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Annual Conference of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology, 9-12 April 2008

'The Art of Music'

in association with the School of Music, Cardiff University

Keynote speaker: Professor Mark Slobin (Wesleyan University)

Conference Abstract

This conference concerns the art of music, looking critically at the intersection between art and music in different realms of ethnomusicological inquiry. In particular, it will examine a number of continua that help understand music as an art, interrogating the tangible and the intangible factors that inform artistic production. First, it will look at the presentation and the representation of music in art, showing the ways in which the musical arts are produced and consumed in different expressive milieux. Second, it will investigate music as an artefact by examining the dialectical relationship between product and process, musical materials and musical practices shaping the ways in which performers and audiences experience musical artistry. Third, it will study the role of the musician as artist, evaluating the distinction between music as an art and music as a craft, observing how musical artisanship is implicated in a wider consideration of economic endeavour and social status. Fourth, it will reflect upon the significance of musical artifice in aesthetic discourse by interrogating the fluid borderline between structure and superstructure, a distinction that may be indicative of different cultural positions. Fifth, it will evaluate the concept of art music, an élite conception of performance practice that may help uncover distinctions within and commonalities between music cultures.

Conference Themes

The conference is organised around a number of themes that emerge from the central issue, 'The Art of Music'. Although not mutually exclusive, these themes embrace a wide range of relevant issues in different cultural contexts where music in art reflects the visible dimension and art in music reflects the audible dimension of the topic.

In addition, other papers presenting new research in the field will be considered.

Call for Papers

Potential contributors are invited to submit abstracts of up to 300 words to the conference convenor, John Morgan O'Connell, by Friday 14 December 2007. These should be sent either by email to or by post to Dr John Morgan O'Connell, School of Music, Cardiff University, 33 Corbett Road, Cardiff, CF10 3EB, United Kingdom.

See Also