Electronic Musical Instruments


Call for Papers

International Conference
Electronic Musical Instruments

Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th May 2019

Curt-Sachs-Saal at the Musikinstrumenten-Museum

Kulturforum, Berlin
Entrance Ben-Gurion-Straße

Call for Papers

Deadline: February 24th 2019

Electronic musical instruments opened up a completely new era and area in building instruments and music as well. Despite their comparatively short history, they already prompted profound questions of talking and thinking about instruments on one side and composing, making or producing music on the other side.

Nowadays the first steps of building electronic devices for the purpose of making music appear as archaic as visionary and through all the different existing stories, telling ‘the’ history about electronic musical instruments turns out to be quite a complicated task for researchers. Some instruments are inextricably connected to persons, others to special fields of artistic work, like the instruments in music studios and yet others may be connected to certain technological developments like the computer. Instruments seem to have been built only to demonstrate the capability of realizing or the achievement of visions, some have been built to specifically provide musicians with new timbre and possibilities. How should organology, how should museums and collections deal with those questions or problems? How can visitors be told about lost objects or lost sounds and furthermore the field of conservation and restoration not still remains unanswered for the whole family of electronic musical instruments.

Along with the increasingly faster development of technology, electronic musical instruments turn into most complex tools in most diverse appearance, ways of handling as well as functionalities. It is not surprising that an early field for using those instruments also was in it’s time the technological progressive field of radio-broadcasts and movies. Therefor the artistic aspect of composing music was brought into contact with the industry-immanent aspect of producing ‘ready-made’ results, turning instruments into e.g. parts of working stations in studios. Further models of instruments comprise technology for creating waves, for storing samples and for interconnecting them with input-devices such as keyboards, electric guitars or additional sound-shaping devices, transforming them into versatile musical all-rounders that seem impossible to be schematized by organologists.

Possible fields for proposals (note that these are suggestive rather than prescriptive):

-›history‹ and ›writing history‹ of electronic musical instruments

- systemizing the unsystematic / conserving the unpreservable: problems of organological terminology and conservatory expertise

- typology and/or the diversity of electronic musical instruments

- electronic musical instruments in music (art music as well as popular music as)

- perception of electronic musical instruments in media

Although these named fields will constitute the main focus of this conference, proposals from other fields are welcome, too.

This conference aims to meet international interest and feedback. Therefor the language of talks and discussions will be English. To encourage the participation of young researchers, who not necessarily are affiliated with research institutions, assistance with travel expenses can be considered for selected candidates.

Proposals (300-350 words) in English and German must be submitted to Brilmayer@sim.spk-berlin.de with a short biography (150 words maximum) until 24. February 2019. Candidates will be announced in March 2019.

Duration of Talks: 20 minutes with 10 minutes discussion
Conference Language: English