Understanding Musicality

Musicality, the phenomenon of artistic expression through musical practices, is a complex subject in need of deeper research that effectively integrates an array of scholarly approaches. NNIMIPA, the Nordic Network for Integration of Music Informatics, Performance and Aesthetics will have its one day research planning meeting and mini-symposium “Understanding Musicality” on Friday, the 22nd of June, 2012 in Bergen, Norway.

The NNIMIPA meeting will be held immediately following the “Researching Music Practices” symposium of the Grieg Research School in Interdisciplinary Music Studies (GRS), at which some NNIMIPA members will offer a panel presentation.

More details on the Understanding Musicality meeting of NNIMIPA (including a schedule and program with titles of research presentations) will be posted shortly at the following website:


Japanese and Korean Studies in Norway


The 9th conference of the Nordic Association for Japanese and Korean Studies (NAJAKS) will be held in Bergen, Norway, on August 21-23, 2013.  

Conference theme: Translation, Education and Innovation  

Conference Announcement
In these times of globalization and digitization, the world has become increasingly complex and interconnected. Communication across borders and languages from around the world is now an immense feature of daily life, and the need for cultural, linguistic and translational competence is ever present. Migration, ethnic conflicts and environmental challenges call for new forms of international understanding and cooperation, as well as a constant focus on quality in education and on accommodating innovation across diverse fields. This is especially true for modernized Asian countries like Japan and Korea, which have a great economic and cultural impact on daily life in Europe that is often underappreciated. There is much to be gained from deeper communication and cooperation with East Asia, acknowledging its rich past, impressive present, and promising future.

Call for Papers: Translation, Education and Innovation
For the 2013 Nordic conference on Japanese and Korean studies, we have chosen three key words to which participating scholars are encouraged to thematically link their proposed presentations: "Translation, Education and Innovation". These key words are to be interpreted broadly, intended not to delimit but rather to widen perspectives and inspire interdisciplinary approaches. High quality contributions in the area of Japan and Korea studies that are thematically remote from these topics are nevertheless highly welcome. The NAJAKS Organizing Committee has selected three prominent Keynote Speakers from an array of fields across Japanese Studies and Korean Studies.

Information on Abstract Submissions
The conference will include panel discussions and individual academic paper presentations. We invite abstracts from established researchers, PhD and Masters´ students and other contributors. It is assumed that individual presentations will be in English, but entire panels in Asian or Scandinavian languages may be considered in exceptional cases for which strong interest is convincingly demonstrated. Submitted abstracts will be reviewed by a panel of referees, and those meeting the criteria will be invited to give presentations at the conference. Although NAJAKS naturally emphasizes the work of Nordic scholars, researchers from other parts of the world are also strongly encouraged to submit papers for this conference. We are confident that visitors from throughout the world will find that Bergen is a beautiful location in the summertime and NAJAKS offers an academically stimulating environment. There is no conference fee, however, participants are responsible for their own travel costs and accommodation.

The conference presentations will be organized according to the following categories:
1. Linguistics and Language Teaching
2. Literature and the Arts (e.g. artist biographies, criticism, translations, music, manga, anime)
3. History, Philosophy and Religion
4. Social Sciences (e.g. anthropology, psychology, sociology, economics)
5. Professional/Interdisciplinary Studies (e.g. business, law, medicine, technology)  

Abstracts will be accepted from May 1st 2012 until March 1st 2013. Please submit an abstract (500-800 words) with a brief biography or CV (maximum 1 page) in an e-mail attachment to info@najaks.org. The Organizing Committee will inform applicants of our decisions in April 2013. The Organizing Committee of NAJAKS 2013 are Benedicte M. Irgens (UoB), David Hebert (HiB), and Kristin Rygg (NHH). For any questions that require a rapid reply, please contact Benedicte Irgens at benedicte.irgens@if.uib.no.

Read more about NAJAKS here.


International-Comparative Music Research

Below is the abstract of my keynote speech for the upcoming conference of the Grieg Research School, which is on the theme of research methodologies in music. I think it promises to be a very interesting conference, and I am especially eager to see the presentations by professors David Hargreaves, Marie McCarthy, and Brynjulf Stige.

Grieg Research School in Interdisciplinary Music Studies, Bergen
June 18-20, 2012

Researching Music Practices – Methodological Approaches

Challenges and Opportunities in International-Comparative Music Research

David G. Hebert


The credo “Know Thyself” was advocated by Socrates, but as Ptolemy and others would later recognize, it is only possible to fully know our selves and the ultimate significance of human practices (such as music) through systematic documentation and comparison, which enables the production of robust theories and contextualized, verifiable knowledge. Judicious comparison of diverse practices and contexts is an essential component of theory construction, yet hasty comparisons can also be very misleading. It is, therefore, important to carefully consider the common pitfalls of comparison, and how they may be avoided, as we interpret and design international-comparative studies to develop new advancements in musical knowledge.

In this presentation, I will use anecdotes from personal experience to illustrate various aspects of international-comparative music research, including its distinctive prospects, characteristic methodologies, and contemporary theories, as well as potential risks and benefits associated with the application of its findings in such fields as ethnomusicology, music education, and performance science. Specifically, I will demonstrate issues in the representation of sociocultural differences, and how a comparative lens can produce practical insights, particularly through examination of performance techniques, music institutionalization and arts policy, and global norm making. A deeper understanding of such issues may help shape a research agenda toward pioneering findings and actionable outcomes, enabling others to increasingly recognize music’s value and utilize its power in positive ways for an improved quality of life. 


Music History and Contrasting Reviews

Below is a link to a well-written book review by ethnomusicologist Travis Stimeling. In this thorough and balanced review, Dr. Stimeling appears to have the admirable agenda of informing readers about the unique insights to be found in a newly published book, which is what academic book reviews are supposed to be all about.

Further below is a link to a highly unusual and contrasting review of the very same book, followed by links to articles intended to help correct the bias of both that surprising review and the provocative chapter its author singled out as especially “inspiring”. Compare carefully to notice the important differences.

For a variety of reasons (some of which are legitimate), editors of scholarly publications do not always manage to wield the power they should hold to ensure that academic writers and reviewers meet basic standards of fairness. However, with the passage of time a clearer picture still tends to emerge, at least among those who read widely and carefully, reserving judgment until sufficient data have been presented.  

NOTE: The links listed below can be a bit slow to load.

-Click HERE to see Travis Stimeling’s review of De-Canonizing Music History in the Journal of Music History Pedagogy, vol. 2, no. 2 (2012).

-Click HERE to see Petter Dyndahl’s book review on pp. 107-108 of the Finnish Journal of Music Education, vol. 13, no. 1 (2010).

-Click HERE to see Thomas Regelski’s “Reply to Petter Dyndahl’s Book Review of De-Canonizing Music History” on p.82 of the Finnish Journal of Music Education, vol. 13, no. 2 (2010). NOTE: This reportedly was Regelski’s final contribution to FJME.

-Click HERE to see Thomas Regelski’s “Correcting MayDay Group History” on the MayDay Group website (2010).

-Click HERE to see an announcement for the book De-Canonizing Music History.