Archives for category: Blog Posts


Just published in Revista Musica: a dialogue between myself and a good friend of mine, Brazilian composer/improviser and Professor of Music, Rogerio Costa. Although the dialogue has as its main topic (the borders of) musical improvisation, it also touches on issues of identity, (Brazilian) politics, and educational systems. Here’s a link to the article.

concert hall

Aalto University researchers found that the emotional impact experienced by music listeners depends on the concert hall’s acoustics.

Earlier research has shown that the strongest emotional experiences by music listening may elicit shivers or goosebumps in the listener. Much weaker reactions can be detected from the variations in the electrical skin conductance. Based on this knowledge, the researchers presented the test subjects an excerpt of Beethoven’s symphony with the acoustics measured in different concert halls. During listening, the skin conductance was measured with sensors attached in the listeners’ fingers in order to record the magnitude of the emotional reactions to different acoustic conditions.

The results revealed that an identical performance of classical orchestra music evoked stronger emotional impact when presented in the acoustics of shoebox-type concert halls, such as Vienna Musikverein or Berlin Konzerthaus. The study included identically selected two positions from six European concert halls: Vienna Musikverein, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Berlin Konzerhaus and Philharmonie, Cologne Philharmonie, and Helsinki Music Centre.

“Some interpretations of a same music piece can evoke stronger emotions than others. Similarly, our study has succeeded in demonstrating that the hall’s acoustics plays an important part in the overall emotional impact. After all, emotional experiences are a key factor in music to many listeners.” says Dr. Jukka Pätynen. For decades, researchers on concert hall acoustics have aspired to explain the acoustical success of certain halls with room-acoustic parameters. The study by Finnish researchers is the first to assess the acoustics of existing concert halls as the emotional impact. The group aims to understand how room acoustics affect sound signals, and how people perceive room acoustic properties.

The full article can be found in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (JASA):


Het op creatieve en kunstzinnige manier verbeelden of verklanken van de werkelijkheid of de ervaring daarvan is mensen eigen. Kunst en ontwerp zijn intrinsieke menselijke uitingen, maar ze dienen ook als instrumenten voor innovatie in cultuur, politiek, economie, onderwijs en wetenschap. De route Kunst: onderzoek en innovatie in de 21ste eeuw dient om de kracht van kunst en verbeelding te verbinden met verschillende domeinen, maar ook om vanuit deze nieuwe verbindingen nieuwe antwoorden te vinden met betrekking tot de relatie tussen kunst, verbeelding en menszijn.

Op vrijdag 15 april vindt de routeworkshop tussen 10.00  en 16.00 uur plaats in Amsterdam. In deze workshop gaan we startend vanuit de route op zoek naar nieuwe verbindingen en invalshoeken. Doel is te komen tot onderzoekssamenwerkingen waarin kunst, creativiteit, onderwijs, techniek en innovatie met elkaar worden verbonden. Daarbij besteden we speciale aandacht aan de maatschappelijke impact van dit onderzoek.

We kiezen hierbij voor de volgende invalshoeken:

  • Het belang van onderzoek ín en dóór kunst en ontwerp (het onderzoek van kunstenaars en ontwerpers) en de wisselwerking ervan met onderzoek náár kunst en ontwerp;
  • De rol en waarde van kunst en creativiteit in innovatieprocessen, inclusief crossovers van kunst met bijvoorbeeld zorg, management en techniek;
  • De rol en betekenis van kunst en cultuur voor de mens in een digitale en technische wereld, inclusief rol van nieuwe media en wetenschaps- en technologiestudies;
  • Het betekenis van kunst, cultuur en creativiteit in het opleiden van mensen in de 21ste eeuw, waarbij we kijken naar de hele onderwijsketen van basisonderwijs tot volwasseneneducatie;
  • Het zichtbaar maken van de impact van kunst en cultuur op de maatschappij.
U maakt via dit formulier uw belangstelling voor de workshop kenbaar. Omdat er veel interesse is in deelname aan deze routeworkshop, zal er een selectie gemaakt worden om een goede spreiding van disciplines, achtergronden en organisaties aan tafel te hebben.


sound art in public space

I am interested in examples of sound(ing) art in public spaces. That is, not so much in temporary sound(ing) art works but in permanent sonic interventions meant to improve the sonic quality of a public space. Anybody around who knows of some concrete examples? Any literature on this topic? Any “best practices” by which I mean concrete collaborations between a sound artist and architects, urban planners, engineers, city governments, etc.?

I’m working hard on my contribution to The Oxford Handbook of Sound & Imagination. The editors want to put less emphasis on the visual connotation of the word “imagination” and are primarily interested in what they call “sonic imagination”. I’ve decided that my article will concentrate on the role of imagination while listening to sounding art (by which I mean both music and sound art, actually all art in which sound plays a substantial role). The question that keeps me busy at this moment is if it is possible that we do NOT use our imagination while listening to music. Any thoughts from your side?

Soon the Routledge Companion to Sounding Art, edited by Barry Truax, Vincent Meelberg and myself will be available. The Companion presents an overview of the issues, methods, and approaches crucial for the study of sound in artistic practice. Thirty-six essays cover a variety of interdisciplinary approaches to studying sounding art from the fields of musicology, cultural studies, sound design, auditory culture, art history, and philosophy. The companion website hosts sound examples, links to further resources, and a blog for further discussion.

The collection is organized around six main themes:
– Sounding Art: The notion of sounding art, its relation to sound studies, and its evolution and possibilities.
– Acoustic Knowledge and Communication: How we approach, study, and analyze sound and the challenges of writing about sound.
– Listening and Memory: Listening from different perspectives, from the psychology of listening to embodied and technologically mediated listening.
– Acoustic Spaces, Identities and Communities: How humans arrange their sonic environments, how this relates to sonic identity, how music contributes to our environment, and the ethical and political implications of sound.
– Sonic Histories: How studying sounding art can contribute methodologically and epistemologically to historiography- Sound Technologies and Media: The impact of sonic technologies on contemporary culture, electroacoustic innovation, and how the way we make and access music has changed.

With contributions from leading scholars and cutting-edge researchers, The Routledge Companion to Sounding Art is an essential resource for anyone studying the intersection of sound and art.


Working hard on a Massive Open Online Course right now. Topic: Music & Society. Four modules: (a) Music and Atmospheres; (b) Music and Identity; (c) Music and Politics; (d) Music, Norms and Values. The course will contain attractive video’s, challenging texts, interviews with famous scholars and musicians, etc. Should be online in September 2016.

In collaboration with Studium Generale of Leiden University and several others, I am organizing 6 meetings between Dutch artists and scholars to talk about the role, function, and position of both the arts and the sciences in our contemporary society.

April 14: Ramsey Nasr (poet/writer/actor/director) and Hans Clevers (geneticist/physician/Professor of Immunology)
April 28: Hans van Houwelingen (painter/visual artist) and Maarten Janssen (Professor of Archaeology)
May 12: Barbara Visser (photographer/visual artist) and Frans-Willem Korsten (Professor of Literature and Society)
May 26: Johan Simons (theater director) and Carel Stolker (lawyer and Rector of Leiden University)
June 9: Francine Houben (architect) and Marileen Dogterom (bionanoscientist)
June 23: Colin Benders aka Kyteman (musician) and Bas Haring (philosopher/writer)
Live music by Juan Parra and Henry Vega. Panel chairman Andrea van Pol. Location: Het Paard in The Hague. Official language: Dutch. More info at:

Jazz Utopia conference logo

The fourth Rhythm Changes conference: Jazz Utopia will take place at Birmingham City University in the United Kingdom from 14 to 17 April 2016.

Keynote Speakers
Professor Ingrid Monson (Harvard University)
Professor Raymond MacDonald (University of Edinburgh)

We invite paper submissions for Jazz Utopia, a four-day multi-disciplinary conference that brings together leading researchers across the arts and humanities. The event will feature academic papers, panels and poster sessions alongside an exciting programme of concerts delivered in partnership with the Birmingham Conservatoire and Jazzlines.

Jazz has long been a subject for utopian longing and hopes for a better future; it has also been the focus of deeply engrained cultural fears, visions of suffering and dystopian fantasies. In its urgency and presence jazz is now here. As improvisational and transitory, jazz is nowhere. Utopia is nowhere and now here. Jazz is utopia. Or: jazz is utopian desire. Jazz Utopia seeks to critically explore how the idea of utopia has shaped, and continues to shape, debates about jazz. We welcome papers that address the conference theme from multiple perspectives, including cultural studies, musicology, cultural theory, music analysis, jazz history, media studies, and practice-based research. Within the general theme of Jazz Utopia, we have identified three sub-themes. Please clearly identify which theme you are speaking to in your proposal.

•  Jazz Identities
Claims have always been made for jazz as a certain utopian practice, in which jazz has made possible a musical-social space where different, usually marginal, identities are expressed and confirmed. At the multiracial club, bandstand, or dance-floor race and ethnicity are acknowledged, difference is championed or erased. Musicians have used jazz to step out of their class. The dialogic qualities and queer sounds alike of jazz offer opportunity for the expression of gender and sexuality. New thinking around disability and music reads jazz as a crip-space. Equally, consider the way in which freedom in improvisation has been understood as a liberating utopian practice. Even in its diasporic invention jazz comes from a kind of no-place (ou-topia = no place). In utopia, jazz is the effort to sound another world into being, the only condition of which is that it must be better. Has jazz really been that good?

•  Inside / Outside: jazz and its others
What does jazz mean to its community of insiders and those that approach it from outside? For those who are deeply involved with jazz, whether musicians, critics, scholars, or fans, the genre often provides a utopian space for creative encounters. By definition, the articulation of this space through performance, writing, research and consumption also creates a community of outsiders who may seek ways to engage with the jazz community or observe it from afar. This strand invites papers that address the relationships between jazz and its ‘others’, defined in relation to music making, criticism, scholarship or reception, whether these interactions are antagonistic or collaborative in tone.

•  Heritage and archiving
This strand focuses on the different ways in which heritage practices and archival work contribute to the reconfiguration of jazz as a utopian space. Through its commitment to alternative ways of living and being, jazz offers imaginative variations on themes of history and preservation. It creates communities of collectors and music lovers, who refigure jazz as nostalgia and escape, as well as renewal and return. We welcome papers that explore all aspects of archiving practice and cultural heritage and the opportunities and tensions that present themselves for scholars, institutions and practitioners in these fields.

Proposals are invited for:
•  Individual papers (20 minutes) – up to 350 words.
•  Themed paper sessions of three individual (20 minute) papers – 350 words per paper plus 350 words outlining the rationale for the session.
•  Seventy-five minute sessions in innovative formats – up to 1000 words outlining the form and content of the sessions.

Please submit proposals (including a short biography and institutional affiliation) by email in a word document attachment to:

The deadline for proposals is 1st September 2015; outcomes will be communicated to authors by 1st October 2015. All paper submissions will be considered by the conference committee: Christa Bruckner-Haring, Nicholas Gebhardt, George McKay, Loes Rusch, Catherine Tackley, Walter van de Leur and Tony Whyton.

The conference builds on the legacy of the Rhythm Changes research project. Rhythm Changes: Jazz Cultures and European Identities was funded as part of the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) Joint Research Programme, which ran from 2010-2013. The project team continues to develop networking opportunities and champion collaborative research into transnational jazz studies.

Updates on the conference and information about travel and accommodation will be available at:

Rhythm Changes

For more than 20 years, the Utrecht Early Music Festival (FOMU) has worked together with STIMU in organizing workshops, conferences and masterclasses relating to historically inspired performance pratice. This year’s STIMU Symposium is entitled The past is a foreign country, it takes place from 28 to 30 August 2015, and it thematizes the cultural position and attitudes of the researcher in the study and performance practice of early music. Curators are Jed Wentz and Barbara Titus.

The STIMU Symposium curators encourage young scholars and researching performers to use the STIMU Symposium as a forum for intellectual growth, networking and career development. Therefore, the Festival and STIMU have decided to continue to award the STIMU Young Scholars Award on a yearly basis. Apply for 2015 The STIMU Symposium invites proposals for

– Individual papers: 20 minutes, with 10 minutes for questions at the end.

– Lecture recitals: 30 minutes, with 10 minutes for questions at the end.

Young scholars currently enrolled in a master programme (either at conservatory or university level), or who have recently graduated from one, may apply to speak in the Festival Symposium using the following form. Young scholars whose work is accepted will receive travel expenses and accommodation in Utrecht during the course of the Symposium.

Topics could concern, but are not limited to:

– Interaction between music traditions within and outside Europe

– The musical articulation and perception of English identity

– The dissemination of European musics over the world (through colonial infrastructures)

– Early Music movements in the 20th and 21st centuries

– Historical research as a modern and postmodern endeavor

– The researcher’s encounter with sources from the past

– The human body as a musical archive

Applications should consist of a proposal of a maximum of 250 words and a short biographical sketch, and can be sent to by 15 May 2015 at the latest.