cfp: 25th International CHIME Conference: Barbarian Pipes and Strings Reconsidered— Negotiating Authenticity in the Musics of China: Transcultural Perspectives

Barbarian Pipes and Strings Reconsidered — Negotiating Authenticity in the Musics of China: Transcultural Perspectives

25th International CHIME Conference, Heidelberg CATS, October 1-4, 2023

Exactly 25 years after the last International Chime Conference in Heidelberg that focused on “Barbarian Pipes and Strings,” we return to the city by the Neckar and the Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS) that now houses the CHIME Collection to reconsider musical practices in China from a transcultural perspective.

From Confucian debates about the “musics from Zheng and Wei” to more contemporary disputes on “lascivious musics” and “spiritual pollution”—Sunny Side Kong Yiji 阳光开朗孔乙己 just being one of the more recent examples—from controversies over ownership and copyright in old and new folksong or regional opera; to complaints about exoticism on the one hand and self-orientalism on the other—the question of how dangerous, strange or (in)authentic sounds and musics are and who “owns” them, has been important to music-making in China—even while melodies, instruments and sounds from afar have, for the longest of times, been considered some of its most “typical” elements. In this conference, we suggest to explore, how in China’s music worlds “authenticity” has been claimed, contested and negotiated

  • through and during transcultural processes and encounters,
  • through, by and with technology and media,
  • in religious or stately rituals,
  • in gendered performances,
  • in moments of cataclysmic change,
  • in the context of institutionalized (and politicized) musicking,
  • through spatial delineations,
  • in philosophical, literary or legal writings,
  • in reference to other sound cultures and environments,
  • in everyday life.

As is usual for CHIME conferences, the conference program will be accompanied by a variety of concerts, exhibitions, and film screenings—in the offing for you are a new Turandot performed with Chinese puppets in the Museum of Ethnology. You will also be able to see an exhibit of their treasure grove of musical instruments from China, you will be able to witness a rethinking of Gustav Mahler’s use of Chinese poetry in Lied von der Erde, through the eyes of contemporary Chinese poets and musicians, hear the sounds of the Zheng redeveloped in conversation with American bluegrass music and other such “Rhapsodies in yellow”.

The languages of our meeting are English and Chinese. We very much encourage speakers to bring summaries or translations of their presentations, which we will make available to all conference participants.

This year’s Organising Committee for this 25th Chime Conference, consists of Barbara Mittler, Odila Schröder, Petra Thiel, Li Huan, Wang Xidan and Frank Kouwenhoven.

We welcome abstract submissions for:

  • Individual twenty-minute paper presentations on the conference theme (max. 250 words, please indicate if you are not willing to offer your presentation as a poster);
  • Panel sessions of three to four papers (including a panel abstract of max. 250 words and abstracts for each contribution of max. 200 words);
  • poster presentations (max 150 words);
  • performances, workshops, film showings or roundtable discussions (max. 250 words, please indicate the length of the contribution).

Please indicate which of the topics mentioned above you would like to address and add the presenter’s name(s), affiliation(s) and contact details of all participants in your submission.

Abstracts should be sent to by 5 June 2023.