Blue Flower

6thSymposium of the ICTM Study Group on Multipart Music

23‑27 September 2019 Sarajevo

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Call for papers


DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONSMarch 19, 2019 (new deadline)

PLACE: Academy of Music, University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

LANGUAGE: English.



  1. Emotion and aesthetic experience during the performance act

During the performance act, as the core moment of the music and dance making process, the protagonists try to ‘materialize’ and transmit ideas and ideals in the ‘here and now’. Such a situation is experienced in a particularly intense way. This is the case all the more in multipart music and dance practices, in which individual ways of music and dance making, embedded in specific multi-sensorial and polysemic processes (Lortat-Jacob 2011), have to be well coordinated. Furthermore, the very act of making music and dance personifies social values. This means that the protagonists also perform social relationships, which are constructed in the very act of representing them (Cook 2016). In this framework, issues of emotions and aesthetics as conscious experiences and cognitive processing gain a special importance, especially because of the mutual dependence between cognition and elicitation. Emotions have been characterised as complex processes in which a non-cognitive ‘affective appraisal’, which is fast and automatic, causes subsequent physiological responses, motor changes, action tendencies, and changes in facial and vocal expression (Robinson 2005). Experienced emotion is felt to a stronger degree if several factors are present. In turn, aesthetic experience is considered as a psychological process in which the attention is focused on the object while all other objects, events, and everyday concerns are suppressed (Cupchik and Winston 1996). In this sense the connection between emotions and aesthetic experience and issues of expression and communication is very strong and remarkably relevant for multipart music and dance practices.

In this symposium we want to focus on the role of emotions and aesthetic experience in the act of performance and on the question of how the protagonists conceive of these issues.

  1. A capella singing

A capellasinging is a very widespread music typology in contemporary music making. Basically, a capellameans without any instrumental accompaniments. The definition is used for different music outcomes, from monodic to large choral performances. In this context, some special traditions have been developed, including forms of highly specialized music, like the typical American so-called Barbershop quartets. Based on three voices harmonizing to the melody of a fourth voice, these quartets achieve a high level of harmonic complexity, often using written music as a source. In other a capellatraditions the performers contemplate the vocal imitation of instruments, in the style of the famous Mills Brothers, who were among the first to popularise this music style in the 1930s. On the other hand, many a cappellagroups have great success within popular music, performing both original compositions and covering famous songs, like the recent case of the Pentatonix or the well-known group of The Swingle Singers.

We would encourage papers on this topic in interdisciplinary approaches, also from the perspective of popular music studies.

  1. New research


* * *

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that the 6th Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Multipart Music will take place from 23 to 27 September 2019 Academy of Music, University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The head of the local organising committee will be Jasmina Talam.

We invite proposals for individual presentations, panels and round tables. They are to be sent by email before 28 February 2019.

The text should be pasted into the body of the email and also sent as a Word.doc or Rich Text Format (RTF) attachment to assure access. Please label all communications clearly with your full contact details.

Please note that participants are limited to a single presentation.

Please indicate clearly your preferred format. If members have any questions about the program, or the suitability of a proposal, please contact the Program Chair and ask for assistance. Colleagues are advised to bring alternative modes of presentation delivery if using PowerPoint, DVD, and so on in case of unexpected technical difficultieson the day of presentation.

Research papers should be based on original research that address the conference theme and should not have already been presented. Papers should be designed and presented to take no more than 20 minutes, including audio-visuals.

Students, who feel that they are not yet in the position to present a full-length paper, are welcome to give short presentations (10 minutes) of their project, in order to get feedback.

Individual Presentations

Accepted presentations of individual members will be grouped by the Program Committee into sessions of one and a half hours. Each presentation will be allotted 20 minutes inclusive of all illustrations, audio-visual media or movement examples, plus 10 minutes for questions and discussion.

Please, submit an abstract of 250-300 words outlining the content, argument and conclusion, and its relation to one of the symposium themes. Please include the type of illustrations to be used in the presentation, such as slides, DVD, video (including format), and so on.


We encourage presentations in the form of panels.

Proposals may be submitted for panels consisting of at least three presenters. The structure is at the discretion of the coordinator. The proposal must explain the overall purpose, the role of the individual participants, and signal the commitment of all participants attending the conference. Each panel proposal will be accepted or rejected as a whole.

Please, submit a short summary (not exceeding 300 words) of the panel overview, and an individual paper proposal, as described under “Individual Presentations” above, for each presenter. All of the proposals for a panel should be sent together. Proposals should address one or more aspects of the established themes of this symposium.


We also encourage presentations in the form of roundtables: sessions that are entirely planned, coordinated, and prepared by a group of people, one of whom is the responsible coordinator. The aim is to generate discussion between members of the roundtable who present questions, issues, and/or material for about 5 minutes on the pre-selected unifying theme of the roundtable. The following discussion, at the convener’s discretion, may open into more general discussion with the audience.

The total length of a roundtable will be one and a half hours inclusive of all discussions.

Proposals may be submitted for a roundtable consisting of 3-5 presenters, and the structure is at the discretion of the convener who will chair the event. The proposal must explain the overall purpose, the role of the individual participants, and signal the commitment of all participants to attend the symposium. Each roundtable proposal will be accepted or rejected as a whole.


Please note that the Program Committee will only consider proposals bycurrent members of the ICTM in good standing. Please contact Ardian Ahmedaja (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for membership in the Study Group. Members may join and submit a proposal at the same time. Membership applications are available at the ICTM website For membership questions, contact the ICTM Secretariat (

Where to send the proposals?

Ardian Ahmedaja

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Program committee:

Ardian Ahmedaja (Chair)

Ignazio Macchiarella

Žanna Pärtlas

Jasmina Talam


Local Arrangement Committee

Jasmina Talam This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tamara Karača Beljak This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fatima Hadžić This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Lana Paćuka This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mirza Kovač This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Costs: It will be no registration fee.


Participants are responsible for travel and accommodation expenses.

Notification for acceptance/rejection will be announced by 28 April 2019.

If you have a deadline for funding applications for travel, accommodation, and so on, please notify the Program Committee of your deadline date.



The symposium will take place at Academy of Music 

Josipa Stadlera 1/II

71000 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina


For information on travelling to Sarajevo, accommodation, and more, please see the attached file PDF


Looking forward to seeing you in Sarajevo! 





Fifth Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Multipart Music

Nanning (China), May 7- 12, 2017

Programme CommitteeArdian AHMEDAJA (Austria), International Chairperson;  Local Chairperson, Ignazio MACCHIARELLA (Italy), Zhanna PÄRTLAS (Estonia),


  1. The Understandings of Multipart Music in Diverse Research Traditions

Investigations carried out in various practices and times have led to the establishment of different understandings of music and processes of music making, including those connected with multipart music. Discussions in the symposia of our Study Group have shown that such differences are connected with the specifics of the musical practices and the understandings of the music makers as well as with the different ways of the establishment of the research traditions in question. At the centre of the discussions on this theme will be questions on how multipart music is understood, expressed and defined in diverse research traditions to know more about the kind of distinctions and possible common features

  1. A specific use of sound in space and time: polymusic and soundscape

The neologism polymusic was coined in 1991 at a seminar of the French Ethnomusicology Laboratory of the CNRS as being the total result of the simultaneous, deliberate presence of several autonomous musical entities, without any coordination in time. This happens in different parts of the world, for example in rituals, when individuals or groups make music on their own, at the same place and simultaneously. The result has been characterised as controlled disorder.

In the last symposium of the Study Group the discussions about this phenomenon were linked with that of soundscape, meaning a component of the acoustic environment that can be perceived by humans. In this context, mostly the part ofsoundscape which is called anthrophony (all of the sound signatures generated by humans) seems particularly appropriate for discussion. Other views are certainly welcome. The intention here is to lead a possibly broader discussion about specific uses of sound in space and time and about performances of different musical acts simultaneously and deliberately.

  1. New research





Fourth Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Multipart Music

Singapore, July 4-7, 2016

Programme Committee: Ardian AHMEDAJA (Austria), International Chairperson; Larry Francis HILARIAN (Singapore), Local Chairperson, Ignazio MACCHIARELLA (Italy), Zhanna PÄRTLAS (Estonia),




  1. Multipart Music as a Mean of Social and/or Intercultural Interaction

When music is lively made, it is an interaction between behaviours put in place by distinctive persons on the basis of shared performative rules. Far from being an anodyne and faithful reproducer of sounds, every participant in the performative act is what he/she makes: he/she coincides with the vocal or instrumental sound he/she produces. As such, every participant in a performance is a soundful body who manifests his/her singular musicalitymore or less evidently and consciously, according to the shared music mechanism, to the circumstances and the purposes of the performance, on the basis of his/her music skills, background, taste, preferences and so forth. This is particularly true in multipart music practices which can be interpreted as conscious interactions between different sound identities.

Within a human group, multipart performances represent, reinforce or even question both inter-individual and collective relationships. Within multicultural scenarios, through multipart practices, different skills and backgrounds interact in creative ways, often in unpredictable forms (including original blending of vocal timbres and/or music instrument sounds). Beyond music outcomes, we call for contribution focussed on individual and collective music behaviours within a cultural context or a multicultural situation.


  1. Methods of Analytical Representation of Multipart Music Processes

The analytical representation of traditional music was for years a matter of argument in ethnomusicology. The recent publications (Agawu 2003, Tenzer 2006, Stock 2008) that advocate musical analysis as a method of ethnomusicological research showed new perspectives in this domain, which, in spite of criticism, was never completely abandoned by ethnomusicologists. As Tenzer put it, “analysis … is a worthy exercise because it brings us to a more intensive relationship with the particularities of sound”. The question is “how we interpret and present our perceptions and decisions“. (Tenzer 2006, 8)The topic of analytical representation of music includes many particular questions beginning with the methods of sound and video recording, means of visualization of musical sound, limitations and possibilities of aural analysis, and ending with the usage of computer software as an analytical tool. All these questions have their specificity being applied to the multipart music research.

Among the questions to be discussed, there are: How the experience of musical transcription and analysis influences the ethnomusicological research? To what extent is music analysis ideologically charged? What do we try to represent visualizing multipart music? What, in this respect, is the potential of different means of visual representation of music (e.g. segmentation and implementation, different kinds of notations, graphical visualization, etc.)? How do we balance in our practice between ‘descriptive’ and ‘prescriptive’ notation? How can ‘static’ codes describe musical processes?


  1. Music Education and its Role in Community and Multipart Music-Making as a “Shared Experience”

The theme hopes to explore the significance of the changing landscape of music education over the last 2/3 decades and its effects on active music-making as a “shared musical expression” and multipart music-making. It examines the role of music education through the deployment of World Music pedagogies in the school music curriculum.The aim is to initiate discussion on how music educators could contribute to the larger shared musical and artistic life of not only the changing school culture, but also the new migrant community. The functionality of community and multipart music-making could also necessitate social integration in the rapidly changing cosmopolitan global cities. Some of the questions that could be explored are: how music education can play a vital role in the integration of new migrants; how political changes could affect the ways in which music education should be approached, and why these changes are necessary today.

Please, see the Programme and Abstract Book


First Seminar of the ICTM Study Group on Multipart Music

Tallin, Estonia, September 19-20, 2014 
Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, Eesti Muusika-ja Teatriakadeemia

Local OrganiserŽanna PÄRTLAS (Estonia)
Program Committee: Ardian Ahmedaja (Austria/Albania), Ignazio Macchiarella (Italy), Žanna PÄRTLAS (Estonia)
Supported by: The Cultural Endowment of Estonia the Estonian Research Council

Multipart Music: theoretical approaches on the terminology
The current definition of the multipart music used by the ICTM Study Group on Multipart Music reads: Multipart music is a specific mode of music making and expressive behavior based on the intentionally distinct and coordinated participation in the performing act by sharing knowledge and shaping values. The term “multipart music” and others connected with it are applied in different meanings in the scholarly literature and the symposia of the Study Group. Therefore an in-depth discussion on theoretical approaches of this particular terminology has become more than necessary. This seminar will be dedicated entirely to this subject.

Download this file (Tallinn 2014_ProgramAbstracts_tr�kkimiseks (1).pdf)Download Seminar Abstract Book[Tallin Seminar Abstract Book]305 kB

Third Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Multipart Music

Budapest, Hungary, September 12-16, 2013

Local Organiser: Institute for Musicology. Research Centre for the Humanities. The Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Budapest, Hungary.
Head of the Local Organisers’ Committee: Lujza Tari.
Programme Committee: Ardian AHMEDAJA, Chair (Austria), Ignazio MACCHIARELLA (Italy), Zhanna PÄRTLAS (Estonia), Lujza TARI (Hungary)

1. Scholarly terminology and local musical practice
One of the barriers ethnomusicologists have to constantly overcome in their work is the balancing act between dealing with local practices and trying to generalize the focused questions by using scholarly terminology. In addition to the complex relationship between local and global terminologies, connotations of terms in use change continuously. Furthermore, different sciences influence each other’s views and consequently their terminologies. Questions to be focused on in the discussions are: How do terms come into use in scholarly research? Is there a model or does every term have its ‘own history’? How do their connotations change? How do other sciences influence this process? And what about questions on ‘lingua franca’? What is the place of local terminology within this framework? How does terminology influence local musicians’ and scholars’ perception of music and music making?
2. The role of educated musicians and missionaries in local music practices

Schoolmasters, cantors, choir conductors and other educated musicians have influenced local practice in many parts of the world. With regard to multipart music they have even influenced the establishment of new traditions. An important place is occupied by religious missionaries in this context. As a result, in many cases local music has lost its reputation or has been neglected in favour of newly-introduced music. Through case studies and theoretical approaches, the kind of influences these activities have oneveryday musical practice will be examined, focusing at the same time on the contexts of the objectives and results of the work of various protagonists in this process.

3. Individualists in company
Multipart music as a specific mode of music making and expressive behaviour is based on intentionally distinct and coordinated participation in the performing act by sharing knowledge and shaping values. In this process, the company members try to promote personal goals connected with creation and experimentation during music making and the discussions about it with community members. A specific issue within this framework is multipart music performed by one singer or by one musician on a single instrument. The main question to be discussed within this framework is connected with the kind of position the individual and the company have in various multipart music traditions. 

Please, see the Programme and Abstract Book


Download this file (Multipart-abstract-book (4).pdf)Download Symposium Abstract Book[Budapest Symposium Abstract book ]1477 kB
Download this file (Multipartflyer.pdf)Symposium Flyer[Budapest Symposium Flyer]781 kB