration. To that end we are looking for music and musicians that use the electric guitar in innovative ways and which extend its capabilities. Music which uses the electric guitar as a controller, with electronics and computers, and with multi-media are encouraged. We anticipate having two evening concerts, one in a concert hall setting, another in a club setting. There

    Music: The Extensible Electric Guitar Festival
    Clark University, Worcester MA USA
    April 4-5, 2008Call for Music and PerformersDeadline: 01/01/08Project directors:
    David Claman
    Matt Malsky (Clark University)

    Symposium: The Extensible Electric Guitar Festival
    Clark University, Worcester MA USA
    April 4-5, 2008Call for Presentations
    Symposium: ‘Instruments of the Post-Prohibitive Age’Deadline: 01/01/08Our symposium begins where Kyle Gann’s keynote to the Extensible Toy Piano Festival (Nov. 2005) left us — with a consideration of the ‘post-prohibitive era’.** Listeners have access to music from every historical era, social context and geographic location, and it’s all accessible instantaneously. Musicians can synthesize all previous musical thought. Every musical style, unusual sound, revolutionary impulse or aesthetic ideal can be incorporated into new music. If modernism’s relationship with mass-culture was marked by a fear of contagion, our post-prohibitive era might be thought of in terms of information-overload. And how do we go about making sense of it all?

    Full text of this call

    Postgraduate Open Day

    Postgraduate Open Day
    Department of Music, University of Nottingham

    Tuesday 11 December, 12:00-6:00.

    – Find out more about Nottingham’s distinctive MA in Music (with pathways in Early Music, Music and Gender Studies, Music and Geography, Music and Film, Theory and Analysis) and research degrees in musicology and composition.
    – Find out about funding opportunities.
    – Talk with staff and current students.
    – Tour the Music Department and the Graduate School.
    – Attend and participate in two postgraduate research events.
    – Attend a colloquium in the Music/Geography “Spaces of Sound” series.


    12:00 Buffet lunch and introduction to Nottingham’s postgraduate programmes in Music
    2:00 Postgraduate Reading Group (discussing Susan McClary’s ‘A Musical Dialectic from the Enlightenment: Mozart’s Piano Concerto in G major, K. 453, Movement 2’, Cultural Critique 4 (Autumn 1986), pp. 129-69)
    3:45 Coffee and tea
    4:30 Music/Geography Spaces of Sound seminar: Dr Polly McMichael (Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies, University of Nottingham), ‘Constructing the Soviet Rock Star’

    Please address any queries to the Postgraduate Admissions Officer, Adam Krims