International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

4th Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Multipart Music

  • Dates: 4‑7 July 2016
  • PLACE: Singapore.
  • LANGUAGE: English.

Programme CommitteeArdian 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 musicality more 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.

2. 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?

3. 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 educationover 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.