cfp: Sounds of the Pandemic

Sounds of the Pandemic
International online conference, December 16th, 2020
Scientific Committee:
Università di Firenze, Dipartimento SAGAS
Tempo Reale – Centro di ricerca, produzione e didattica musicale

Maurizio Agamennone | Antonella Dicuonzo | Francesco Giomi | Daniele Palma | Ludovico Peroni | Giulia Sarno

Keynote speakers:
Nicola Di Croce, Università Iuav di Venezia, Dipartimento di Culture del progetto
Makis Solomos, Université Paris 8, Musidanse
Laura Tedeschini Lalli, Università di Roma Tre, Dipartimento di Architettura

Call for papers

The outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic has had a strong impact on the sound of the places we live in, particularly as a consequence of the measures taken to stem the contagion. First of all, the lockdown and the suspension of most activities marking our everyday lives have produced a crucial drop in noise pollution, due to an almost total reduction of traffic: this has caused silence to emerge powerfully in the aural conscience of individuals. In the meanwhile, the lockdown has produced new sonic environments, putting in the foreground new aural experiences and acoustic elements that are usually covered by “noise”: on one hand, these include the case of musical flash mobs taking off in many countries (especially in Italy), and on the other the emergence of animal sounds in urban settings.

At the same time, many activities being transferred online has significantly changed our lifestyle, giving greater relevance to the Internet as the primary environment for music production and consumption, and more broadly as a receptacle and vector of sonic accounts of the lockdown experience: from live streaming “homemade” concerts, to field recordings collected in a variety of online projects and sound maps. 

Moreover, new aural conditions emerged once activities resumed, subject to restrictions due to the need to keep the health crisis under control. For many, lockdown silence is by now an odd memory, and traffic wraps most cities once again in its keynote: nonetheless, in many contexts, limitations are still enforced, especially in the world of the performing arts, sports and public education. Some sonic peculiarities are then to be found in the so-called “phases” after lockdown.

The conference aims to be a forum for sharing perspectives about sound in the time of pandemic, the modifications of sonic environments and the transformations in sound production/listening behaviors, not only in the musical field, but generally speaking in all human practices which are strongly characterized by sound.

Both scholarly contributions and accounts by sound artists and cultural operators are welcome. Presentation of sound recordings is strongly encouraged, but not compulsory.

A few starting points for reflection

Has lockdown “leveled out” the distinctive sounds of the world’s cities? Does lockdown make all places sound the same? Or, on the contrary, does the suspension of activities cause sonic peculiarities to surface?

What kinds of emotional response has the modifications of sonic environments generated? For example, is it possible to interpret the spread of “high sonic density” flash mobs as a way to fight the anguish of silence?

Which are the features of musical creativity on the Internet as it flourished at every level, from amateur to professional practices, during lockdown? Is it possible to foresee long-lasting transformations in expressive, listening and consumption habits?

What kind of impact are social distancing measures having in the gradual reopening of theaters and concert halls, and, in general, in the cautious restart of live musical practices? How can the challenges entailed by these measures be turned into new opportunities? 

Practical info

The conference will be held entirely online. The web platform will be communicated in due time.
Talks must be strictly between 15 and 20 minutes long, including time for presentation of sound recordings or multimedia content.
General updates will be provided on the web page of the conference and on the Facebook page of the project “Come suona la Toscana”.

How to submit a proposal

Talks in EnglishItalian or French are accepted.
You can submit a proposal by sending a 250-word abstract.
The deadline for submitting your proposal is October 18th, 2020.

Abstracts must include the following information:

Title of the talk
Affiliation (if applicable)
Email address
Short CV (150 words maximum)
Indication of possible sound recordings or multimedia content to be presented

Please send your proposal to Dr. Daniele Palma (
For further information please contact Dr. Giulia Sarno (