41st MSA Conference – WA 2018 “Through the Looking Glass”

6-9 December 2018, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts

The 41st MSA Conference will be held in conjunction with the 17th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance and the ACMC 2018 (Australasian Computer Music Association) via a single abstract submission form, and registration. Delegates will be expected to be a member of the MSA or ACMA.

Overarching MSA Conference Theme

The function of art has been considered a kind of mirroring, wherein art reflects the world (imitation for Aristotle; and a mirror revealing the world’s virtues and flaws for Donatus, Cicero, and Hamlet). But like the various types of glass, music (or musicology) can reflect, colour, or distort meaning in a variety of ways. As suggested by the author of Corinthians, our perception can be clouded, such that we see as through a glass darkly. And sometimes, like Alice’s fantastical wonderland, music not only holds up a mirror to society, but reveals something magical.

Delegates to the 2018 MSA National Conference are invited to consider how the theme of through the looking glass might apply to music and/or musicology. In what ways can music embed a deeper meaning hidden below the mirrored surface? To what extent do musicological paradigms reveal or distort our perceptions of music and its significations?

Topics related to this theme might include:

  • Music reflecting lived experience;
  • Music reflecting and/or subverting contemporaneous culture/s or politics;
  • Explorations of subjectivities and potential distortions inherent within musicological or analytical paradigms;
  • Investigations of the conjectural nature of musicological knowledge (from HIP studies, to artistic research in music, or other specialised areas);
  • Post-modern deconstructions or ‘readings’ of musical works;
  • Considerations of the mysterious nature of music’s power or its social functions, including ethnomusicological studies;
  • The darkness of colonial histories;
  • Eco-musicology, music mirroring nature (or vice versa).

The 17th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance

The 17th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance will be held in association with the 41st MSA National Conference in Perth at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University, on 6-9 December 2018. The Symposium will be convened by Aaron Corn and Clint Bracknell.

Reflecting this Conference’s overarching theme, the Symposium invites proposals for presentations that explore mystery and power in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander song. While Indigenous song is frequently described as powerful, the nature of this power can be elusive and unquantifiable. Today, many songs themselves are elusive, and unable to be heard outside of archival recordings, if at all. In this context, presentations may seek to address broad questions including:

  • Is mystery integral to a song’s power and, if so, how?
  • As song traditions become increasingly endangered, do songs become more or less powerful?
  • With few records or singers, how much can we really know about critically-endangered song traditions?
  • How can we, as individuals and communities involved in music revitalisation, be sure that we are engaging appropriately with old songs that may hold unknown power?
  • How can technology be leveraged to support the maintenance of mystery in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander songs?

Abstracts are to be submitted via the MSA abstract submission form below, subject to the same deadline. If relevant, please be sure to tick the box indicating that your abstract is to be considered for the 17th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance.

Key Note Speakers

Daniel Leech-Wilkinson (Emeritus Professor, King’s College London)

Clint Bracknell (Associate Dean, Indigenous Services and Strategy, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, The University of Sydney)

Manuella Blackburn (Electroacoustic music composer, Liverpool Hope University)

Geoffrey Lancaster (Professor of Early Keyboard, WA Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University)

Sally Treloyn (ARC Future Fellow and Senior Research Fellow, The University of Melbourne)


  • “New Directions in Jazz,” directed by Jamie Oehlers.
  • The Music of Manuella Blackburn
  • “Historic Piano Showcase,” directed by Stewart Smith and Geoffrey Lancaster

Planning Committee

  • Jonathan Paget [Convenor] (WAAPA),
  • Stewart Smith (WAAPA),
  • Helen Rusak (WAAPA),
  • Victoria Rogers (WAAPA),
  • Cecilia Sun (UWA Con),
  • Nicholas Bannan (UWA Con),
  • Sarah Collins (UWA Con)

ACMC (Australasian Computer Music Association) 2018

The Conference of the Australasian Computer Music Association will hold its annual conference in conjunction with 41st MSA Conference 6-9 December 2018 at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University. The Association invites composers/sound artists, performers, academics, engineers, and technologists to present research and creative works on all aspects of electronic music, but especially work relevant to the conference theme Reflecting Worlds: The Promise and Limitations of Mimesis in Electronic Music. The conference theme encourages – but is not limited to – papers addressing the following sub- themes:

  • computer music performance practices
  • computational analysis and digital musicology
  • digital signal processing
  • digital scores, score delivery, and notation
  • sound design and sound recording
  • development of computer music software
  • telematic and internet-based performance
  • web-development for streaming audio and multimedia
  • AI in composition and performance
  • sonic analysis-resynthesis

Papers and presentations may be in any of the categories outlined below, including creative works (ACMC only).Abstracts of up to 250 words to be submitted via the MSA abstract submission form below, subject to the same deadline. If relevant, please be sure to tick the box noting your intention for your paper to be considered for ACMC 2018. Note that the inclusion of creative work is encouraged as a means of research reporting. Stereo playback, and data projection facilities will be made available to all presenters.
Creative Work (ACMC only)

ACMC also invites the submission of creative works for inclusion in concerts or a multi-channel listening room. Both the concert venue and listening room will be equipped with 8 channel surround systems. This may include multi-channel electroacoustic live performances, interactive and/or fixed media, or installations. Creative works are submitted via the same online abstract submission process. Please be sure to provide a link to the creative work (or supporting material) within the body of the abstract.Guidelines for submission of full papers (subsequent to abstract acceptance)

A double-blind refereed conference proceedings will also be produced in advance of the conference. On acceptance to ACMC 2018 (on the submission of an abstract), authors will be invited to submit a full paper for consideration in the proceedings. Papers will be due by Friday 14 September 2018, emailing them to Lindsay Vickery (l.vickery@ecu.edu.au). Guidelines for authors are shown here. Please download ACMC paper templates here.

Proposal Submissions

Submissions are now closed