June 23–24, 2023, Bristol
Call For Papers
University of Bristol
Deadline Extended to March 24
For more information, please visit
Keynote Speaker: Katharine Ellis (University of Cambridge)
Organizers: Shaena Weitz (University of Bristol), Alessandra Palidda (Oxford Brookes University)
This symposium seeks to illuminate the behind-the-scenes workings of the music market during the (very) long nineteenth century in its full spectrum. As recent and ongoing studies increasingly highlight, publishing was just one facet of the wider music-historical economic market that was enmeshed with the actions of other cultural intermediaries, including agents, claqueurs, impresarios, critics, and more. And while we know very little about their work, these individuals worked behind the scenes to manage music commerce, constructing value and mediating between economy and culture along the way.
While an interest in publishing has been a near-constant in musicological research, it has tended to focus on biography and documentation rather than the act of business itself. Amid a paradigm shift in our thinking about networks, historical agency, canon formation, the documents and objects that constitute musicological research, to name just a few, these gaps in our knowledge seem wider and more pressing.
We intend the symposium to offer a forum for information exchange and a means of connecting disparate actions that together make up a broader whole. In so doing, we aim to develop a commercial logic of the nineteenth-century music industry. We welcome papers without any limitations on genres or geographic boundaries, and that blur the limits of the long nineteenth century.
Potential topics may include, but are not limited to
• International partnerships and relationships
• Business strategies and models
• Court cases
• House composers/exclusive publishing arrangements
We have a particular interest in negative actions, which have not been the typical focus of musicology, yet formed an integral part of constructing strategies and value. This might include, but is not limited to
• Fake news
• Rivalry as business strategy
• Aversive attention
• Guerrilla marketing
We invite proposals for three formats aimed at fostering information exchange and discussion:
• Standard 20-minute papers with 10 minutes of discussion, or
• 10-minute “moments” (featuring observation / show-and-tell / provocation / strange story
that's never quite fit into published research) leading to cumulative discussion with panel and floor, or
• 1-hour themed panels/roundtables of 4 x 10-minute papers plus cumulative discussion.
While we welcome case studies, we seek to build connections toward a broader nineteenth- century know-how, and therefore we will favour papers that explore hypotheses and seek connections, rather than offer only description.
The programme committee consists of Alessandra Palidda, Shaena Weitz, Sarah Hibberd, and Genevieve Arkle. The keynote speaker will be Katharine Ellis.
The conference is supported by the British Academy, the Royal Musical Association, and the University of Bristol.
Please send abstracts of 250 words maximum, along with name, email, affiliation (if any), and proposal type to email@example.com by March 15 March 24. Abstracts will be anonymized for review. Participants will be informed of the outcome by April 15.
We aim to keep the costs of registration low, and have a small number of bursaries available.
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