Invitation Letter

CONTEXTUALITY OF MUSICOLOGY – What, How, Why
and Because

XIV. International Conference of the Department of Musicology,
Faculty of Music, University of Arts in Belgrade
Celebrating 70th anniversary the Department of Musicology of the Fac-
ulty of Music, University of Arts in Belgrade, is pleased to announce its
Fourteenth International Conference on the topic of Contextuality of
Musicology – What, How, Why and Because. The interest for the con-
textuality of musicology (e.g. M. Veselinović-Hofman, Contextuality of
Musicology, New Sound, Special Edition, 1998) and/or practice of the
interdisciplinary musicology, showed itself a long time ago at our De-
partment of Musicology, and reflects the awareness of multiple ap-
proaches to the interdisciplinary musicology, as well as an importance
of integrating knowledge of other disciplines concerning music into the
musicological discourse.
It can be said that musicology, in itself, is a multi- and interdisciplinary
science regardless of its specifics or, more precisely, a synthetic science
that combines the widest possible spectrum of special studies, whereby
not one science can remain in its pure state due to constant and inevi-
table permeations, transmissions and fusions, thus abolishing the con-
ventional division into humanities, social and natural sciences. In fact,
during the past decades, the music itself was increasingly turning into
the medial (median), intermediary (acting as an intermediate agent be-
tween two or more things) and mediatory (pertaining to mediation)
field of widely varied interests – social, economic, cultural-political, etc.,
and aspects of consideration and research – sociological, cultural, philo-
sophical, aesthetic, psychological, physical, physiological, neurological,
etc.
However, what is essential is that musicology, whether as historical mu-
sicology, or as systematic musicology, has its status of an intermedium10
Contextuality of Musicology – What, How, Why and Because
(pertaining to the matter that helps transforming one matter into the
other, or the fusion of other two or more matters into one), that is, one
of its basic characteristics in the context of moving almost complete
scientific apparatus at the moment when music is at the heart of the
problem. In other words, its natural position of an intermedium enables
musicology, thanks to its basic scientific tools – from establishing a fact,
which is a historical and/or analytical point of departure, to its contex-
tualization as a scholarly goal – to be the only one in all crucial moments
in any music research that could make a vertical cut through all strata of
dealing with music. Namely, musicology, therefore, from the very mo-
ment of its establishment, turned to the problem of the context.
The everlasting question of the role of outside-music disciplines in mu-
sicology shows that thinking about music in context, is not really a new
occurrence, but, the question of relations between musical and outside-
musical disciplines (regarding the way of setting the thesis, process and
type of argumentation, and way of making conclusions) definitely is
new, as well as the degree of intensity of their participation in critical,
documented and creative contextual musicological questioning and ex-
posure.
Both as a music historian who strives to explain the gist of the sense and
the meaning of the events forming history, and as a musicologist pursu-
ing the hermeneutical work which, admittedly, can never reach the ‘true’
meaning of a musical work but only approximate this meaning asymp-
totically, we think that it is necessary always to keep in mind the ‘call’ of
historicity. For the historicity of the place of ‘narrative’, to which ‘narra-
tive is indebted’, is an important context of the credibility of the what and
the how, of the validity of establishing and comprehension of the why,
and the meaningfulness of the hermeneutical because (from Interview
with M. Veselinović-Hofman, Living One’s Own Thought Experience
with Music and Musicology, New Sound, 41/I, 2013).
The conference aims at contemporary re/interpretations and re/discov-
eries of the crucial points of contextuality of musicology, offering few
suggestions as starting-points for consideration:
• context in music/musicology
• music/musicology in context
• contextuality of musicology and (post-)historical, as well as ana-
lytical factXIV. International Conference of the Department of Musicology









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contextuality of musicology and musicological aesthetics and poet-
ics of music (from what is autonomously musical in a work to what
is latently semantic in it, in a way that implies or stimulates personal
insights, and/or personal existence in a musical work, as a sort of
hermeneutical completion – cf. Interview with M. Veselinović-
Hofman)
contextuality of musicology and contemporary creation – current
phenomena in and outside music: technological and compositional-
technical innovations, various efforts in media, style and theory, the
possibility of contextual insight, necessarily related to the problem
area of this here and now (cf. Interview with M. Veselinović-
Hofman)
contextuality of musicology and performing
contextuality of musicology and media – mixed media, polymedia,
intermedia
contextuality of musicology and technology – human, non-human
contextuality of musicology and language, as well as writing
contextuality of musicology and subject(ivity)
contextuality of musicology and utopia, (post)delusion, nostalgia,
melancholy, and/or activism, technological progress
contextuality of musicology and interdisciplinary challenges, hu-
manities