NCMM Presentation

Nova Contemporary Music Meeting (NCMM) is a biennial, 3-day international conference launched by the Contemporary Music Research Group (GIMC) of CESEM (Centre for the Study of the Sociology and Musical Aesthetics at Nova University, Lisbon) and focused on a variety of questions relating to music since the beginning of the 20th century.

Music today is more diverse than ever. The variety of genres, practices, techniques, technologies, systems of dissemination and forms of reception, brings to a new context in which the foundation of previous assumptions is shaken, and new paradigms are emerging. Music from the past, as well as from the present, is now omnipresent in our society, from the concert hall to the museum, from the media to public spaces, to private listening with headphones. As a result of each one of these and other situations, studying music is now challenging and depends on a multiplicity of artistic and scientific domains.

In this context, NCMM was conceived as a contribution to the development of multidisciplinary and collaborative research in the field of contemporary music, and it consists in a research meeting that bring together researchers, musicologists, composers and performers, working with a diversity of areas related to contemporary music. With a special focus on the articulation between musical practices and research activities, whether theoretical or practice-based, NCMM intends to respond to the current challenges of contemporary music, in its artistic and research practices, offering a platform for proposing, discussing and disseminating knowledge in a variety of fields.


Each edition will focus on a special main subject, but NCMM conference comprises a set of permanent topics related to contemporary music studies and practices.

  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 preservation 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?