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Rethinking the Language of Music Theory: Concepts, Objects, History

13-14 juillet 2017, Londres

RMA Music and Philosophy Study Group 2017 – King's College London, UK - July 13-14

Call for Papers for Themed Session: Rethinking the Language of Music Theory: Concepts, Objects, History

Sponsored by the Society for Music Theory, Music and Philosophy Interest Group

Session convenor: Stefano Mengozzi (University of Michigan); smeng -at-

Deadline for submissions: February 28, 2017

Please submit your proposal (maximum 300 words) to smeng -at- or through the email link from the conference website:

Music-analytic language is typically conceived and deployed as a well-oiled machine: the musical terms we use rest on rigorous definitions and operate within clearly marked conceptual territories, so that particular music-theoretical labels correspond necessarily, and often exclusively, with particular concepts in a one-to-one relationship. From such assumptions, it is a short step to ascribing ontological value to music-theoretical language, so that the very nature of musical phenomena (such as “chord,” “dominant,” or “meter”) is regarded as contingent on the dedicated labels attached to them. The essentialist bias informing current music-analytic practice is in need of critical scrutiny: it is one thing to argue that language (as a manifestation of consciousness) provides a privileged path to musical ontologies; quite another to regard those ontologies per se as radically contingent upon language.

See the conference website for the relevant bibliography and for a list of suggested topics that will be the focus of discussion during the session:
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