Call for compositions / papers for the International Conference on Contemporary Music, Coruña, Spain, April 2010

The web site of the conference is

International Conference on Contemporary Music 2010
IC[CM] 2010
Date: April 25-27, 2010
Location: University of A Coruña, Spain
Contact Person: Helena Palma
Meeting E-mail:
Web Site:
Important dates:
Deadline for submission of proposals: October 23, 2009.
Notification of acceptance: November 27, 2009.
Final versions due: December 7, 2009.
Scientific Committee:
Bernard Comrie (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology), Juan Durán (composer), Rosa Fernández (Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Sant Jordi), Antón García Abril (composer), Rodolfo García Alonso (High Conservatory of Music of A Coruña), Tomás Marco (composer), Helena Palma (University of A Coruña), José Luis Turina (composer), Víctor Pablo Pérez (conductor of the Symphonic Orchestra of Galicia).

Organizing Committee: Andrés Vales (High Conservatory of Music of A Coruña), Amor Admella (University of A Coruña), Francisco Xosé Castiñeira (University of A Coruña), Conchita Quintás (University of A Coruña), Emiliana Tucci (University of A Coruña).

Ensembles: Grupo instrumental siglo XX (Florian Vlashi)
Ensemble s21 (Julio Mourenza (piano), Carlos Garcia Amigo (violoncello), Jorge Montes (violin), Vicente Lopez Puig (clarinet), Alejandro Sanz Redondo (percussion). Meeting Description

Goals: The IC[CM] aims at contributing to relate the creative world of composers with the scientific world of researchers working on music and language. It also aspires to contribute to the inquiry about the nature of the dynamic relation that holds between a musical composition, its performers and the hearer.

Structure: IC[CM] 2010 will the articulated around two topics:
• The simple and the complex
• The relation between natural language and music

Call for participation:
We should be honored to invite composers and scientists to submit their proposals addressing any of the above topics. There are two modalities of participation: compositions and research presentations.
Compositions could be written for any instrument of the two ensembles of the conference, either solo or combined. The duration of the composition should be no longer than 15 min. Scores should be submitted in a PDF file, with a mention for the title and the instruments. Another PDF file should include a description of the work and performance indications. Whenever possible, we highly recommend that a sound file of the score should also be sent.Scientific presentations would be allotted 20 minutes for presentation length plus 10 minutes for discussion. Abstracts can have a length of up to 2 pages. They should be submitted in a PDF file, with the title of the presentation. The information about the author, including name, affiliation and email address should be detailed in the body of the message. The proposals would be peer reviewed by an international Scientific Committee.

Description of the Topics
The simple and the complex
For the concept of the simple and the complex we depart from the model of dynamic complexity of the Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) proposed by Murray Gell-mann (3) and John Holland (4). A CAS is a system made from a finite number of simple elements, which gather driven by some modality of the principle of recursion. That principle explains the capacity of simple entities for recombining into a potentially infinite number of complex systems. A CAS is a dynamic complex system whose individual entities interact simultaneously with each other, in parallel mode, and evolve in time as an adaptive reaction to the actions of other individual entities in the system. The interaction of the individual agents gives rise to emergent properties not possessed by the individual parts (5). What is the force that compels the individuals to evolve? The force that allegedly activates the evolution in time of CAS are paradoxes. The individual agents are puzzled by the entities or events that live in the edge of chaos (5), contradicting the familiar order. The CAS, after detecting the regularities of the unknown events makes a conjecture, modeled as an “schema” of interpretative and action rules. The CAS unfolds the schema into the world and checks its predictive force. The CAS may make an infinite number of modifications to the schema to adapt it to new events (3). Some examples of CAS that have been studied are the diversity and complexity of forms of living entities, the dynamic of civilizations, the evolution of culture, the acquisition of language, the evolution of language. Given the great variety of systems that have properties of a CAS, they have been object of multidisciplinary research. The world of Music has the structure of a net of dynamic relations that show the properties of CAS. The agents are
the composer, the work of music, the performer, the hearer, the sound itself and the location and time when it is produced. The behavior of those agents also have properties of CAS. We propose researchers to consider two of those CAS: the sound itself and the hearer.
What is the ontological nature of sound? Recent research resulting from the important cooperation of composers, performers and scientists has shown that a sound entity has a complex dynamic morphology. A sound is not an invariable entity, frozen in time, which may be repeated without variations. A sound entity is a CAS that evolves as the result of the interaction of its parts. The individual agents of a sound entity (frequency, timber, dynamics, duration) interact among each other and evolve in their relation with the environment. The use of sound objects by contemporary composers differs from that found in standard compositions, whose composers depart from the assumption that a sound object is an indivisible atom. For contemporary composers, the particles in a sound entity are not hierarchically ordered, but they interact in time according to the principles of CAS. The possibility of using and manipulating the particles of a sound entity has enable composers to create relations that were until then inaccessible. Some instances of those relations are the harmonic use of timber, the continuum time-frequency, fractal structures, embedded rhythmic structures (2), the simultaneous combination of no-synchronized rhythmic voices. Such a dynamic conception of sound posses an important problem for musical notation. What is the simpler and more efficient way of transcribing the dynamic sound events into discrete units and symbols, which would be compatible with the notation used by performers? What is the nature of the human faculty for music? How does the hearer acquire this faculty? How does the hearer perceive the simple and the complex? Does he or she do it by instinct, by computing or by both of them? What is the limit of the instinctive perception of complexity? What is the limit in computing complexity? Is there a genetic base for the perception of complexity in music? What kind of experiments can be performed to measure the human perception of music complexity?

The relation between Natural Language and Music
Some of the aspects we propose for contributions include:
• The relation between Natural Language and Opera.
• The musical origin of Natural Language (1) (6) (8).
• Ethnomusicology.
• The use of phonemes as simple musical material in composition (7).
• Tonal languages and melody.
• Rhythm in natural language and in music.
• Gesture in natural language and in music.

1. Darwin, Charles 1871 The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (2 vols.) London. Murray.
2. Ferneyhough, Brian 1995 Collected Writings Ed. By James Boros and Richard Toop. Amsterdam. Harwood Academic
3. Gell-mann, Murray 1994 The Quark and the Jaguar. Adventures in the Simple and the Complex. New York Freeman
and Co.
4. Holland, John Henry 1975 Adaptation in Natural and Artificial Systems. The MIT Press,1992.
5. Holland, John Henry 1998 Emergence: From Chaos to Order. Addison-Wesley; (also Oxford Press.)
6. Mithen, Steven 2006 The singing Neanderthal. Harvard Univ. Press. Cambridge. MA.
7. Schaeffer, Pierre 1966 Traité des Objects Musicaux Ed. du Seuil.
8. Wallin, Nils, Björn Merker and Steven Brown 2000 The Origin of Music. The MIT Press. Cambridge. MA.