International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Musics of East Asia

21–23 August 2014.
Nara, Japan.
Submissions deadline: 20 Dec 2013.

The Study Group for Musics of East Asia (MEA), which was formed within the framework of the International Council for Traditional Music in 2006, is pleased to announce its fourth symposium, to be held from 21 to 23 August 2014 at Nara University of Education. Those interested in East Asian Musical Cultures are welcome to become members and attend the symposium to exchange knowledge and ideas and further develop the field.


1. East Asian musics from a cross-cultural perspective

Recent years have seen increasing diversification in East Asian music-making, with traditional genres being performed outside their regions or cultures of origin, and genres from outside the region have been adopted within specifically East Asian contexts. What new meanings arise when musical genres cross cultural borders? We invite papers exploring these cross-cultural musical phenomena.

2. Music in digital culture/mass media

Mass media such as radio, television, film and, more recently, the internet, have all been important contexts for music-making in East Asia, providing opportunities for performance, dissemination, and teaching of music, as well as the creation of listening communities. We invite papers examining the role of mass-media in East Asian music-making.

3. Music and ritual

Nara, the site for the 2014 meeting, is one of the most important historical centres for ritual music in Japan. As in most human cultures, music-making in East Asia has historically been hugely influenced by ritual belief, while shared ritual beliefs and traditions are perhaps one of the most important factors in considering East Asia as a cultural region. We look forward to receiving proposals dealing with any aspect of music and ritual in the region.

4. Restoration and reconstruction of musical traditions

As a region with a particularly long recorded history of musical performance, East Asia has produced many examples of interaction with ancient or partially forgotten musical traditions. What techniques have been used in restoring these traditions? What meanings have they been assigned in the modern world? We encourage papers that examine the way historical aspects of music have been re-imagined or reconstructed in the present.

5. Music and gender

The role of gender and sexuality in East Asian musical traditions remains a little-explored, yet highly important area for research. How does gender affect the career paths of musicians? How is gender portrayed or performed in musical performance? How does gender influence the way listeners engage with musical genres? We invite papers considering these and other issues.

6. New research

New research on other topics is also welcome.

Presentation formats

We invite three presentation formats:

  1. Individual paper presentations (20 minutes in length, with 10 minutes at the end for questions).
  2. Group panels of either three or four individual papers on linked subjects (total 90 minutes for three speakers, 120 minutes for four speakers).
  3. Roundtable discussion with up to six participants (90 minutes).


English is the official language of the meeting. Only proposals and presentations in English will be considered.

AV equipment

The following will be available:

  • Projector for PowerPoint presentations, etc.
  • In-house PCs (though you may also bring and use your own Mac or PC).
  • Multi-region VHS and DVD players.
  • CD players.

Access to the internet will only be available through computers provided by the venue. We strongly recommend that presenters save all audio/visual data to their own computers or memory devices.

Deadline for submissions / notification of acceptance

The deadline for proposal submissions is 20 December 2013. Decisions on acceptance of papers will be made by 20 March 2014.



Individual paper proposals should be submitted by email to

Proposal formats

Please see pages 31-32 of Bulletin of the ICTM #123 (October 2013) for details on proposals.


Following ICTM policy, all participants whose proposals have been accepted for the programme must be ICTM members. New members may join and submit a proposal at the same time. Proposals from students are strongly encouraged. Membership applications are available at the ICTM website.

Programme Committee

Kim Heesun (Korea), Lee Ching-huei (Taiwan), Qi Kun (China), Waseda Minako (Japan), Victor Vincente (Hong Kong), and Matt Gillan (Japan) as chair. For further questions about the programme for MEA 2014, please contact Matt Gillan by e-mail at

Symposium website

For further information and updates, please visit the symposium website: