International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

Call for papers: 25th symposium of the ICTMD Study Group on Musical Instruments

The 25th symposium of the ICTMD Study Group on Musical Instruments will take place from 9 to 12 April, 2025, at the New York Institute for the Humanities and Social Studies. This year, we hope to have an in-person symposium again with many people coming and staying for some time in this exciting city. We are looking forward to work together face to face.

Our call for papers is going out early enough to allow time to prepare. Please, note that the time period to submit the finalized papers for print in SIMP 9 (that will have been discussed in the Q&A parts by then) after the symposium will be kept extremely short. Also, note that we do not offer the usual topic "New research" as we expect that all submitted proposals will offer new insights. Please submit your abstract only if you are sure that you really wish to attend. Take into account that there might be limited or no funding from your institution. In case of doubt be prepared to pay for all travel expenses yourself. Make sure that you still will attend even in this case. Registration fees will be kept as low as possible. Also, consider your time budget and your willingness to cooperate with a tight publication schedule. The organizing committee as well as the program committee will do their best to help find solutions for all your problems. Please ask!

We invite abstracts for single papers (20 minutes presentation to be followed by 10 minutes discussion), panels of maximum 4 speakers (same conditions per speaker), video presentations (20 minutes video plus 10 minutes discussion) and demo-lectures (60 minutes teaching/training/demonstration followed by 30 minutes exchange). We are encouraging joint research between Study Group members and non-members, musicians and researchers, people of different backgrounds, ages, genders, professions, work places, or interests.

Our two main topics are described below:


This topic integrates different aspects of musical instruments in relation to two different streams: 

  1. Technologies, where musical instruments can be defined through innovations using devices that enable construction and production, but also technologies that are important in the representation and dissemination of music;
  2. Connections of musical instruments that are emerging through artificial intelligence. 

Firstly, musical instruments in relation to recently applied technology could reveal how these technological integrations change musicians' creativity, enable other expressive capabilities, and redefine the boundaries of musical spheres. Additionally, this topic addresses the societal implications of these changes, considering accessibility, inclusivity, and the democratization of music production and ways of consumption.

Secondly, following current driving forces, it is necessary to explore the intersection of traditional musical instruments with cutting-edge technologies and artificial intelligence (AI), closely examining the transformative impact this amalgamation has on musical creation, performance, and the overall musical landscape. This topic delves into the evolution of musical instruments alongside continuously evolving adaptations through technology, analyzing how digital interfaces, sensors, machine learning, and AI algorithms are incorporated into traditional musical instruments or utilized to create entirely new interfaces. Historical and/or geographical parallel studies are welcome.


This topic explores the intricate relationship between musical instruments and public life, which might increasingly take place in urban settings, emphasizing the profound influence these instruments have on shaping the social, cultural, and spatial dynamics of cities and their surroundings, while also investigating the important role musical instruments play in public life. Through a multidimensional prism, encompassing historical, sociological, or anthropological perspectives, thescope of this topic should enlighten us as to how musical instruments transcend their functional purpose to become pivotal agents in defining and enhancing public spaces. By navigating between different aspects of these connections, research should comment on musical instruments' roles in fostering community engagement, facilitating cultural expression, and promoting social cohesion within the fabric they aim at. In this context, immigration and displacement of activities using musical sound production with symbolic or less intentional tools are also key factors to be examined. They can form an independent aspect of your studies or they can be integrated under this umbrella topic.

The investigation into this topic can also define various forms and contexts in which musical instruments manifest within specific environments, from street performances to public events and designated cultural hubs. Ultimately, the proposed research can illuminate the transformative potential of musical instruments in enriching experiences and fostering vibrant, inclusive, and harmonious public realms that go beyond the named experiences.

Please send your paper abstracts (approx. 150-200 words) via email the latest by 31 January 2024 to any, some, or all of the Program Committee members:

LAC will be Rastko Jakovljevic and colleagues: