Melb2014 - Musicological Society of Australia


37th National Conference of the MSA

The Charisma of Dissonance



29 Nov - 2 Dec 2014

Wyselaskie Auditorium and CTM Lecture Rooms

29 College Crescent Parkville, Melbourne Australia

Convenor: Christine Mercer

Plenary Speakers

Vincent Plush

John Griffiths

Bruce Johnson

Dissonance is integral to human experience. Awesome, beautiful, and terrifying, it occurs in nature in the form of thunderstorms, tsunamis, and earth tremors - and music is created in their honour. At the root of communal human tragedies, dissonance leads to war, bloody revolution, and terrorism, and music is performed for relief. Soul destroying and depressive, dissonance occurs in interpersonal relationships through intimidation, unrequited love, and death, and music is received as cathartic. Vicariously we are charmed by the theatrical villain whose dissonant behaviour encapsulates an intoxicating freedom that resonates with the ego. Although typically considered undesirable - something to avoid, escape or be freed from without dissonance there is no contrasting time of peace or joy. No need for music. From acts of dissonance arise creative solutions, new technologies, new sounds, and new ways of being. Without dissonance there can be no heroes and no history to record or analyse. An essential component of musical creation, as both sound object and programme material, the charisma of dissonance is inescapable.

Individual papers which address this theme have been warmly welcomed; however, papers on other topics of current research were also invited. In the centennial year of the commencement of World War I several consecutive sessions will be devoted to the musical responses, outcomes and products of a war that has historically albeit controversially been described as "Great", and thus constitutes a quintessential expression of the charisma of dissonance.

Organising Committee

Chiara Minestrelli (Team Leader)

John Garzoli (Concerts)

Stephanie Rocke (Chair)

Anthea Skinner



Bengal Renaissance

Charisma Clarinet Trio

Crip the Light Fantastic

Men in Suits

Nava Ensemble

Program Committee

Linda Kouvaras

David Larkin

Christine Mercer

Jonathan McIntosh

Melanie Plesch

Stephanie Rocke (Chair)

Shirley Trembath

Julie Waters

Paul Watt