Call for Papers

5 to 7 May 2021, Lisbon, Portugal

Musical Performance as creation

NEW DEADLINE: January 7th, 2021

The conference will allow for videoconferencing presentations

The main theme of this edition is to discuss the musical performance in our days. From the concert hall to the streaming systems, from the street to the television, from live to recordings, the performance act is a creative one that transposes the creator’s musical ideas and moods to the audience. Regardless of the multiplicity of genres, media and contexts, including unexpected and terribly challenging situation like the current pandemic context, discuss performance is essential. Moreover, discussing musical performance as a creative act includes considering its interpretation, the diversity of techniques and skills, the technologies involved, the performance spaces, the auditory contexts, the public’s willingness and accessibility to it, and many other determining variables.

Considering the above-mentioned, it is pertinent to ask: what means performing music today and in what sense or way it can be seen as a creative act? What is the role of the performer in today’s musical world? Can we continue to talk about “performing music”? Or should we consider using other expressions according to each particular situation? What is the role of musical performance in the context of a museum exhibition, sound art event or even in installations? Can a sound artist be considered a music performer? Can real-time coding or free improvisation be considered as forms of musical performance? Can the creativity embodied in musical performance influence the development of the community and society? How can musical performance be relevant in situations of social crisis and depression?

It is within the context of this complex problem that we encourage composers, musicologists, performers, teachers, philosophers and other researchers to present proposals covering the whole range of questions involved in this subject. Students, post-doctoral, and early-career researchers are particularly encouraged.

NCMM permanent themes:

The conference is also open to other topics related to contemporary music studies and practices. Thus, we encourage the submission of papers related to any aspects of the field, including, but not limited to, composition, music and technology, auditory perception, music history, analysis and theory, musical genres and practices, as well as cultural issues.

  1. Musical composition practices, performance and reception:
    1. Composition techniques and technologies, including new instruments and unconventional tools and means.
    2. Real time composition and interactive music, including live coding, electronic, interactive and computer music.
    3. Collaborative composition, free improvisations and open composition.
    4. Practice-based research in music, including composition, performance and collaborative musical activities.

  2. Music history, theory and analysis:
    1. What are the challenges of contemporary music for musical analysis and history?
    2. What new paradigms, theories and techniques are emerging?
    3. What balance is there/should there be between theory and practice in general and specific musicological methodologies?
    4. Does contemporary music need new techniques, methodologies and specifically designed tools, or is what already exists sufficient?

  3. Philosophy of music and aesthetics:
    1. What philosophical points of view can be brought to bear on aesthetic and technical transformations in contemporary music?
    2. What of epistemology, semiotics and phenomenological studies of contemporary music?

  4. Musicology, intertextuality and authenticity:
    1. How to discuss intertextuality and authenticity in the context of contemporary music, and what issues should be considered.
    2. What about critical, systematic and empirical musicological methodologies and practices in contemporary music?

  5. Auditory perception and cognition:
    1. Issues of music cognition, semiotics and the experience of contemporary music
    2. How to study the relationship between the composer’s intentions and the perceptual experience of music.

  6. Musical sound transcription, representation and music notation:
    1. What new questions does contemporary music raise in terms of transcription, representation and music notation?
    2. New tools and methods of transcription and representation of sound.
    3. How and which musical sound representations can become tools for musical art creation and research.

  7. Sound technologies and the music industry:
    1. Genres and diversity of style.
    2. The influence of industry and technology on musical aesthetics.
    3. Broadcasting and sampling: repetition and variation as a means to become a musical hit.
    4. Popular music and other contemporary arts in relation to music
    5. What musical issues do internet communities, group compositions and telematics raise?

  8. Music and image:
    1. What of music and “moving images” on TV, cinema, Internet and other kinds of multimedia?
    2. What of the musicological challenges of music for video games?

  9. Sound art, installations and exhibitions:
    1. What musicological discourse can there be for music outside the concert hall?
    2. How and why study sound art and music/sound installations in a musicological context?
    3. What can be the role of music in museum exhibitions?

  10. Soundscape, sound ecology:
    1. How, and with what terminology, can one discuss soundscapes and sound ecology in a musical domain?
    2. Virtual auditory space creation, sound ecology and sonification.

  11. Documentation and preservation of musical heritage:
    1. What problems are there concerning the preservations and documentation of contemporary music works?
    2. How and why is the performability of some contemporary music works challenging and sometimes not viable?

  12. Music and emergent cultures and societies, cultural heritage and inclusive societies:
    1. Anthropology, cultural and cross-cultural studies in contemporary music.
    2. Questions of unity, diversity, plurality, multicultural resources, hybridization, and local music in a globalized world.
    3. What problems arise concerning music criticism, the sociology of music and culture?

The updated call can be downloaded Here

Guidelines for Submission

The deadline for submission of paper proposals is Thursday, 07 January 2021 midnight EST. Notification of acceptance will be emailed to applicants by 28 February 2021.

A submission should consist of a zipped folder containing:

  • The paper abstract in English  (500 words maximum, including 2 to 3 keywords), headed by the author’s name(s), organizational affiliation (if any), contact address, telephone, and email address, in PDF;
  • A short CV (2 pages max.)
  • A list of main publications (up to 10 entries), in PDF.
  • A short biography (up to 150 words), in PDF;

Submission are to be made directly by email to: ncmm.contemporarymusic[at]

Please send a copy (cc) to:    imp[at]

The abstract as well as the short biography should be ready for publication if the paper is accepted. A programme containing the paper abstracts and biographies will be published on the NCMM website <> and made available at the conference.

Submissions from students and early-career postdoctoral researchers are particularly encouraged.

Paper presentation guidelines:

  • Each paper presentation will be 20 minutes (including a 5 minute question period).
    Papers are to be given in English.
  • Standard presentation equipment will be provided including a video projector and stereo sound system. Please bring your own VGA or HDMI connector, as well as a mini-jack output adaptor if it is not included on your device.
  • A computer will be available in the conference rooms.
  • For any further queries, please contact us: ncmm.contemporarymusic[at]