2013, Lisbon, Electroacoustic Music in the context of interactive approaches and networks

The first interactive systems for sound synthesis control were developed at the end of the 1960s, adding new tools and possibilities to the practice(s) of electroacoustic music. Since then, real-time interactive technologies, techniques and practices have led to the emergence of new electroacoustic music approaches, within both composition and performance. Currently, technological solutions for sound interactivity are ubiquitous and inexpensive, making them easy for musicians to access. After almost half a century, changes in electroacoustic music practices justify being studied, not only from the technical and technological point of view, but also from the musicological one.

This EMS conference offers an opportunity for musicologists, composers and sound artists to discuss a number of relevant questions concerning interactivity in music. The main objective of the conference is to focus on the subject of electroacoustic music in the context of interactive approaches and networks, including the study of perspectives, not only by composers and performers, but also from listeners. We thus aim to extend musicological approaches to the question of how interactive networks of electroacoustic music might facilitate the intersection between music and other art forms.

This conference aims to promote and discuss ideas and tendencies characteristic of current practices. Technological developments mean that ways of composing, performing and listening are undergoing significant changes in a short space of time. Sharing information in musicological, analytical, psycho-acoustical and other related areas is an important and timely task. It is our hope that the theme of the conference will stimulate debate amongst the electroacoustic music community.

Musicological studies on interactive electroacoustic music still lack consistent research and systematization. In this sense, we are seeking more specifically for papers that intend to generate more general debate concerning music and interactivity. We are specifically, but not exclusively, looking for papers addressing the following topics:
- Which musicological points of view can be brought to bear on recent aesthetic and technical transformations?
- From the musicological point of view, in what measure do interactive approaches to electroacoustic music become a new artistic challenge for performers and composers? And what is ‘live’ electronic music?
- From the point of view of the musicologist, how can we explain the new relationship between compositional practices and techniques developed according to interactive network systems possibilities?
- Even though only 50 years have passed since the development of the first interactive systems, a vast repertory already exists, how can we organize and integrate this repertory in the context of recent music history?
- How can interactive real-time performance/composition strategies be analysed? And which analytical approaches should be applied to interactive electroacoustic music?
- How important are interface-related questions in the process of composing within interactive approaches?

It is our wish that this conference will encourage the growth of musicological studies dealing with the theme Electroacoustic Music in the Context of Interactive Approaches and Networks – not only for musicologists but for all electroacoustic music communities, including composers and performers.

Papers should address specific topics in the call. While some references to works by the presenting author(s) may be cited, proposals focused on the presenting author’s/authors’ own work will not be accepted.


The conference is also open to other topics relevant to the history and/or contemporary practice of electroacoustic music. We encourage the submission of papers relating to any aspect of the field, including but not limited to analysis, perception, listening, terminology, composition, performance, cultural issues and education.

Electroacoustic music and global issues:
- How can the practitioner of electroacoustic music interact with the scientific and technical community in order to face the global issues of our changing world? Analysis:
- What types of discourse are relevant to electroacoustic works?
- Which analytical methods are currently being developed?
- Can one adapt existent analytical methods of music to electroacoustic works, many of which involve no prescriptive notation?
- How can we further develop the field of study of electroacoustic musics? Transcription and representation of sound, new audio-visual tools:
- How are analytical tools being produced and disseminated in the community?
- Which means are available for communicating this sonic art form through symbolic and graphic representations?
- Does the study of electroacoustic musics require specifically designed tools or can it take advantage of methods conceived for other musics?

Taxonomy, terminology - ’meaningful’ units of music description:
- Which systems of classification are in use or should be developed?
- How can we become more consistent in our use of terminology in a field as dynamic as electroacoustic music? Performance, presentation, dissemination:
- What is the ’work’?
- New presentation spaces, technologies.
- Aesthetical and musical issues raised by Internet communities, group compositions, telematics and performances.

Listening, Intention-Reception:
- Issues of perception and interpretation.
- How do the composer’s intentions relate to what is perceived? Semiotics/semiology, ’meaning’:
- What (and how) do different electroacoustic music genres express? Soundscape, sound ecology:
- Analytical tools for the understanding of soundscapes.
- New approaches to sound ecology, sonification, sound environment. Genres/styles, ’languages’:
- Questions of unity, diversity, plurality, multicultural resources, polystyle, hybridisation, ’local music Gender issues:
- Have gender balances shifted since the early days?
- The relationship between technology/electroacoustic music and gender. Research on history of electroacoustic music:
- Research on historical documentation.
- Studies on the genesis, development and activities of private and public studios.
- How can and should we revise history?