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Electric Music, Music and Electricity

Posted: January 5th, 2017 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

Symposium organized by MUSIDANSE (E.A. 1572) / JAMM May 9th & 10th 2017, Université Paris 8

“I Sing the Body Electric”: this statement by the American poet Walt Whitman at the end of the nineteenth century (reprised a century later by the writer Ray Bradbury, and then by the jazz-funk group Weather Report), evoking the communion of bodies, seems to point toward a connection between artistic expression and electricity.

This symposium proposes to study this connection, by examining first the archipelago of electric music, starting with the “electric harpsichord” (“clavessin électrique”) project of the Jesuit priest Jean-Baptiste Delaborde (1759), so at the beginnings of electrical science, and going from there to the development of electronic technology, digital technology (from Schaeffer to dub, then to sampling, and to the latest uses of computer music).

Other themes include taking stock of the impact of electricity on music in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, as well as related topics such as musical pedagogy (as early as 1960, Ligeti writes a text on this subject), instrument-making (in the broadest sense) and its applications, and the recording of music (the excellent recent study by Greg Milner on this subject seems a remarkable bibliographic advance).

Finally, we will discuss the turning point that the emergence of electricity may have created in musical thought as well (from aesthetics to ontology), from the futurism of Pratella, who declared the “triumph of Electricity” in 1911 (and therefore prior to Russolo), to the afro- futurism of the late twentieth century, moving on to the questions raised by Adorno (“The Form of the Phonograph Record,” 1934), by Bartók (“Mechanical Music,” 1937), which were preceded by the prophetic and aesthetic meditations of Busoni, beginning in 1907, on the Dynamophone of Dr. Thaddeus

Cahill: “Music is a sonorous ether that surpasses ether; in its universality and plenitude, it permeates mankind as well as the universe, since it can concentrate and disperse without losing its intensity.”

We are looking for papers that reflect (but are not limited to) the following topics:

  • Studies (all music genres) focusing on historical, aesthetic and musical analysis issues – Aesthetic issues and their relationship to technology
  • Links / differences between electricity and electronics, analogue and digital
  • Music and energy
  • Electricity and musical emotion / expression
  • Electrical and / or electronic devices in their direct relationship with musical playing and creation

Organizing Committee (MUSIDANSE, Univ. Paris 8 / équipe JAMM – Jazz et Altérités de la Modernité Musicale):

Guillaume GILLES, Guillaume LOIZILLON, Philippe MICHEL, Frédéric SAFFAR

Scientific Committee:

Vincenzo CAPORALETTI (Univ. Macerata), Laurent CUGNY (IREMUS, Univ. Paris 4), Anne DANIELSEN (Univ. Of Oslo), Agostino DI SCIPIO (composer), Agnès GAYRAUD (artist), Philippe GONIN (Centre Georges Chevrier, Univ. de Bourgogne), Martin LALIBERTE (LISA, Univ. Marne-La-Vallée), Camille MOREDDU (Univ. Paris 10), Benoît NAVARRET (IREMUS, Univ. Paris IV), Christophe PIRENNE (Univ. Liège), Catherine RUDENT (IREMUS, Univ. Paris 4), Anne SEDES (MUSIDANSE, Univ. Paris 8), Makis SOLOMOS (MUSIDANSE, Univ. Paris 8)

Submission: A summary of 5000 signs (including spaces) and a CV, to be sent to [email protected] before February 15th 2017.


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