Technologies of singing

Call for Papers

Technologies of singing. Investigations of the dispositive singing – body – media at the dawn of sound recording

International and interdisciplinary conference November 2-4, 2018 at Detmold University of Music

From March 2016 the DFG-funded project “Technologies of singing” was established as a joint project of University Paderborn and Detmold University of Music. Recordings of singing voices from the first decade of the 20th century are investigated with respect to acoustic aspects (how does the voice’s timbre change?) and their relation to body and media discourses of that time. Instead of accepting recordings as documents of vocal praxis, we understand them as sources of media-based aesthetics that are closely linked to singing praxis and body history.

The project will be completed in November 2018 by an international and interdisciplinary conference that shall present and discuss the results from the work performed within the project. The international research community is invited to contribute with an oral or poster presentation related to or extending the following research topics:

1. Careers of singers || media
* Gramophone kills the opera star – To what extent are careers of singers determined by the sound recording medium?
* Life is Live – What role do live performances play for media careers?

2. Interaction between technique and voice
* Technique || voice: What is the influence of (historic) recording devices and conditions on singing?
* The phonograph is not an opera house: What aesthetic ideas and ideals influenced voice recordings?

3. Singing || Body || Media discourses
* Concepts: What role did the development of technical media play for the conception of singing and body?
* Pedagogics: Can paper documents of singing pedagogics be read as sources of body discourse?
* Body-ness || bodiless-ness: Where has the body gone in sound recordings? What role does the experience of a bodiless voice play?

Please send an abstract of max. one page and a short curriculum vitae by February 15th, 2018 to

The congress committee will decide about acceptance of the contribution as oral or poster presentation depending on the number of submissions. A decision will be communicated by March 31, 2018.

– Oral presentation 20 min. talk + 10 min. discussion
– Poster presentation: A0 upright format

A poster award will be given to the best poster, the decision will be made by the conference participants.

The conference languages are English and German.

A supplement to travel and accommodation expenses will be offered on demand. No conference fee will be required.

A book publication of selected contributions is planned. The deadline for submission of manuscripts will be December 31, 2018. Details will be made available in due time.

Further information will be continuously updated on the project webpage:

Conference chairs:
Prof. Dr. Rebecca Grotjahn, Musicology seminar of Paderborn University and Detmold University of Music (
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Malte Kob, Erich Thienhaus Institute, Detmold University of Music (
Dr. Karin Martensen, Musicology seminar of Paderborn University and Detmold University of Music (

Julia Daihs, Detmold University of Music (