12th Meeting of the Music and Media (MaM) Study Group of the IMS, Cleveland

Call for Papers: Pre-existing music in screen-media: Problems, questions, challenges

The Music and Media (MaM) Study Group of the International Musicological Society (IMS) invites proposals to its twelfth annual international conference to be held at Cleveland State University and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame from June 5-6, 2020. We welcome proposals that examine the theoretical and practical implications of pre-existing music in a variety of screen media—with special emphasis on cinema, music videos, and digital technologies. We encourage scholarship from a wide range of interdisciplinary approaches—musicology, film studies, ludomusicology, composition, etc. Conference topics may include:

• The definition of pre-existing music in screen media; What is pre-existing music? What are the specific characteristics of pre-existing music?
• Pre-existing music and socio-cultural representations in cinema
• Pre-existing music, cultural coding and “recodification” in specific cinematic contexts
• Pre-existing music and intertextuality
• Re-appropriation of pre-existing music in screen media
• Pre-existing classical, jazz, and popular music in screen media
• Pre-existing music in video games and non-fictional cinema (documentary films, television)
• Pre-existing music vs. commissioned music
• Pre-existing music and auteur cinema
• Licensing of pre-existing music for film, television and other media.
• Pre-existing music, post-existing music and cinematic listening

Keynote speakers are Carol Vernallis (Stanford University) and James Buhler (University of Texas at Austin).

Deadline: Wednesday March 1, 2020. Participants will be notified by March 15, 2020.

Each speaker will have 20 minutes for the paper plus 10 minutes for discussion.
Please include as pdf or Word file: an abstract of no more than 250 words, a biographical note of no more than 150 words, contact details including academic affiliation, if applicable, and any technological requirements that exceed the standard. A projector, stereo and internet access will be provided.

Please send proposals to: Ewelina Boczkowska (eboczkowska@ysu.edu).

The program conference committee consists of:

Carol Vernallis, Stanford University
James Buhler, University of Texas at Austin
Chloé Huvet, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon
Tobias Pontara, Gothenburg University
Emile Wennekes, Utrecht University (chair of MaM)
Ewelina Boczkowska, Youngstown State University (co-organizer)
Jason Hanley, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (co-organizer)
Michael Baumgartner, Cleveland State University (co-organizer)

Call for Book Chapters


Call for Book Chapters
Scoring Laughs.
Styles and Functions of Music in Comedy Cinema

Edited by Emile Wennekes and Emilio Audissino

Historically, the examination and theorisation of the use of music in films has addressed its presence in dramas – ‘serious’ films – while fewer accounts are available on what types of music is utilised in comedies and what functions it performs. As Hollywood cinema has been the benchmark and principal terrain of inquiry, this factual unbalance can be partly due to the scarce presence of music in the classical Hollywood comedies – for example, the iconic 1930s screewballs – compared to the fantasy/adventure/drama films of the same era, in which the fathers of Hollywood music – Steiner, Korngold, Newman… – thrived and set the foundations of the practice, and from which the first film-music scholars launched the discipline. The lack of scholarly attention, can also be due to the fact that comedies, having to deal with laughter and lighter situations instead of the graver and more existentially compelling narratives of dramas, have been seen as less reputable objects of study, less worthy of being taken seriously by academics – a point raised by Brett Mills in his monograph on the sitcom (Mills 2008). Recent analyses of the music’s agency in cinema in general have, as per tradition, preferred dramas – for example, Audissino 2017 and Lehman 2018 – while comedy is taken into consideration mostly in focussed publications – for example, Lochner 2018 or Evans & Hayward 2016. This collection of essays aims at investigating the presence, nature, and function of music in the comedy film from fresh perspectives, in order to contribute to a re-evaluation of film-music studies by casting more light on the more neglected comedic department.

By the term ‘comedy’, this book adopts a wide definition, welcoming contributions ranging from farce, slapstick and physical comedy, absurdist comedy, parodies, rom-com, to dark-humoured dramedies. The music addressed is equally non-discriminative in terms of genre, style, pre- or newly composed. The book’s focus is on cinematic comedy, thus excluding comedy for television – given the recent contribution on this area (Giuffre & Hayward 2017) – and it is focussed on music, not on sound/sound design more generally. The book, also because of its Film Studies/Musicology editorial duo, aims at adopting an interdisciplinary approach. Three overarching and interwoven questions are subtended to its general design:

1) What cinematic devices produce humour?
2) What musical devices produce humour?
3) In what ways do musical and cinematic devices interact within film comedy?

Ideally, contributions are encouraged to consider all three aspects in their reciprocal interaction. Yet, chapters are also sought that engage specifically in questions of music theory and analysis, addressing primarily the second question or more film-studies-oriented chapters that tackle the other two combined questions – What cinematic devices produce humour and how musical and cinematic devices can interact in producing film comedy?

The book aims at covering two main areas, ‘Taxonomies and Theories’ and ‘Case Studies.’ In the former, contributions are welcomed that address how music can employ its devices to (a) depict humour and the comic (e.g., the use of pizzicato strings, syncopated rhythm, timbres and colours like those of the bassoon and the tuba, the orchestra’s ‘clowns’, or the use of unusual instruments, scored surprises, parody, etc.) or (b) how music creates humour and the comic by teaming up with the cinematic devices (for example, the use of ‘serious’ repertoire or original music combined with editing to create comic effects, as in Kubrick’s sardonic use of ‘We’ll Meet Again’ at the end of Dr. Strangelove, or the quotation of the Jaws theme in the fake-excrement scene in Caddyshack). In the ‘Case Studies’ section, contributions are encouraged to focus the analysis on exemplary films, composers, or directors, as well as the use of music in national cinemas other than Hollywood, to provide a much welcome international outlook.

Indicative areas and topics are the following (though they are not limited to these):

– Comedy film composers (e.g. Elmer Bernstein, Theodore Shapiro, John Morris, Mark Shaiman…)
– Non-comedy film composers writing for comedy (e.g. Jerry Goldsmith or Hans Zimmer)
– Case studies of single films
– Music and the theories of Humour (Superiority Theory, Release Theory, Incongruity Theory, Cue Theory…)
– Psychomusicology and humour in film music
– The musical depiction of the Comic and Humour: how musical structures convey humour
– ‘Serious’ music for comic effects
– Repertoire music, affiliating identification, and comical effects
– Cartoon music
– Involuntary comical music (e.g., today’s perception of the classical Mickey-Mousing in dramas)
– Musical parody and film parody
– Pop music and comedy
– Comic music in musicals
– National music, national cinemas, national comedies
– Monty Python and music (and songs)
– Music in Mel Brooks’s cinema
– Music and the Marx Brothers
– Music in the films of Louis De Funès
– Music in the films of Totò
– Music in the Carry On… films
– Comedy Italian-style and music
– Music in the films by Álex de la Iglesia
– Music in the Fantozzi film cycle
– Historical pastiche in Rustichelli’s music for L’armata Brancaleone
– Music in the films by John Landis
– Laurel and Hardy and music (songs)
– The use of original comic songs (e.g., Monty Python’s ‘Penis Song’)
– Music and the rom-com
– …

Palgrave MacMillan has expressed a strong interest for the project, which will be featured in their series ‘Palgrave Studies in Audiovisual Culture’ (Series Editor, K. J. Donnelly). We are preparing a formal book proposal, and we are now looking for submissions in the form of 300-word abstract. The final chapters should have a length in-between 5,000/6,000 words.

– Deadline for abstract submission: 1 November 2019.

– Communication of selected contributors: 31 December 2019.

– Delivery of the first draft: 1 September 2020.

– Communication of editorial reviews: 1 November 2020.

– Deadline for final draft: 31 December 2020.

– Publication is projected in Autumn 2021.
Please send your 300-word abstract (also indicating an estimate of the number of illustrations/figures you would plan to include, if any) plus a 150-word bio to both e.wennekes@uu.nl and emilio.audissino@soton.ac.uk by 1 November 2019.

Editors’ Biographies

EMILE WENNEKES: Prof. dr. Emile Wennekes is Chair Professor of Musicology: Music and Media at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. He has written on a broad range of subjects, including a co-published book on contemporary Dutch music available in six languages. His work has been published, among others, by Oxford University Press, Routledge, Michigan University Press, and Brepols. Most recently, he edited the volume Cinema Changes: Incorporation of Jazz in the Film Soundtrack (Brepols 2019) together with Emilio Audissino. Wennekes founded and chairs the Study Group Music and Media (MaM) under the auspices of the International Musicological Society. He coordinates its annual conferences.
EMILIO AUDISSINO: A film scholar and a film musicologist, Emilio Audissino (University of Southampton) holds one PhD in History of Visual and Performing Arts and one PhD in Film Studies. He specialises in Hollywood and Italian cinema, and his interests are film analysis, screenwriting, film style and technique, comedy, horror, and film sound and music. Notably, he is the author of John Williams’s Film Music (University of Wisconsin Press, 2014), the first book-length study in English on the composer, and Film/Music Analysis (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017), a method for audiovisual analysis that blends Neoformalism and Gestalt Psychology. He is also an active and award-winning screenwriter.

Audissino, Emilio. 2017. Film/Music Analysis. A Film Studies Approach. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

Evans, Mark and Hayward, Philip (eds.). 2016. Sounding Funny: Sound and Comedy Cinema. Sheffield: Equinox Publishing.

Giuffre, Liz and Hayward, Philip (eds.). 2017. Music in Comedy Television: Notes on Laughs. Abingdon/New York: Routledge.

Lehman, Frank. 2018. Hollywood Harmonies. Musical Wonder and the Sound of Cinema. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.

Lockner, Jim. 2018. The Music of Charlie Chaplin. Jefferson NC: McFarland & Company.

Mills, Brett. 2009. The Sitcom. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

call for papers MaM 2019: Sounds of Mass Media

Eleventh meeting of the IMS Study Group Music and Media (MaM) in Växjö, Sweden, June 7 – 9 2019
Call for papers: Sounds of Mass Media: Music in Journalism and Propaganda

The past decade has seen a growing scholarly interest in questions relating to music’s role and function in propaganda contexts. Music has a long history in serving the representation of tyrants and in legitimizing totalitarian regimes. For example, throughout the 20th century, composers, musicians and music writers in many countries delivered works, made recordings and participated in concerts that were used for hailing, consolidating and advancing non-democratic political systems and ideologies. Facts and fiction were blended in these efforts to strengthen the ruling political power, especially in conflict situations such as during the anniversary celebrations of the October Revolution in the Soviet Union.
Music that appears in journalist contexts has not been in the focus of research yet. What matters in this context is that it shares features with propaganda music. Music in propaganda and journalism can serve both educational and demagogic policies and functions. It is this border area between information and disinformation of the masses that the eleventh MaM meeting aims to explore and which can, for instance, be detected when analyzing the music on newsreel soundtracks of the 1930s and ‘40s, in TV reports about war and conflict in the 90s or in documentaries about and produced by the political far right of the 2010s. The degree of truthfulness in audio-visual journalism is sometimes difficult, if not impossible, to determine when looking at the so-called infotainment journalism. Journalist segments can be – or appear to be – biased, involuntarily or voluntarily. The presentation of facts in journalism can become partisan or manipulative and in these contexts, music plays a crucial role.

The recent thirty years have seen a quantitative rise in the use of music in journalist formats on radio, TV and the web. As a matter of fact, music has been a part of journalism from the onset of the audio and audio-visual mass media as of the 1910s, for instance, in the newsreel. Moreover, the design of journalism and propaganda have intersected on many occasions. Mass media propaganda, for instance, in the film, relied – and still relies – on employing music. However, the contemporary scholarly community (journalism research, media- and communication scholars, musicologists, film music scholars, etc.) has paid scant attention to music in journalistic and propaganda contexts. Only a handful of research publications about this topic exist to date. Given the recent and ongoing rise of music use in journalism and propaganda, a discussion about the implications of music in non-fictional contexts is due.

We invite speakers to present their research concerning the use of music for journalist or propaganda purposes. Their presentations may focus on – but don’t have to be restricted to – music in journalism and propaganda employing mass media including print media, radio, TV, documentary film, festivals, music theater, political rallies, social media and the web in general, computer games, relevant to both historical and actual examples. Intermedial and multimodal approaches are particularly encouraged. Theoretical frameworks may be taken from musicology, as well as from critical theory, semiotics, cultural studies, discourse analysis, gender studies, postcolonial studies, film and communication studies, journalism, tv and media studies, linguistics, music iconography and the like, and may be employed for presenting and discussing topics including the following (or related to these):

– the creation of mass media music
– the political backgrounds of music in journalism and propaganda
– mass media music in the 20th and 21st-centuries and their historical models
– the impact of music in journalism and propaganda on audiences
– the shape and form of mass media music in informational contexts
– interferences of music and journalist texts
– music in documentaries
– music in journalist and pseudo-journalist videos on the web
– film and popular music in relation to mass media music in non-fictional contexts
– music as a bias of facts
– music in the media landscape of the post-truth era
– the manipulative potentials of music
– clashes of journalist ethics and non-verbal communication through music
– music and sound in journalism
– the impact of music on listeners in information films and radio segments
– music genres and styles in journalism and propaganda
– music migrating between feature film, computer game and journalism
– music advertising for politics and/or ideologies
– music in political campaigns, rhetoric and speeches
– music and utopianism in propaganda contexts

Each speaker will have 20 minutes for the paper plus 10 minutes for discussion. Please include as pdf or Word file: an abstract of no more than 250 words, a biographical note of no more than 150 words, contact details including academic affiliation, if applicable, and any technological requirements that exceed the standard. A projector, stereo and internet access will be provided.
Proposals must be sent to: martin.knust@lnu.se

The keynote speaker is Dr. Emilio Audissino (University of Southampton).

The conference committee is:

Dr. Tobias Pontara, Gothenburg University
Dr. Tobias Plebuch, Uppsala University
Prof. Ulrik Volgsten, Örebro University
Dr. Martin Knust, Linnæus University Växjö
Prof. Emile Wennekes, Utrecht University / chair of MaM
The conference will take place at the Linnæus University Växjö (LNU) from June 7 to 9, 2019, and will be hosted by the Linnaeus University Center for Intermedial and Multimodal Studies (IMS). We invite potential speakers to submit their proposals before March 15. The committee will notify you concerning the acceptance of your paper by the end of March.

MaM X Salamanca June 14, 2018

10th Meeting International Musicological Society Music and Media Study Group [IMS-MAM]
in collaboration with


Salamanca, 13 -16 June 2018
Facultad de Geografía e Historia (Universidad de Salamanca)

All MaM presentations will take place on Thursday 14 June.

10:45–12:15. Sesiones paralelas: IMS Music and Media Study Group-Documentaries and feature films (Salón de Actos). Coordina: Prof. Dra. Matilde Olarte Martínez (University of Salamanca).
Mesas de ponencias:
¥ Opening: A decade of MaM (Emile Wennekes, Chair MaM.)
¥ Music, Temporality and the Hyperreal in Recent Documentary Films by Adam Curtis (Jeremy Barham, Surrey University, Guildford).
¥ Musical metaphors of time in the documentaries by A. Sokurov: On the example of Spiritual Voices (Nataliya Kononenko, State Institute for Art Studies, Moscow).
¥ The Other Face of Takemitsu: Alienation, Interculturalism, and Modernism in the Japanese New Wave (Jasper van den Bergh, Utrecht University.)

12:15 – 12:30 – Coffee break

12:30-14:00. Sesiones paralelas: MaM- Music, politics and commercials (Salón de Actos). Coordina: Prof. Dr. Michael Saffle (Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, EEUU).
Mesas de ponencias:
¥ Past versus Future: the influence of the media in the preservation of the musical status quo during early Francoism (1945-1956) (Alberto Caparrós Álvarez, Universidad Complutense de Madrid).
¥ “We’ve Got a Taste for You”: From a 1985 Coke to coffee in Seattle, Spotify playlists, and why the musical canon matters to brands (Marc Ernesti, The Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam).
¥ What’s opera doc? On the uses of opera in audiovisual commercials in the internet age (Paula Gomes-Ribeiro, CESEM – Research Center on the Sociology and Aesthetics of Music, NOVA University of Lisbon).

Sesión de Tarde

16:00-17:30. Sesiones paralelas: MaM – Small screen audiences (Salón de Actos). Coordina: Dr. Emilio Audissino (University of Southampton).
Mesas de ponencias:
¥ When audio and immersion (freely) collides: on sound and mods for The Elder Scrolls in the Nexus Mods platform (Joana Freitas, CESEM – Research Center on the Sociology and Aesthetics of Music, NOVA University of Lisbon).
¥ Creating Big-Screen Audiences through Small-Screen Appeals: Music and Sound in Television Spots (James Deaville, Carleton University, Ottawa).
¥ For Whom Does The Orchestra Play? Audiences On And Off Screen In Filmed Music (Gaia Varon, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan).

17:30 – 18:00 – Coffee break.

18:00–20:30. Sesiones paralelas: MaM – Methodologies (Salón de Actos). Coordina: Prof. Dr. James Deaville (Carleton University, Ottawa)
Mesas de ponencias:
¥ Moment, Number, Song: Theoretical and methodological approaches to read musical numbers (Claus Tieber, University of Salzburg).
¥ The Agency of Music in Audiovisual Artefacts: A Gestalt-based Approach (Emilio Audissino, University of Southampton).
¥ Film music analysis: A syndiegetic Approach? (Emile Wennekes, Utrecht University).
¥ Teaching Film Soundtracks the Topical Way: Musical Traditions and their (Re)presentations in Courses on Music and Film (Michael Saffle, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg).

Call for Papers 10th MaM meeting (Salamanca, June 2018)

IMS Study Group “Music and Media” (MaM) and University of Salamanca

Location: University of Salamanca, Spain

Dates: 13-16 June 2018

Call for papers:
The 10th annual conference of the IMS study group “Music and Media” (MaM) will be held in Salamanca, Spain, concurring with the 11th edition of the international symposium La Creación Musical en la Banda Sonora. Both gatherings are part of the University of Salamanca’s 800-year celebration.

Academics, practitioners, and postgraduate students are invited to submit papers and/or panel proposals on the following areas of interest, including (but not limited to):

2009-2018: a decade of studying the interaction between music and media – retrospectives & perspectives;
music and documentary film;
streaming media soundtracks;
new methodologies for studying soundtracks in all audiovisual media.

Proposals for 20 minute long papers in English are welcomed. Each submission should include the following information: author(s) name(s), academic affiliation(s), e-mail address(es), title of presentation, abstract (300 words max.), (a) short CV(s) and a list of technological requirements (overhead, powerpoint, etc).

All proposals must be submitted by 20 March, 2018 to e.wennekes [AT] uu.nl

Program committee:
Emilio Audissino (University of Southampton), James Deaville (Carleton University), Matilde Olarte Martínez (University of Salamanca), Michael Saffle (Virginia Tech), Emile Wennekes (Utrecht University).


Annual Report Study Group Music & Media (MaM), 2016

In 2016, Study Group MaM organized its annual meeting as part of the program of the larger IMS conference in Stavanger, Norway. The topic of the conference was Music as Art, Artefact and Fact: Music Research in the 21th Century and took place at the University of Stavanger, Department of Music and Dance, Bjergsted.


The MaM gathering took place on the afternoon of July 2 and represented the 8th formal meeting of MaM. On this occasion, the session consisted of invited speakers and the gathering’s topic echoed the theme of the Stavanger congress: Music, Media and Play: Some Future Lines of Research.

Five papers were presented by scholars in various stages of their career. Prof. Michael Saffle (Virgina Tech, Blacksburg) presented a case study on play within opera: The OPERAcraft Project. Dr. Floris Schuiling (University of Cambridge / Utrecht University) introduced his new research project on ‘Notation as Interface: From Representation to Mediation’. Prof. James Deaville (Carleton University, Ottawa) handed in a paper on play within video game trailers and the Ottawa Trailerology project. Daniël Steneker MA (Utrecht University) introduced his project on record sleeves ‘Cover Story: Presenting the Classics to New Audiences through the Record Cover’. Prof. Emile Wennekes (Utrecht University) elaborated on his recent case study on ‘Dubbing: Linguistic Game Play’. All papers were amply discussed.

In 2017, the 9th meeting of MaM will take place during the quintennial IMS congress in Tokyo, and will address Music on 1950s American Television.

For its jubilee in 2018, the Study Group will join forces with the University of Salamanca, Spain, which celebrates its 800th anniversary that same year. An open call for papers for this 10th gathering of MaM will be published (here and elsewhere) this coming December.

Prof. Dr. Emile Wennekes,

Chair MaM