[ 2. August 2016 ]

CONDERENCE – (CFP) Experiments in Music Research, 9 December 2016, University of Birmingham

Von: pjvcmr@gmail.com via cec

Datum: Mon, 1 Aug 2016

Betreff: [cec-c] (CFP) Experiments in Music Research, 9 December

Experiments in Music Research

Reassessing Pierre Schaeffer’s Contributions to Music and Sound Studies

9 December 2016

Department of Music, University of Birmingham

Patrick Valiquet, organizer

The Traité des objets musicaux(Treatise of musical objects) is the

central theoretical text for the loosely-defined ‚acousmatic‘ school of

composers that spun off from Pierre Schaeffer’s quarter century of

research for the French public broadcaster, first as director of the

Groupe de recherche de musique concrète (GRMC), and later with the

Groupe de recherche musicale (GRM). Now, fifty years after its original

publication, Schaeffer’s work is finally beginning to appear in English

translation. At the same time, his carefully wrought meta-language for

the relationship between human listening and musical sound is

increasingly being tested as a conceptual resource for musicology and

sound studies more generally.For all his notoriety, however, it is

remarkable how little critical attention has yet been paid to the

anatomy and genealogy of Schaeffer’s thought. Engagement with

Schaeffer’s ideas, in English especially, has been unevenly focused on a

small portion of his eclectic conceptual repertoire, and mostly written

from a microscopic perspective that favours putting his system to work

over understanding its historical and intellectual implications.

Meanwhile, histories of experimental and electronic music have typically

emphasized Schaeffer’s work as an engineer and composer over the

theoretical project which he considered his highest achievement.

A closer reading of the Traité complicates such reductions. The book is

both a prolegomenon to experimental composition, and an exploration of

the implications of a musical pluralism brought about by an expanding

global mediascape. His concern was not simply with studying listening as

a phenomenon or with prescribing specific listening practices, then, but

with repositioning listening as the foundation of all musical

discipline: from the savoir faire of his solfège, to the analytical

attention of his ‚music research‘. Any critical reevaluation of

Schaeffer’s work should thus be situated not only in relation to the

history of electronic music, but also in relation to the history of

musical listening and its representation in musicology and sound studies.

This one-day conference invites new critical readings of Pierre

Schaeffer’s work. Its goal is to reassess the position of Schaeffer’s

theory in the history of musicology and sound studies, its proximity to

contemporary concerns in the study of listening and auditory culture,

and the implications of engaging with its terminology and epistemology

outside of the acousmatic tradition. While previous Schaeffer

scholarship has largely maintained a prescriptive focus on the

composition and reception of musique concrète, this conference seeks to

amplify the dialogue between Schaeffer’s theory and other disciplines.

It is timed to precede the appearance of the English translation of the

Traité, and will thus set the agenda for future research in the field.

Possible topic areas include, but are not limited to:

the Traité des Objets Musicaux as a historical document

the Traité, the GRM, and acousmatic music as cultural institutions

comparative readings of Schaeffer’s theory with that of his contemporaries

critical re-readings of the Traité’s taxonomies

Schaeffer’s work as a media personality, novelist or essayist

Schaeffer’s philosophy of science and technology

the Traité as an analytical or compositional resource for non-acousmatic


Schaeffer and the theory of interdisciplinarity

Schaeffer’s work from the perspective of music psychology and cognitive


Schaeffer’s work from the perspective of ethnomusicology and auditory

culture studies

applications of Schaeffer’s ideas to the cinema and visual media

language, speech, and semiotics in the Traité

Abstracts of up to 300 words should be sent to patrick.valiquet@ed.ac.uk

by 30 September 2016. The conference will take place in the Department

of Music at the University of Birmingham on 9 December 2016, and will be

free to attend. A limited number of small travel stipends are available

for doctoral students and early career researchers. Please indicate your

intention to apply for a stipend when you submitting an abstract.

Selected presenters will be invited to contribute to an edited volume of

essays to be published after the conference.

Experiments in Music Research is presented in collaboration with Scott

Wilson, director of the Birmingham Electroacoustic Sound Theatre,

University of Birmingham, and with the support of the Institute of

Musical Research, Royal Holloway, University of London.