Music Scenes: Reflections on Performance From the birth of recorded popular music to the emergence of auto-tune and other digital audio tools, anxieties over the “death” of live performance have run rampant. Most recently, Beyonce’s admission to singing along to a pre-recorded track at President Obama’s inauguration led one writer at The Telegraph to state, “Miming will be the death of live music performance… singers who lip-sync during concerts insult their audience and undermine their peers.” Indeed, entire genres of music—from classical to hip-hop—are perceived to literally live and die based on the vibrancy of their live performance scenes. Academics have been equally suspicious of “threats” to live performance, questioning the validity of writing about an art form whose public reception is often experienced in such an ephemeral and fleeting manner. The emergence of interdisciplinary fields and methods such as Sound Studies, Performance Studies, and Sensory Ethnography attest to these concerns. As Carolyn Abbate asks in her controversial article “Music—Drastic or Gnostic”: “Where are material presence and carnality, where has live performance gone, when it produced our love for music to begin with?” Yet, despite these fears, many musicians continue to use public performance as a primary creative and financial outlet, audiences continue to attend sold out shows and festivals, and industries continue to thrive on the live music market. The IASPM-US website seeks 1,000-1,500 word essays, performance reviews, or alternative multimedia submissions (interactive web projects, podcasts, short video documentaries or presentations, etc.), presenting and reflecting on the public performance of popular music. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
- Immediacy, Temporality, and/or Affect in Performance
- Technology, “Liveness,” Mediation (virtual performance, technologies on stage)
- The Performing Body (carnality, sensuality)
- Performance and Identity
- Ethnographies of Performers and their Publics
- Pedagogy and Performance Practice
No matter the submission format or topic, including both text and multimedia (audio or video footage, SoundCloud or YouTube examples, images) is highly encouraged. Deadline for proposals is 22 May 2013. Please submit drafts and multimedia files as attachments to Mike D’Errico at firstname.lastname@example.org. Accepted submissions will appear on the IASPM-US website during June 2013.