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Call for Papers - Special issue on "Spectral Thinking" (15/1, Spring 2018)

Guest Editor: Jonathan Cross (University of Oxford)

Articles are invited for a special themed issue exploring the idea of spectral music in the widest sense. The terms “spectral music” and “spectralism” are now in wide use, but there has been surprisingly little critical discussion (particularly in English) of how the terms are used, and what constitutes spectral music or, more generally, “spectral thought”. Clearly spectral music exists beyond a particular “spectral moment” centered on Paris in the 1970s, which has to date been the primary focus of scholarly attention. It is hoped that this Special Issue will address critical, historiographical and hermeneutical issues in order to begin to situate spectral musical developments within the wider contexts of both musical modernism in general, and music and society since the 1960s in particular.

Submissions (6,000–12,000 words) are welcomed from any methodological perspective and/or in relation to a wide range of musical repertoires or practices that could be said to engage with the notion of the “spectrum of sound”. Topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • historical/historiographical perspectives on spectral music in France (post-1968, etc.) and elsewhere
  • the institutions of spectral music
  • philosophical contexts for the “ideologies” of spectralism
  • the politics of spectralism
  • spectral music and modes of listening
  • spectralism and technology
  • music spectra, the corps sonore and music theory, from Rameau to the present
  • analytical approaches to spectral music
  • spectral music and the creative process
  • spectral music and sound studies
  • wider “spectral thinking”, with its origins in Debussy, Partch, Cowell, even Schoenberg, and embracing a diverse host of composers working internationally from the 1960s on

For consideration for inclusion in this Special Issue, articles should be submitted to by Monday 24 April 2017. It is hoped decisions regarding publication will be made by the end of June 2017. Informal enquiries (including for potential reviews of books on music/issues related to spectral music) may be sent to the Guest Editor:

Twentieth-Century Music (Co-Editors: Julian Johnson and Jason Stanyek) disseminates research on all aspects of music in the long twentieth century to a broad readership. Emphasis is placed upon the presentation of the full spectrum of scholarly insight, with the goal of fostering exchange and debate between disciplinary fields. Individual issues may address a single theme, or encompass diverse topics and musical repertoires of current import. Our reviews section (Reviews Editor: Heather Wiebe) offers agenda-setting responses to newly published work.

Twentieth-Century Music
  • ISSN: 1478-5722 (Print), 1478-5730 (Online)
  • Frequency: 3 issues per year
Twentieth-Century Music disseminates research on a broad spectrum of scholarly interest in the long twentieth century. We welcome submissions on all kinds of musical practice, including folk and popular music, media and film music, as well as art music and sound art. We also encourage submissions from a similarly wide variety of methodological and disciplinary perspectives, including ethnomusicology, archival research, cultural studies, and analytical work which engages with broad historical arguments. The reviews section offers agenda-setting responses to newly published work.