Material Cultures of Music Notation: An Interdisciplinary Conference

Friday 20 – Sunday 22 April, 2018

Utrecht University, The Netherlands

With invited speakers, Roger Moseley (Music, Cornell University), Beth Williamson (History of Art, University of Bristol), and Kiene Wurth (Languages, Literature and Communication, Utrecht University)

Since the late twentieth century, many of the arguments for an understanding of music as a social and cultural practice have proceeded from a critique of the centrality of the score in traditional music scholarship. In the current landscape of music studies, this critical move has been largely successful, with few scholars still considering notation an objective representation of music per se. However, this begs the question of how to conceptualize the role of musical writing, representation, and visualization in the cultural practice of music.

This international conference approaches notation not just as a vessel of music-theoretical knowledge, but as an object of social interaction and cultural exchange. It encourages an interdisciplinary approach to a topic that has been at the centre of musicology’s disciplinary identity, by engaging work in media studies, material culture, science and technology studies, and sensory studies. It aims to bring together (ethno)musicologists and scholars in other fields working on a variety of forms of musical notation, to reconsider the nature of notation in terms of the mediation of cultural identity, creative agency, and the musical imagination, rather than the representation of musical structure.

The conference committee is: Dr Floris Schuiling and Eliane Fankhauser (Utrecht University), and Dr Emily Payne (University of Leeds).

This conference is funded through a Veni Postdoctoral Grant offered by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

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