Music beyond fixity and fluidity: Preservation and performance as instauration

Activity: Organizing, contributing or attending an eventOrganizing or contributing to an eventAcademic


Music exists in many ways. We listen to its living sounds during performances, technology allows us to record music, music from earlier times is handed down through notations and scores, and we store and revive musical histories in archives and museums. In this interdisciplinary workshop held at the Lorentz Center, we address the problems, developments, and discussions concerning the performance, preservation, and instauration of three musical genres: Western classical orchestral music, improvised and experimental jazz music, and avant-garde electroacoustic music. The leading question of the workshop is how musical works are brought into existence, how they are preserved and performed over time. Thereby, we work from the theoretical and practical assumption that, as Antoine Hennion suggests, the existence of this music is always in the making. Taking his concept of ‘instauration’ as a starting point, we attempt to move beyond the tension between fixity and fluidity by studying music as ‘work to be done’.

The workshop’s format fuses academic scholarly reflection (lectures and discussions) and practice-based work (case-based studio sessions) by bringing together scholars and practitioners of these musical forms. Through merging theoretical reflection with practical exercises, we want to find out what the different musical forms can learn from each other when it comes to the question of how music exists through time. The aim of our workshop is to further develop the concept of ‘instauration’ in order to contribute to new academic research agendas and methods through exploring the practical work that has to be done to ensure the continued existence of musical genres. Moreover, we intend to create a network of international scholars and practitioners to further stimulate exchange and research on the workshop’s key themes. This collaboration will likely result in a variety of outcomes, such as for example an edited volume, a dynamic multimedia archive, a website, or a special issue.
Period12 Sept 202216 Sept 2022
Event typeWorkshop
LocationLeiden, NetherlandsShow on map