CFP: Special Journal Issue – “Playing Together, Playing Alone: Music and Connection”

Following from the successful IASPM-ANZ conference held at the Waikato Institute of Technology, Hamilton, in December 2018, we are collating papers for a special journal issue that addresses the theme of Playing Together, Playing Alone: Music and Connection.

Music exists in and connects all aspects of our lives. When we listen to music, it provides us with company through our connection with the artists, performers, and personae (Moore 2012); we feel connected to others when music is part of a ritual or celebration; when we play music together, we are connected to those around us (Turino 2008); drawing on Frith (1996), we connect ourselves to music as a means of playing with and shaping our identities. Further to this, when music is connected with other media, such as film or video games, we open up the possibility of playing with meanings and intertextual references. In this sense, music connects to what Henry Jenkins et al (2005, 2013) refer to as participatory cultures and transmedia storytelling,
At the same time, music disconnects people. If music is a marker of who we are and what we represent, then playing music can disconnect us from those who do not share the same identities. There is also a certain ambivalence in the notion of musical “play” – who gets to play? Who does not? What enables some, and not others, to join the game? What are the rules? And even though it is axiomatic to state that we are more connected than ever through technological advancements, the same technology can distance us – we can now inhabit branded personal silos of musical taste through Spotify and other apps (Morris & Powers 2015); we can listen in our own headphone worlds or ‘privatised auditory bubbles’ (Bull 2005); we can create music without ever having to leave a room and engage others.

With these ideas in mind, we are seeking papers that speak to the following questions:


  • Ritual: how is music used in rituals to foster connections between people?
  • Affect: what do we feel connected to through music? What do we feel when we are connected to music?
  • Politics and identity: how does music connect large groups of people through shared identities and ideologies? How is/has music been used to separate and marginalize groups of people?
  • Connection and technology: how does technology facilitate new connections between listeners? How does technology facilitate new connections between performers and creators? How does technology preclude connections between people?
  • Music Making: how does playing and participating in music connect people? What are the boundaries and requirements for people to participate?
  • Time: how does music forge connections across historical eras for performers, in terms of tribute acts, homage, or pastiche? Or for listeners, in terms of memory and nostalgia?
  • Historiography: what are the historical dimensions and factors in considering notions of music, play, and connection? How are the ways that we create connections through music now different to those five years ago? Or fifty years ago? What might musical connections look like in the future?

If you’re interested in contributing, email an abstract of no more than 350 words in PDF format to the editors. Please include the article title and describe your research question, approach and argument. Please include a brief biography in the body of your email. Biographies can be up to 75 words and should include your institutional affiliation and research interests. Full articles should be 5000 words (plus bibliography). All articles will be double-blind refereed and must adhere to MLA style (6th edition)

Abstract deadline: 8 November 2019

Please send to:

Editors: Matthew Bannister, Nick Braae, Ben Green and Megan Rogerson-Berry.