Welcome to The International Association for the Study of Popular Music UK and Ireland Branch

Popular Music and Narrativity

Posted: March 11th, 2019 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

1-day conference, Senate House, London, 7 June 2019
CfP Deadline: March 30, 2019

Confirmed keynote speaker: Prof Nicholas Reyland, Royal Northern College of Music

Narrativity — the property of conveying or otherwise evoking a story — is one of the most compelling components of popular music. Storytelling in music can operate in complex and, at times, ambiguous ways that are distinct and sometimes divergent, from other narrative media such as film, television and literature, offering the exciting opportunity of media-conscious analytical approaches. As entertainment music media have evolved, so has how and where this type of narrativity operates, from the pub and music hall to screen media, the sphere of private listening and the internet. Moreover, the organisation of sound through technology (e.g. studio-based production and mixing) has created new parameters for expression that raise new opportunities to interrogate narrativity beyond lyrics or notated detail. Finally, encouraged by the increasing presence of music on the internet, there are now more forms within which narrativity can emerge than ever before, such as multimedia concept albums, long-form music video and transmedia projects rooted in popular music.

We invite proposals for a one-day conference that explores popular music and narrativity through a wide range of (inter)related topics and issues. We seek to situate narratatological approaches within popular music studies more broadly, as well as opening narratological fields to the unique textuality, processes and effects of popular music. Papers are particularly welcomed from scholars working in interdisciplinary areas that intersect with popular music studies through the lens of narrativity, such as the study of fandom, adaptation, cinema and transmedia (multimodality).

Additionally, we welcome papers that examine narrativity in popular music through approaches that are Afrocentric, non-Western and so on. We also welcome contributions from presentations in which practice forms an integral part of the research.

Proposals for individual papers (20 minutes + questions) or panels (90 minutes) are warmly invited. Abstracts may address, but need not be limited to:

  • Popular song or video as narrative “text”
  • Narrativity relating to longer form works such as concept albums/video albums
  • Adaptation into and from popular music
  • Intermediality and popular music transmedia
  • Narrativity and popular music fandom (particularly the construction of narrative around performers’ star personae)
  • ‘Sonic narratives’ and narrativity in relation to music production and mixing
  • Popular music within digital cultures
  • Worlding/world building and popular music
  • Intersections with practices such as soundtracks and musical theatre that illuminate narrative issues within popular music
  • Phenomenology/experiencing narrative through popular music
    Language and language barriers complicating (or enhancing) access to narrativity

Abstracts of no more than 200 words should be sent to (conference address) by 30 March, 2019. Please include title, name, institutional affiliation (if applicable), and a short biography (max. 80 words). Applicants will be notified of the outcome by mid-April, 2019.

This conference is being partially funded by the IMR. Although we are hoping to make this a free event, a small registration fee may apply, to covering refreshments and lunch.

Programme Committee:
Dr. Alex Harden
Dr. Alex Jeffery



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