Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology

CIM, Université de Montréal, 10-12 March 2005

This was the second conference trying to gather people working in interdisciplinary musicology, the first being organised in Graz last year, and the next to be organised in Estonia in 2007. I highly welcome such conferences since they really show an enormous width in people attending and topics presented. That is obviously also one of the weaknesses of such a conference since, because of its very interdisciplinary nature, the participants will be non-experts in most of the studies presented. This results in question-sessions where most of the time is spent clarifying and explaning certain topics or terms rather than actually discussing content.

  • Richard Parncutt: held the opening keynote speech, an overview of the field of musicology and the problem with how the word musicology has been "stolen" by those working with the "history of western musical elites". This is in contrast to musicology as "(all) science of (all) music". Even though music for a long time was considered as one of the sciences, it has been the part of the humanities for a long time, which tend to shift the focus towards historical and philosophical discussions.
  • Frans Mossberg: presented some of his dissertation work on Swedish folk singer Olle Adolfson. He shown some analyses where he had been studying the movement of 2,3,4 harmonics.
  • Jean-Jacques Nattiez: held the closing keynote speech, in a similarly striking way as the opening speech by Parncutt. His quick and polemic French language made it a challenge to follow all resonnements, but his main point was the critique of the division of musical parameters into primary (melody, harmony, rhythm) and secondary (timbre…) in Leonard B. Meyer’s Style and Music.

Other interesting things I have come across in relation to this conference:

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Alexander Refsum Jensenius is a music researcher and research musician living in Oslo, Norway.