Music, Writing, Difference – An Interdisciplinary Conference on Adorno’s Theory of Musical Reproduction

Vienna, 3–5 April 2019


Deadline for abstracts (250–300 words): 31 October 2018

E-Mail queries and proposals to: Julia.Zupancic -at-


Theodor W. Adorno’s posthumously published book “Towards a Theory of Musical Reproduction” contains numerous thoughts about a theory of musical notation which can be made adaptable to contemporary discourses (e.g. of writing). Taking a fresh look at the fragmentary text, Adorno’s reflections need to be reviewed, concretised and modified with regard to the following questions: What are the qualities of musical writing, where do its potentials and limitations lie? What are the characteristics of the medium of sound? And what happens when sound – being ephemeral by nature – is spatialised? What kind of processes, on the other hand, are essential to the act of music-making?

Building on new impulses from interdisciplinary research on writing, we invite scholars to reflect on Adorno’s thoughts on musical reproduction and to expand on them in a productive way: Which premises offer a suitable starting point for further musico-philosophical considerations on musical notation and performance? And how can Adorno’s concepts be seen in light of more recent notational practices and aesthetic debates as well as in light of the paradigm shifts within the humanities (e.g. the iconic or material turn)?

We encourage individual 30-minute papers from a range of disciplines and perspectives including musicology, the theory of writing and image, performance practice, philosophy, media aesthetics, philology, and cultural studies.

The conference languages are German and English.


Organisation: Matteo Nanni (Giessen), Nikolaus Urbanek (Vienna), Julia Zupancic (Giessen)

Wissenschaftszentrum Arnold Schoenberg und die Wiener Schule at the Institut fuer Musikwissenschaft und Interpretationsforschung, Universitaet fuer Musik und darstellende Kunst, Vienna, and Institut fuer Musikwissenschaft und Musikpaedagogik, Justus-Liebig-Universitaet Giessen, in cooperation with Arnold Schoenberg Center, Vienna


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