The fifteenth Symposium of the Kiel Society for Film Music Research will be dedicated to questions about music in documentary films. For this purpose, documentary films about music should not necessarily be the center of attention. Rather, our interest is focused on films, documentaries, docudramas, reports, etc., which use music in a field of tension ranging from so-called authenticity to applications of music that are barely different from those in feature films. Film music in documentary films undoubtedly contributes to the intensity, credibility, information, understanding and reflection of the events shown. But the manipulation of feelings and an impairment of the audience‘s ability for unbiased reflection can also be observed in many cases. In documentary (even semi-documentary) formats, sound design and music are affected by different preferences, ideals and conditions of production, which sometimes differ from those in feature films, but in many cases are comparable.
A responsible approach to the film‘s topic and its protagonists is often perceived to be more crucial for documentary formats. But what does artistic and practical reality look like when filmmakers want to present a selected segment of reality? What can be learned from the use of music in the non-fictional film work on the significance of film music in general, on the attitude and goals of filmmakers and on the socio-political role of audiovisual media and formats? With which scientific methods and concepts can film music be examined in documentary film and its variants?
The following key questions can be used for guidance if you‘d like to submit an abstract:
A) History and aesthetics
1. What is the role of music in cinematic narration about or over a selected section of reality?
2. Which technical and aesthetic conditions have influenced the use of music as film music and as a subject in the history of documentary film?
3. How can the boundaries between music and sound design be explored? Does the musicalization of the soundtrack replace the use of film music in documentary film?
B) Reality reference and artistic practice
4. Is a higher demand for an "authentic" presentation of subject and protagonist in documentary film fulfilled, if the music has solely been written, performed and recorded for the film or in the context of the film?
5. What is the difference between narrative potentials of music in feature and documentary films?
6. How does film music in documentary film influence the realism of cinematic means and the documentary story?
7. Are there any other rules in the documentary film for music that, unlike images and referential sound, usually has no semantic implications?
8. How does music in the documentary essay films differ from that used in more common documentary formats?
C) Methods, function and effect
9. Does the generalizing or emotionalizing effect of music in documentary film inevitably lead to the manipulation of the audience, or can film music be a didactic aid here for translating distant content or helping to close the gap to other cultures?
10. What tendencies can be identified for film music in hybrid or ambivalent formats (eg docudrama, mockumentaries and forms that break with certain aesthetic premises and communicative contracts, etc.)?
11. How do you deal with film music in documentary film, which highlights its socio-political aspects in particular?
In addition, book presentations, practical reports, workshops or panels are welcome, which can be assigned to the general topic or individual questions and their scientific or artistic working methods. If your research interest is not mentioned in the CfP please don‘t hesitate to hand in an abstract regardless!
The conference also serves as a platform for current research projects and discussions. It therefore contains an open block to which abstracts can and should be submitted independently of the main topic.
Music in documentary film - XV Symposium for Film Music Research
Friday, 5 July 2019 to Sunday, 7 July 2019
Deadline for abstracts / short biographies: April 30, 2019 (max 300/100 words)
Feedback on the acceptance of the abstracts: May 2019
Presentations, lectures or book presentations should take no longer than 25 minutes. Panels may take up a longer time slot if possible. Conference languages are German and English. Travel and accommodation costs can not be reimbursed.
Registration and contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org (Tarek Krohn & Willem Strank)