Music, Body, and Embodiment:
New Approaches in Musicology


Organized by

Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini, Lucca

Istituto Italiano di Musica Antica

Italian Institute for Applied Musicology

Palma Choralis® Research Group

International Conference

8-10 December 2023



The Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini, the Istituto Italiano di Musica Antica, the Italian Institute for Applied Musicology, and the Palma Choralis® Research Group are pleased to invite submissions of proposals for the Conference «Music, Body, and Embodiment: New Approaches in Musicology», to be held from 8 to 10 December 2023.

Over the past few decades, the body has emerged as a central issue in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. As for the study of music, the idea that the body and embodiment play an essential role in musical experience has been a central concern in systematic musicology but has recently also begun to influence musical-historical research. Music, in fact, can be seen as something that is both experienced and created through the body. We perform, create, listen, feel, and even «think» the music with our body, since musical experience is, literally, an embodied experience.

This is probably the most basic reason why music is such a «meaningful language» to us, and why its «meaning» is inevitably «extra-musical», since meaning itself is grounded in the body, as many cognitive scientists and linguists would nowadays maintain. There is a two-way relationship between music and body, whereby the former is created through the latter, but the latter is metaphorically implied in the former. A piece of music reflects the embodied consciousness of those who create or perform it. At the same time, music can «represent» or «stand for» a metaphorical body.

If we think of the body as a cultural construct, music can contribute to its «construction» in the same way as other artistic practices in which the body is more obviously involved, such as dance, acting, or theatrical costumes.

In keeping with this idea of a close relationship between music and body, this conference calls for contributions in a wide range of musicological areas and encourages a variety of new approaches that can help overcome rigid dichotomies such as historical vs systematic, musicological vs ethnomusicological, historical vs analytical, formalist vs contextualist, and so on.

The scientific committee encourages submissions within the following topics, although other topics related to the general theme of the conference are also welcome:

  • Embodied music cognition
  • The role of the body in the conceptualization of music:
  • Embodied music cognition and digital media
  • Embodied responses to music
  • The role of the body in sound and music perception, psychoacoustics, and musical acoustics.
  • Embodied understanding of performing practices
  • Analysis of body movement in music performance
  • Music-dance relationships in an embodied perspective
  • The role of the body in music improvisation and composition
  • Bodily conceptual metaphors in music criticism and music analysis
  • Music analysis and the body
  • Music creativity and bodily disability
  • Body and embodiment in the music by composers of various epochs
  • Body and voice in theatrical music

Programme Committee

  • Roberto Illiano (Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini)
  • Marcello Mazzetti (University of Huddersfield, Istituto Italiano di Musica Antica, Palma Choralis)
  • Fulvia Morabito (Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini)
  • Massimiliano Sala (Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini)
  • Massimiliano Locanto (Università di Salerno)
  • Livio Ticli (University of Huddersfield, Istituto Italiano di Musica Antica, Palma Choralis)

Keynote Speakers:

  • Arnie Cox (Oberlin College, OH)
  • Rolf Inge Godøy (University of Oslo)

The official languages of the conference are English, French, Italian and Spanish. Papers selected at the conference will be published in a miscellaneous volume.

Papers are limited to twenty minutes in length, allowing time for questions and discussion. Please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words and one page of biography. 

All proposals should be submitted by email no later than ***Sunday 23 April 2023*** to <>. With your proposal please include your name, contact details (postal address, e-mail and telephone number) and (if applicable) your affiliation.

The committee will make its final decision on the abstracts by the end of May 2023 and contributors will be informed immediately thereafter. Further information about the programme and registration will be announced after that date. 

For any additional information, please contact:

Dr. Massimiliano Sala

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