Archives for category: Music

In today’s RTL Nieuws EditieNL a short interview with me why Q Music‘s radio quiz “Het Geluid” was so difficult. (The text is in Dutch.)

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Finally it is there, my e-pub on improvisation and complex systems. And … thanks to Leiden University Press and the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, it is for free as well.

Download for free:

E-PUB: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/52784
E-PDF: http://oapen.org/search?identifier=637220 

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The central aim of this e-pub is to present a new approach to “the field of musical improvisation” (FMI), a theory which understands improvisation as a nonlinear dynamic and complex system. The study provocatively argues that during an improvisation more actants are “at work” than musicians alone: space, acoustics, instruments, audience, technicians, musical and socio-cultural backgrounds, technology, and the like all play a significant role. However, not all of these actants determine every improvisation to the same extent; some are more prominent and active than others in certain situations (periods, styles, cultures, as well as more singular circumstances). Therefore, the FMI theory will prove to be more than a theory dealing with improvisation “in general.” Rather, FMI emphasizes singularity: each improvisation thus yields a different network of actants and interactions, a unique configuration or assembly.

 

It is startlingly original in so much as it brings a philosophical/social understanding to the field of musical improvisation. I’ve not really encountered a work that does this so imaginatively and thoroughly. Indeed – reading the work – I think the whole manuscript is one wonderful set of improvisations – and as such works very well. Michael Bull Professor of Sound Studies at the University of Sussex

Marcel Cobussen offers a concise and compelling account of musical improvisation that spans – and at times transgresses – conventional notions of musical genre and academic discipline. A wonderful approach that leverages the multimodal aspects of improvisation and of learning in general. Bravo! David Borgo Professor of Music at UC San Diego

 

music and ethics

… more good news … after the launch of “my” MOOC Music & Society a couple of days ago, today I found on my doormat the paperback version of “Music and Ethics”, the book I wrote with Nanette Nielsen. 35 GBP instead of the 95 GBP for the hard cover. IOW, affordable for more people!

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I am happy (and a bit proud) to announce that the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) my colleagues and I from Leiden University developed about Music and Society is online! If you are interested in the relation between music and society, philosophy of music, sociology of music or aesthetics, make sure to check it out! https://l.facebook.com/…/https%3A%2F%2Fwww.coursera.org%2Fl…” or directly on the Coursera site: https://www.coursera.org/learn/music-society

My inaugural lecture, “Towards a ‘New’ Sonic Ecology” is now available online.

Please go on this site to “publications” and then to “articles”.

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Conference dates: 29-30 November 2016

Location: Leiden University, the Netherlands

 

Introduction to the Conference Topic

Sound is among the most significant, yet least-discussed, aspects of public spaces in urban environments (Hosokawa 1984; Kang and Schulte-Fortkamp 2016). Architects, engineers, and urban planners invariably stress the visual and tactile aspects while (re)designing urban environments but often pay less attention to the aural consequences of their interventions; sound tends to be considered mainly as an inevitable byproduct of industrial areas, traffic, commercial centers, and/or human activities. If sound attracts the attention of policy makers and users of public urban spaces, it is often in a rather negative context: as noise pollution which should be avoided by somehow reducing the amount of decibels (Devilee, Maris, van der Kamp 2010; Elmqvist 2013; Kamin 2015).

 

In contrast, this conference aims to increase the attention to the role of sound, sound design, and sounding art in urban spaces – with sound considered both as an epistemological tool and as an aesthetic instrument.

Sounds in urban spaces – including the “omnipresence” of music – (co-)regulate our behavior, attract specific groups that give a space a specific identity, call for certain actions, make us nauseated, etc.; sounds thus have social, political, ethical, and economic power. Reflections on everyday urban soundscapes – their features as well as the way they are used and experienced – could lead to a new theory of sonic ecology.

Furthermore, sounding art has the potential to contribute directly to an improvement of city soundscapes, while a more fundamental and scholarly attention to sounds in public urban spaces can lead to a concrete contribution to already existing discourses in urban studies, history, anthropology, and philosophy.

 

In this conference three questions will play a central role:

  1. How do sounds in general and sounding art in particular contribute to the general atmosphere of a public urban space?
  2. How do users of that space – dwellers, tourists, people working in that neighborhood, passersby – experience its sonic qualities and how does that influence their behavior as well as the function of that space?
  3. How can we, on a theoretical level, develop a new sonic ecology?

 

Keynote speakers: Salomé Voegelin, Gascia Ouzounian, Holger Schulze, and Jean-Paul Thibaud.

 

Conference Coordinator: Prof. dr. M.A. (Marcel) Cobussen

(M.A.Cobussen@umail.leidenuniv.nl)

 

Abstracts: Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent to Gabriel Paiuk acpa@hum.leidenuniv.nl before October 1, 2016. Submitters will be informed before October 15.

 

The conference is sponsored by KNAW, LUF, JSS, and ACPA (Leiden University)

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sounding art companion

I just received an email from Routledge that that The Routledge Companion to Sounding Art has now officially published! The book 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 and links to further resources.

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.

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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): http://scitation.aip.org/content/asa/journal/jasa/139/3/10.1121/1.4944038

time and music

Call for Papers
The capacity to be in time together lies at the heart of all music-making and is one of the most profound of human capabilities; being in time together is implicated in social bonding, altered states, and foundational pleasures associated with music.  The ways in which we play in time together, also mark out difference-between genres and between instruments (and instrumentalists), between studio and live performance, between the virtuoso and the beginner.

Two assertions about the temporal in music are the starting point for our call for papers: David Epstein’s comment in his seminal book, Shaping Time, that time is ‘the critical element in performance’, and Lefebvre’s lament that rhythm has been music’s neglected component. These comments underscore the aim of this conference, which is to bring time and timing to the fore in our thinking about musical experience, and in particular, its production.

The conference committee encourages submissions from scholars representing diverse disciplines whose interests lie in time, timing and timekeeping, and their construction by musicians. We welcome papers that address the subject from the following broad perspectives: the psychological/cognitive foundations of this human achievement, time and timing as part of specific cultural praxis, critical approaches to time and technology, the aesthetics of timing, and musical time’s relationship to social being.

The following list of questions indicates some broad concerns of the conference but is suggestive rather than prescriptive.

– How is the time of music implicated in social being and sociability? In what ways does the social penetrate the temporality of music?
– Can we speak of cultures of time in music? How does the relatively tacit feel for time amongst musicians connect with the discursive?
– What is the relationship between the relatively automatic capacity to be in time together and timekeeping as intentional and expressive?
– In what ways have technologies changed our relationship to time in music? Is temporality changed through developments in recording and digital technologies?
– What are the politics of musical time?
– What methods are available to us to address questions of temporality, music, the social and the psychological?
– How do we teach and learn about time in music?

Proposals of 250-300 words are invited for spoken papers of 20 minutes. These should be sent as a Word attachment to makingtime@music.ox.ac.uk and must include the following: Title, author(s), affiliation(s), email address for contact. The deadline for proposals is Friday 15 April 2016 at midday. Decisions on proposals will be communicated by Monday 9 May 2016.

It is hoped that some papers from the conference will contribute to a volume, Making Time in Music, edited by Mark Doffman.

The conference committee is: Dr Mark Doffman, Dr Jonna Vuoskoski, and Dr Toby Young (all University of Oxford), and Dr Emily Payne (University of Leeds).