Archive by Author | Yun Emily Wang

Sound at SEM 2013

November 14th through 17th mark the 58th anniversary of the Society of Ethnomusicology’s (SEM) annual meeting, this year at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown in Indianapolis, Indiana. SEM has some pretty big Sound Studies shoes to fill at this summit. Previous events, like the 2012 AMS/SEM/SMT “Megaconference,” featured a pre-conference symposium on ecomusicology, while the 2011 SEM/CORD conference encouraged the use of sound as an “epistemological filter” and invited ruminations on embodied sound(s). After two epic years of sound at SEM this year’s program seems oddly muted. There are far less sound studies panels and events and no organized soundwalks as of yet (Although there is a paper on soundwalks! And stay tuned, as there’s been buzz on the Sound Studies SIG forum).

Some of the sound-specific themes that emerged in previous years will continue to be explored in Indianapolis. There will be a familiar panel on listening as configured both as an epistemology and a mode of musical participation as well as some panels (see “Raising Voices, Reclaiming Spaces” and “Nature, Ecotourism, and Soundscape”) which consider space and the environment through a sonic lens.  In particular, sound in urban environments will receive some special attention in the Sound Studies Special Interest Group-sponsored panel “Auto Sound in the Urban Space: Taipei, São Paulo, Bangkok.” Finally, voice is theorized through a panel on voice and embodiment and the pre-conference symposium on Music and the Global Health.

Since the conference is smaller and there is no explicit theme (such as SEM 2010’s hyper-sonic “sound ecologies”) the discipline might seem to be only marginally engaged with Sound Studies scholarship this year. Perhaps Sound Studies scholarship has simply grown more integrated, or “more diffuse and multivalent,” as a fledgling field. As thinking through sound becomes more common in the methodological toolbox of the ethnomusicologist and as ethnomusicologists begin to acknowledge what sound studies can offer the discipline, sound studies no longer must exist in a vacuum. To this point, a soundscape composition by Shumaila Hemani will be played during the R.L. Stevenson Prize Concert on Friday. If that’s not enough, the newly-launched Sound Matters: the SEM blog reflects a movement to attenuate distinctions between sound and music.  So while there may be fewer papers on sound, this is a good thing at the conference for music scholarship. After all, ethnomusicologists have been concerned with sound since Merriam’s tripartite sound-behavior-concept model and we aren’t stopping anytime soon.

Please comment to let SO! know what you think–both before and after SEM 2013.  If we somehow missed you or your panel in this round up, please let us know!:

Yun Emily Wang is a PhD student in Ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto, where her project explores how people living in diaspora make meaning through listening to sounds of music, speech, and everyday life. 

Famous Indianapolis Nightspot, The Slippery Noodle Inn, Image by Sean Molin, 2009

Famous Indianapolis Nightspot, The Slippery Noodle Inn, Image by Sean Molin, 2009

Jump to THURSDAY, November 14
Jump to FRIDAY, November 15
Jump to SATURDAY, November 16
Jump to SUNDAY, November 17

Thursday, November 14


IC Music, Emotion and Trance, Indiana Ballroom A-B

Chair: Ruth Stone, Indiana University

“Axé, Vibration, and Religious Work: Conceptualizing Musical Contributions to Batuque and Umbanda Religions in Southern Brazil
,” Marc Gidal, Ramapo College of New Jersey

“Mhongo’s Moving Meanings: Semiotics, Spirituality, and the Emotional”

“Possibilities of Ndau Drumming of Zimbabwe,” Tony Perman, Grinnell College

“Tears, Anger, and Their Dangers: Investigating the Emotional Effects of Sung Poetry in the Gojjam Highlands of Ethiopia,” Katell Morand, University of Washington

“Crying Is Good for You”: Affective Heart Responses to Vocal Expressions of Sadness and Grief
,” Margarita Mazo, Ohio State University


1F Urban Sound Studies, Santa Fe

Chair: Ricardo Trimillos, University of Hawai‛i at Mānoa

“Singaporean Hinduism: Tamil Drumming, Ethics and Labor in the Air-Conditioned Nation,” Jim Sykes, University of Pennsylvania

“Sound Stories: SOUNDWALK and the Urban Fantasy,” Catherine Provenzano, New York University

“Resilient Sounds, Changing Atmospheres: A Sonic Exploration of the Urban Transformation of the Mouraria Quarter in Lisbon (Portugal),” Inigo Sanchez, Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

“Nonstop to La Raza: Music and Mass Transit in Mexico City,” León. F. García Corona, University of California, Los Angeles



2J Listening, Marriott Ballroom 4

Chair: Jennifer Kyker, Eastman School of Music

“Using Big Data to Examine the Effect of Environment on Listening Habits,” Daniel Shanahan, Ohio State University

“The Promise of Listening: Sound Knowledge among Sufi Muslims in Secular France,” Deborah Kapchan, New York University

“Leisure and Listening in São Paulo’s Aural Public Sphere: The Case of the SESC-SP,” Daniel Gough, University of Chicago



Sound Studies SIG Indiana Ballroom C-D


Ecomusicology Listening Room: Ecocriticism, Popular Music, and the Audiovisual3F Santa Fe Roundtable

Director: Mark Pedelty, University of Minnesota
Chairs: Justin Burton, Rider University, 
Michael Baumgartner, Cleveland State University*Sponsored by Popular Music Section

Laurie Allman, Bell Museum of Natural History of Minnesota
Amanda Belantara, independent artist
Krista Dragomer, independent artist
Craig Eley, Penn State University
Jared Fowler, Los Angeles Harbor College
Rebekah Farrugia, Oakland University
Kellie Hay, Oakland University
Ali Colleen Neff, University of North Carolina and The Baay Fall Order of Mouride Sufi Islam
Peter McMurray, Harvard University
Hannah Lewis, Harvard University


Experimentalism in Latin America, Indiana Ballroom – F  [LIVE VIDEO STREAMING]

Chair: Alejandro Madrid, Cornell University
*Sponsored by Latin American and Caribbean Section

“From Sounds of the Cosmos to Neo-Indigenist Happenings: The Reinvention of Sonido 13, at the End of the 20th Century,” Alejandro Madrid, Cornell University

“Transgressing the Streets of Mexico City: The “Renovative Destruction” of Collective Improvisation,” Ana R Alonso-Minutti, University of New Mexico

“From Tango Nuevo to Avant-Garde: Disenchantment with the Fringes of Music Making,” Eduardo Herrera, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Discussant: Benjamin Piekut, Cornell University


4:00 – 5:30

Technologies and Remixes, Indiana Ballroom – F  [LIVE VIDEO STREAMING]

Chair: Rene Lysloff, University of California, Riverside

“Where Does this Cable Go?: Guitar Amplifiers, Instrumentality, and Sonic Ecology,” David VanderHamm, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

“A Tribe Called Red: Reversing Stereotypes Through Remix,” Christina Giacona, University of Oklahoma 

“Remix<->Culture: A “Fair Trade” Approach to Remixing Field Recordings,” Daniel Sharp, Tulane University


8:00 – 9:30

Religion, Music, and Sound Section, Marriott Ballroom 4


Thursday Individual Papers of Interest

9:00 The Boundaries of Butoh: Sound, Music, and Nation, Kelly Foreman, Wayne State University, 1E Lincoln

11:45 “At Risk Music”: Embedded Nahua Cosmopolitanism, Mexicanness and Soundscapes at El Festival de la Huasteca, Kim Carter Muñoz, University of Washington, 2I

1:45 From Sounds of the Cosmos to Neo-Indigenist Happenings: The Reinvention of Sonido 13 at the End of the 20th Century, Alejandro Madrid, Cornell University, 3A Indiana Ballroom F


Cook Grand Hall; (formerly Central Avenue Methodist-Epsicopal Church) Indianopolis, Indiana Thomas Sanborn, 1892; Goulding & Wood, 2011

Cook Grand Hall; (formerly Central Avenue Methodist-Epsicopal Church) Indianopolis, Indiana Thomas Sanborn, 1892; Goulding & Wood, 2011

Friday, November 15


5G Ethical Listening and the Ethics of Listening: Musical Aesthetics, Style, and Public Piety in Contemporary Morocco, Mariott Ballroom 1

Chair: Christopher Witulski, University of Florida

“The Beautiful Voice Will Bring Them Home: Sufi Devotional Music and the Creation of Islamic Subjectivities,” 
Philip Murphy, Jr., University of California, Santa Barbara

“Jedba for the Nation: Embodied Listening and the Ethics of Politics in Moroccan Hip Hop,” 
Kendra Salois, University of Maryland

“Ritual and Entertainment: Permeable Ethics and Aesthetics at the Pilgrimage at Sidi Ali Morocco,” 
Christopher Witulski, University of Florida

Discussant: Philip Schuyler, University of Washington


10:45 am – 12:15 pm 

SEM President’s Roundtable: “Phenomenological Approaches to Ethnomusicology and the Study of Expressive Culture, Mariot Ballroom 5

Chair: Harris M. Berger, Texas A&M University   [LIVE VIDEO STREAMING]

Deborah Justice, Yale University
Deborah Kapchan, New York University
Matt Rahaim, University of Minnesota
Timothy Rice, University of California, Los Angeles
Ruth Stone, Indiana University
Jeff Todd Titon, Brown University
Deborah Wong, University of California, Riverside



7C Raising Voices, Reclaiming Spaces: Antinuclear Soundscapes in Contemporary Japan and Korea, Indiana Ballroom G

Chair: Noriko Manabe, Princeton University
*Sponsored by Popular Music Section, Japanese Music Special Interest Group, and Society for Asian Music

“The Spaces We’ll Go: The Evolving Roles of Music in Antinuclear Demonstrations and Concerts in Post-Fukushima Japan,” 
Noriko Manabe, Princeton University

“Sounding Against Nuclear Power in Post-Tsunami Japan,” Marie Abe, Boston University

“Project Fukushima! Music, Sound, Noise, and the Public Perception of Nuclear Power in Post-3.11 Japan,” David Novak, University of California, Santa Barbara

“Songs of Complaint and Speeches of Protest in a Grassroots Movement of South Korean Radiation Sufferers,” Joshua Pilzer, University of Toronto



8D Sounding the Homeland, Indiana Ballroom C-D

Chair: R. Anderson Sutton, University of Hawai‛i at Mānoa

“The Sounds of a Dynamic Korea,” Katherine Lee, University of California, Davis

“‘This is the Music of Contemporary China’s Ethnic Unity’: Sounding Configurations of Difference in Postsocialist China,”Adam Kielman, Columbia University

“Sonic Expressions of Home and Returning in the Chinese Diaspora of Toronto,” Yun Emily Wang, University of Toronto


8F Auto Sound in the Urban Space: Taipei, São Paulo, Bangkok, 8F Sante Fe

Chair: Leonardo Cardoso, University of Texas at Austin *Sponsored by Sound Studies Special Interest Group

“Sound-politics in São Paulo, Brazil: Youth and “Pancadões,” Leonardo Cardoso, University of Texas at Austin

“Filtered Soundscapes: The Translation of Sound into Urban Noise in Taipei, Taiwan,” 
Jennifer Chia-Lynn Hsieh, Stanford University

“Audiophilia, Ideology, and the Automobile: Sound Installation Garages in Bangkok,” 
Benjamin Tausig, New York University

Discussant (and questions/comments), David Novak, University of California, Santa Barbara



Stevenson Prize Concert with SEM Orchestra

Indiana Ballroom E

Friday Individual Papers of Interest

9:30 “Build Your Own Plague: Biological Modeling, Sound Technologies, and Experimental Musical Instruments,” Lauren Flood, Columbia University


Image by Flickr User tstrayer76

Image by Flickr User tstrayer76


Saturday November 16, 2013


10A Indigenous Movement, Sound Activism, Indiana Ballroom F [LIVE VIDEO STREAMING]

Chair: Dylan Robinson, Royal Holloway, University of London *Sponsored by Indigenous Music Special Interest Group

“The Sensory Politics of Hope and Shame: Being Idle No More,” Dylan Robinson, Royal Holloway, University of London

“The Round Dance as Spiritual and Political Vortex,” Elyse Carter Vosen, The College Of St Scholastica

“Ear Cleaning and Throat Clearing: Aurality and Indigenous Activism in Canada,” Lee Veeraraghavan, University of Pennsylvania


10C Nature, Ecotourism, and Soundscape
, Indiana Ballroom A-B

Chair: Jennifer Post, University of Western Australia

“Parks as Musical Playgrounds: Co-Performance, Ecotourism, and the Sonic Geographies of National Parks Arts Initiatives,” Kate Galloway, Memorial University

“Thoreau’s Ear,” Jeff Titon, Brown University

“Walking to Tsuglagkhang: Exploring the Function of a Tibetan Soundscape in Northern India,” Danielle Adomaitis, independent scholar

Indianapolis Children's Choir, 2007, Image by the Indiana Public Media

Indianapolis Children’s Choir, 2007, Image by the Indiana Public Media

Sunday, November 17


11F Inside Voice/Outside Voice: Disjunctures of Embodiment in Singing, Santa Fe

Chair: Katherine Meizel, Bowling Green State University *Sponsored by Voice Studies Special Interest Group

“Familiar Voices in Unexpected Bodies: New Dimensions of Celebrity Impersonation,” Katherine Meizel, Bowling Green State University

“‘I Shall Get Home Someday’: Black Countertenors, Bio- Musicality, and Gendered Gospel Performance,”Alisha Jones, University of Chicago

“You Need Equal Measures of Extreme Joy and ‘Don’t Fuck With Me’”: An Embodied Approach to the Ethnography of Singing,” Nadia Chana, University of Chicago

“Unspoken yet Heard: Navigating Outsider/Insider Voice Roles in the Study of Turkish Classical Genres,” Eve McPherson, Kent State University at Trumbull


11H For More than One Field: Ethnomusicology and Voice Studies
, Marriott Ballroom 2

Chair: Gianpaolo Chiriaco, University of Salento *Sponsored by Voice Studies Special Interest Group

Gianpaolo Chiriaco, University of Salento

Amanda Weidman, Bryn Mawr College

Nina Eidsheim, University of California, Los Angeles

Susan Thomas, University of Georgia

Indianapolis's own Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Superproducer

Indianapolis’s own Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Superproducer

Featured Image: “Statue outside 5/3 Bank in Indianapolis,” by Flickr User Kay Schlumpf

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