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Commercial Electronic Musical Instruments in 21st Century Music Practice

Posted: February 29th, 2024 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | Comments Off on Commercial Electronic Musical Instruments in 21st Century Music Practice

The 21st Century Music Practice Research Network’s 2024 Two Day Conference is on Mon & Tue, 9th & 10th September 2024 at the University of West London, St. Mary’s Road, Ealing, London W5 5RF.

2024’s C21MP network event is themed around Pete Townshend’s long-term loan to UWL of his extraordinary collection of commercially produced electronic musical instruments. Presenters who wish to use one or more of the instruments from UWL’s Townshend Studio in their video or in the session should contact the organisers to discuss the possibilities (see list below).

The format of the conference is a repeat of last year in that it is inspired by the format of the ‘flipped classroom’:

  • Themed panels involve three ‘presenters’ and a discussant / moderator. Presenters must be able to attend in person on 9th & 10th September 2024.
  • Each presenter produces a 20 minute video of their presentation in advance of the conference which are available online for attendees (and the public) two weeks in advance. All presenters and moderators must watch all three videos in advance of their ‘in person’ session.
  • During the session, each presenter gives a five minute summary / abstract which is followed by 75 minutes of discussion between the four panellists and with audience involvement, led by the discussant / moderator.
  • Presentations can involve practical demonstration, musical examples and performance but must address a research question and point towards or provide answers / new knowledge. If you want to use one or more of the instruments in UWL’s Townshend Studio please contact the organisers.

300 word abstracts using the format outlined below should be submitted to [email protected] by 5pm GMT on 28th April 2024 and selected abstracts will be notified by 26th May 2024.

Selected abstracts will submit 20 minute videos by 5pm GMT on Monday 12th August 2024. Proceedings will be published on the website.

There will be eight panels based on the following:

Conference Themes

1. Music technology – discussions about the nature of Commercial Electronic Music Instruments (CEMIs) – their unique sounds and the types of interfaces both for triggering the sounds and for editing them. How are sampling and synthesis being used to create new instruments? Are there alternatives to speaker-based electronic instruments?
2. Creative entrepreneurship – how are developments in CEMIs playing out in the economy? What products and services are being developed? For whom? Where? And Why? How are music consumers engaging with electronic music in different ways to the ways they ‘normally’ engage? How can music makers and instrument makers work better together?
3. Composition and song writing – approaches to using CEMIs for composing, song writing and arranging. Why and How is it different? How do the sounds make a difference to what is or can be written or produced? How do the interfaces and instrument design make a difference to what is or can be written or produced?
4. Diversity and Access – how do different forms of privilege (socio-cultural and economic) play out differently through CEMIs? How and why have these technologies been situated in professional, educational, industrial, amateur and domestic settings? What can we do to improve things and how can we use them as tools to improve equality, diversity and inclusion? Who are the ‘outsiders’ in these art forms and what are they doing that is different?
5. Methodology and practice – given the amazing collection that Pete Townshend has given us access to, what can and should we be doing with it and why? What are the issues for conservation that flow from his insistence that these are instruments that need to be used? What are the wider implications of this?
6. Collaboration – what are the creative possibilities for collaboration with CEMIs that are different to those for acoustic instruments? Why are there so few electronic orchestras and what kind of repertoire do and/or should they be performing?
7. Pedagogy – as the evidence about the benefits of music education mounts up and its support in formal education decreases, what can CEMIs offer to help this alarming situation? Can they help with engaging children with logical thinking and STEM subjects? What do we know about the way that people first encounter CEMIs has an influence on their engagement?
8. Performance – the growth in modular synthesis has seen an explosion in new forms of electronic music performance. What are the differences and possibilities that electronic instruments offer? What other possibilities do CEMIs offer in terms of control and expression?

Abstract Format

Your abstract will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • You have clearly identified the theme / panel you wish to be considered for and why.
  • There is a clear research question or problem and an explanation of how it might produce new knowledge or understanding
  • The abstract provides a clear idea of the form your presentation will take.
  • It is clear how this presentation will contribute towards a meaningful discussion of the theme.

List of Equipment in the Pete Townshend Collection

This is a preliminary list. More will be added to the list when we take delivery of the additional items:

  • Yamaha GX-1 Electone
  • Linn Drum LM-1
  • ARP 2500
  • Roland Jupiter 8
  • Prophet 10
  • Yamaha CS-80
  • Moog Model 15
  • Moog System 35
  • Wurlitzer student electronic piano
  • Fender Rhodes Eighty Eight
  • ARP Avatar guitar synth
  • Analogue Solutions Colossus