SONG STUDIES 2020
The singing voice is a medium of expression that is found in all times and cultures. People have always been singing, not only to perform entertainingly, but also to express emotions or to embody identities. This has for example made collective singing (and listening) practices a primary way for people to articulate and embody the identities that are fundamental to the existence of social groups. The bodily and sensory experience of moving and sounding together in synchrony, enables individuals to experience feelings of togetherness with others.
Song is the versatile medium facilitating such processes. Songs can evoke and channel emotions, employing them for specific (or less specific) means. As a multimodal genre, song enables not only the articulation and embodiment of ideas; as an inherently oral and intangible medium, songs can move through space and time, transgressing any material form. Therefore, songs have proven an ideal tool for the distribution of news, contentious ideas, or mobilising messages.
This conference aims to bring together researchers from various disciplines investigating song (for example musicology, literary studies, history, sociology, performance studies, cognition studies, anthropology, etc.). The focus will be on the definition of possible approaches to the study of this medium (both in its material and performed existence), its performances (in any form) and reception (in any context). Research examples may cover songs written and sung in any culture and language, and any (historical) period. Common ground will be found through concepts, approaches and methodologies, encouraging an interdisciplinary and transhistorical dialogue, breaking ground for a new research field: song studies.
Possible research areas and questions to be explored are:
- how to study the multimodality of the genre, acknowledging both textual and musical characteristics, and its performative nature;
- the sensory/bodily and emotional/affective experience of listening and singing;
- cognitive and/or affective processes of singing (and collective singing practices);
- how to study the performative aspects of songs in historical contexts;
- the ‘power’/agency of song;
- the role of song and singing in social processes and historical developments;