[CFP] The Performing Body in the Hollywood Film Musical

The Performing Body in the Hollywood Film Musical:
An Interdisciplinary Symposium

April 4-6, 2013
Colgate University, Hamilton, NY

Call for Papers

Since its emergence in the 1920s, the film musical has woven together utopian visions and cultural realities, simultaneously creating, reflecting, and critiquing contemporary social, political, and economic conditions. Frequently, film musicals communicate these ideologies through the performing bodies of the film’s cast and crew. This symposium will consider the ways in which bodies perform in the film musical, and what such performances signify. Papers are invited that consider the following questions, among others: how do song and dance animate and define bodies onscreen? When and why are performing bodies marked in terms of gender, race, class, sexuality, and when do these bodies remain unmarked? How do onscreen musical and danced performances differ from those bodily performances that remain invisible to audiences, including those of crew members, sideline and film orchestra musicians, vocal and dance doubles, and so on? How do the film musical’s modes of performance both reflect and influence contemporary production practices?

Submissions from across disciplines are encouraged this symposium is intended as a space for scholars from musicology, film studies, dance, theater, and other fields to share their work and consider various disciplinary methodologies and approaches to the genre. We are delighted to welcome three distinguished keynote speakers: Steven Cohan (Syracuse University), Caryl Flinn (University of Michigan), and Adrienne McLean (University of Texas-Dallas).

Proposals for 20-minute papers should include a name, institutional affiliation (if appropriate), and an abstract of no more than 300 words. Please submit all proposals to filmmusicals (at) colgate (dot) edu by December 15, 2013.

For more information, see http://www.colgate.edu/filmmusicals, or by contacting Mary Simonson, Assistant Professor of Film & Media Studies and Women?s Studies at Colgate University, at msimonson (at) colgate (dot) edu.

Advertisements

The Sound of Emotions

Collaborators Vaughan Macefield (an Australian neuroscientist) and Canadian arist Erin Gee are working on a venture that turns electrical signals from the brain into music. While the use of biosignals and biosonification in the creation of musical performance is hardly new, this is the first work I’ve come across that uses direct recordings of nerve activity in this way. The ‘data capture’ process sounds a little more invasive and unpleasant than that used in other performances I’ve seen. Macefield’s research team:

“injects a very fine microelectrode needle into a peripheral nerve in the body that allows researchers to record electrical signals emitted from the brain. Blood flow, heart rate, sweat release and respiration levels are also recorded.”

The data is then processed and converted into a range of bell-like sounds. Gee writes of the project:

“It takes these tiny bodily physical performances that happen when one is emotional and transfers these tiny beating hearts and fluctuations in breathing and nerve activity — and amplifies it through technology.”

I first read about this in Macleans On Campus. I’d like to read something a bit more technical/detailed though, so I’m going to have a root around on the ‘net. I’ll report back later.

[CFP] Frontiers | Music and the Embodied Mind

Music and the Embodied Mind: a jam session for theorists on musical improvisation, instrumental self-extension, and the biological and social basis of music and well-being

Hosted by: Adam M. Croom, University of Pennsylvania, USA
Deadline for Abstract Submissions: 28th February 2013
Deadline for Article Submissions:  31st August 2013

“As animals our lives are marked by rhythms, and the rhythmical activities of ventilation and heart beat are tangible evidence of the life force in each of us”, Taylor and colleagues write in their (1999) Physiological Reviews article on the cardiovascular and respiratory system. With this “life force” as a pulse reverberating deep through the body, it’s as if our heart beat and breath breaks the silence of non-life as rhythms of nature that move us like music. One might ask: Are we not something akin to an instrument of music, our lives, something of an improvisation? What is the nature of the undeniably intimate relationship between music, the body and mind?

Concerns like these have been common to both scholars and performers alike. For instance, Einstein once reported that “I see my life in terms of music” and that “Life without playing music is inconceivable for me”. In Phenomenology of Perception Merleau-Ponty discussed the “kinetic melody” of the body, while the great jazz musician and saxophone improviser Ornette Coleman explained his technique as one of “activating the idea that’s going through my nervous system”. Sally Ness (1992) further discussed “the dynamic mentality of one’s neuromusculature” during her analysis of dance in Body, Movement, and Culture, and the saxophone inventor Adolphe Sax argued that the “true” musician and their music “exist through each other, and are but one”. Advancements in the cognitive sciences have additionally enabled new evidence regarding the bodily basis of music perception, cognition, and action to come to light, inspiring fresh insights and more empirically informed theorizing.

Yet despite a wide and growing interest in the relationship between music, the body and mind, along with promising technological advances, relatively little empirical and theoretical work has been explicitly devoted to investigating the topic of music and the embodied mind, and what work does exist remains largely dispersed across different publication sources spanning different academic fields. Accordingly, the aim of this Research Topic will be to unite an interdisciplinary group of scientists, theorists, and performers to address several of the liveliest questions regarding music and the embodied mind.

Scientists working on music from all disciplines are encouraged to submit original empirical research, philosophers and theorists of music are encouraged to submit fresh hypothesis and theory articles, and musicians as well as dancers are encouraged to submit perspective and opinion pieces reflecting their first-person knowledge of these performing arts. The aim is for an integration of theory, empirical data, and first-person reports in order to better understand, and drive new research on, the topic of music and the embodied mind.

Articles of interest include, but are not limited to, those discussing musical improvisation, self-extension through musical instruments, the evolution and development of music, the biological and social basis of music and well-being, and conceptual frameworks for understanding the nature of music and the embodied mind more generally. Critical commentary will also be warmly received.

Abstract submissions should not exceed 1,000 words and will be carefully selected by the Frontiers editor.

Further information is available from Frontiers.

A small warning: Frontiers journals are open access (good!) of the kind you have to pay to publish in (not so good unless you have a chunky research grant or a very supportive institution!).

[Call for Papers] Gli Spazi Della Musica: Sounding Bodies

Another CFP on the subject of ‘Sounding Bodies’, though this time it’s not from me. Università degli Studi di Torino have put out a call for papers that address the relationships between listening and sounding bodies across the fields of musicology, gender studies, performance studies, and more.

«Gli spazi della musica» is divided into two main sections: the first, called Saggi, comprises Ricercari, a series of free papers on basic topics of musicological research, and Variazioni, a series of papers on a given theme to examine a specific topic. The second section, called Strumenti, has a practical and teaching function.

The editorial board actively encourages authors to submit contributions for the upcoming issues, for both parts in the first section, the Ricercari on free themes, and the Variazioni on a given theme.

The theme for the Variazioni in the two issues of 2013 is

Sounding bodies: spaces, identities, relationships.

  1. Representations, images and musical constructions of the bodies: how is the body told by the music? How is it hidden? By what means the music builds and transforms the bodies? how does it inscribe different identities in it?
  2. Musical bodies, listening bodies: what is the physical component of the musical performance? how will be the body included in a work and how the somatic, psychological and motional dimension influences musical structures? What action does the sound carry on the listener’s body and her/his perception? How is the playing, singing, listening body represented in arts, cinema, literature?
  3. Bodies, instruments, sounding bodies: what kind of relationships exists between bodies and instruments? How is built the body of instruments? What are the effects of the music and of the voice on bodies and identities?
  4. Bodies, music, spaces: what are the relationships between bodies, spaces, and languages in the performance? Does the sound shape the space and its perception by the body?

Deadlines for all types of contributions (Ricercari and Variazioni), according to the Author guidelines on the website (Linee guida per gli autori) and provided with an abstract of 600 characters:
31 January 2013 for the first issue,
30 June 2013 for the second one.

Papers must be submitted to the address glispazidellamusica.lettereefilosofia@unito.it

Supported languages are Italian, English, French, German, and Spanish.

 

View the full CFP on the journal website.

[Publication] Interview with Vijay Iyer: “it’s about the music, brain and the body as one big thing”

Denver Westword Blogs have just published an interview with composer, performer and scholar Vijay Iyer. Iyer writes about the cognitive science of music perception. I first came across his work when I read his essay ‘On Improvisation, Temporality, and Embodied Experience’ in Sound Unbound. This isn’t an interview for an academic publication, but despite that – or perhaps because of it – it makes a handy three-minute introduction both to Iyer’s work and to some of the wider ideas and questions behind embodied cognition of music. Check it out!