CFP: Music and Deconstruction


CFP for contributions to a themed session at the #MPSG21

Convener: Clare Lesser, Music Program, Division of Arts and Humanities, New York University Abu Dhabi

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to make drastic changes to the ways in which we conduct and disseminate both our music practice and research. From fractured audiences and virtual ensembles, to webinars, online practice sessions and conferences, suddenly, we find ourselves simultaneously alone and yet together in a paradox of the virtual. Tele-technology, modes of distribution and Derridean ‘hauntology’ have been thrust into the foreground of nearly everything that we do as musicians. But in what other ways might Jacques Derrida’s (1930-2004) philosophy inform our understanding of music, indeed, should deconstruction even be applied to fields outside of writing? Derrida thought that it should, linking the ‘supports’ of writing with their performative sonic counterparts and saying : ‘the idea that deconstruction should confine itself to the analysis of the discursive text—I know that the idea is widespread—is really either a gross misunderstanding or a political strategy designed to limit deconstruction to matters of language.’ (Deconstruction and the Visual Arts).

The following questions arise: can we perform, analyse or compose deconstructively? Can we experience deconstruction actively as both performers and listeners/users? Does deconstruction in other fields play into this discourse? How does deconstruction inform contemporary practices, such as multi-disciplinary performances, interactive and experiential modes of music making that challenge notions of authorship and agency, ‘real-time’ composition and use of unorthodox event spaces? Is deconstruction equally meaningful to the study and performance of older models; the Romantic ‘moment,’ 19th century repertoire’s unreliable narrators, questions of authenticity and reconstruction?

Proposals for any format (paper/performance/workshop etc.) are invited on, but not limited to:

  • Music and archive
  • Music, hauntology and tele-technology
  • Indeterminacy and undecidability
  • Music, supplement and différance
  • Deconstructive approaches to improvisation and ornamentation
  • Deconstruction in music and architecture
  • Domain heterogeneity
  • Techne and phronesis in the rehearsal process

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to Clare Lesser,, by October 30, 2020

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