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Edited Collection: Singing Death
full name / name of organization:
Helen Hickey, Helen Dell/ University of Melbourne, Australia
The editors are in preliminary negotiations with Ashgate Press for a collection of essays provisionally entitled ‘Singing Death’ and we would like to invite chapter proposals for this project. ‘Singing Death’ arises out of a day-long symposium and concert combined, generously supported by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions. This took place at the University of Melbourne, 17th August, 2013: http://www.historyofemotions.org.au/media/89722/singing-death_poster_web...
The program alternated academic papers on the music, art and literature of death with performances of some of the music associated with it. The editors would like to extend the work of the symposium with a collection of essays focussing on death and music. We want to offer readers an encounter with music as a distinct discourse of death, another way of speaking death; the collection will be accompanied by a recording of the music involved with each of its chapters. We aim, most of all, to bring into focus how death figures through music for the living and the dying, how it taps into the experience of all those for whom death comes close.
Death is an unanswerable question for humanity, literally the question that always remains unanswered (although so many answers are offered). It is ‘the question of questions’ as Federico García Lorca put it, since it lies beyond human experience. The music of death represents one of the most profound ways in which, nevertheless, we struggle to accommodate death within the scope of the living by giving a voice to death and the dead. We want the book to engage with the profound disturbance that death presents to the living and how music expresses and/or responds to that disturbance.
The field of enquiry is very broad. We welcome proposals from any intellectual discipline that can engage with the nexus of music and death. Musicological expertise is not essential. Music, like poetry, operates in a different way from ordinary discourse; it acts as well as speaks and it can have profound and complex effects for listeners. We want our collection to address the difference that music, vocal and instrumental, makes to all those confronted with death. We also welcome proposals from those practically involved with the question, for instance music therapists involved in palliative care or grief counselling, or those who organise or perform music associated with death in some way.
Below are some possible topics for research. The list is far from exhaustive, nor is it intended to be exclusive. Each topic could also be subdivided many times:
Proposals should include: