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édition du 22 avril 2023 —

The Blasphemous in Music and Sound

30 November - 1 December 2023, Zagreb

International Symposium.

University of Zagreb Academy of Music

Music and sound, similar to other cultural practices, rest upon rules imposed by traditions and social norms spanning a wide range of historical and cultural contexts. Music-making usually involves a careful balance between meeting the expectations of those norms and traditions, and perceived deviation from them. At the same time, the achievement of balance actuates judgements by various arbiters. Not just religious music, but almost any type of music can be accused of excessive transgression or blasphemy towards the norm. Likewise, practices of producing sound, and the differences in their contextual perception point out the shifting boundaries between desirable and undesirable aural sensations. Through its ubiquitous presence, sound has the potential to cause offense and is equally susceptible to public scrutiny and critical response. Such responses provide an opportunity for the research of both transgressive phenomena and discourses about them, and can generate new insights into the power of their meaning. Finally, research itself can be perceived as sacrilegious, as the processes of illuminating musical and aural dogmas, and highlighting their underlying ideologies, can also lead to the accusation of blasphemy in academic and expert communities. This international symposium encourages debate and the presentation of recent research on the subject of the blasphemous in music and sound, understood as any perceived display of disrespect towards imposed taboos and relics, and which relates to all categories of music, sound, and music scholarship.

Individual papers and panel sessions might address, but are not limited to, subjects such as:

● processes of sacralisation and de-sacralisation in music and/or sound

● taboos related to music and/or sound

● heretical narratives on music and/or sound

● music-making between tradition and transgression

● consequences of rule breaking in music

● offensive sounds and musical offenses

● scandalizing of musicians, scholars and the public

● radical changes in performance practice and music theory

● shifts in the reception of music and/or sound and the difficulties they pose to different communities

● critical paradigms in musical thought that verge on the blasphemous

● implicit limitations and (self-)censorship in musical and scholarly discourses

● controversies and heresies related to music instruments and sound technology

Conference language: English

Keynote address: Daniel Leech Wilkinson


Guidelines for proposal submission:

• individual or co-authored papers (20 minutes + 10 minutes discussion):

● title and abstracts of up to 250 words, up to 5 keywords

• themed panel sessions of three or four individual papers (60 minutes + 15 minutes discussion)

● panel title, and up to 250 words outlining the general theme of the panel, with up to 5 keywords

● title and abstracts of up to 250 words per individual paper

Deadline and Submission

● please submit proposals (including a short 100-word biography and institutional affiliation) by 1 May 2023 via email in a Word document attachment

send email to

● decisions regarding proposals will be communicated by the Program Committee to authors around 1 June 2023


The costs of travel and accommodation will be covered by participants. The registration fee is €50 (€30 for students and independent researchers). It covers the costs of conference materials, coffee breaks and refreshments as well as the conference reception.

The registration fee can be paid to the Academy of Music account:

IBAN: HR502340 0091100159167



The conference will take place on site at the Academy of Music in Zagreb

Google Map

Programme Committee : Rolf Bäcker, Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya, Barcelona ; Zdravko Blažeković, Graduate Center, The City University of New York ; Ana Čizmić Grbić, Academy of Music, University of Zagreb ; Dalibor Davidović, Academy of Music, University of Zagreb ; Sanja Kiš Žuvela, Academy of Music, University of Zagreb ; Amila Ramović, Academy of Music, University of Sarajevo ; Jelka Vukobratović, Academy of Music, University of Zagreb ; Hanna Walsdorf, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Basel

Organising Commitee : Ivan Ćurković, Academy of Music, University of Zagreb ; Monika Jurić Janjik, Academy of Music, University of Zagreb ; Sanja Kiš Žuvela, Academy of Music, University of Zagreb ; Mojca Piškor, Academy of Music, University of Zagreb ; Jelka Vukobratović, Academy of Music, University of Zagreb.

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Samedi 22 Avril, 2023