19 Mar 2011 9:00am - 6:15pm CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge.



Katherine Hambridge (Music, University of Cambridge)

Keynote speaker

Prof Ingrid Monson (Music, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA)


Dr Samuel Barrett (Music, University of Cambridge)
Prof Nicholas Cook (Music, University of Cambridge)
Dr Guido Heldt (Music, University of Bristol)
Dr Laura Biron (CIPIL, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge)
Emanuele Senici (History of Music, University of Rome La Sapienza)
Dr Jason Toynbee (Media Studies, Open University, UK)

Practitioners’ panel  

Geoff Gamlen (remix artist and founding member of Eclectic Method)
Brian Lock (Composition & Music Technology, Royal Holloway/ composer)
Dr Julio d'Escriván (Creative Music Technology, Anglia Ruskin University)
Chair:  Professor Anahid Kassabian (Music, University of Liverpool)


Conference Summary


A number of prominent scholars have recently shown a renewed interest in the extraordinary degree and variety of intertextuality and recombination characteristic of contemporary popular musics, particularly in relation to the “remediative” potential of digitally-enabled techniques such as sampling and mash-up. The interest has been both in analysing these techniques as practices, and in assessing their aesthetic potential and effects. But musical borrowings have long been a concern for scholars of hip hop, rap and jazz—in the form of versioning—and of Western art music—in the form of quotation and allusion. Although this conference focusses on late twentieth-century and contemporary popular musics as the key site of the re-emergence of a concern with these processes, consideration of this broader historical context enables us to raise new questions: What are the historical continuities in these practices of recycling musical materials? To what extent have evolving technologies—from notated score, to electronic recording, to digital music media—reshaped or extended these aesthetic practices? How do our developing theoretical frameworks and evolving understandings of different musical epochs and genres affect our conception of and reactions to musical borrowings?

Our provocative title functions as a direct challenge to nineteenth-century ideals of originality, drawing attention to the wider question of the role of re-using material as a form of renewal, of sustainable creativity.  Accepting that musical experience – whether production or reception – is inherently intertextual, our discussion also considers the complex processes of meaning generation and identity construction that accompany any ontological incarnation of music.  As such, our approach is fundamentally interdisciplinary, and aims to bring together the work of cultural theorists, social scientists, musicologists and historians; with such a diverse temporal and disciplinary framework we aim to shed new light on specific questions and perspectives.




The convener is grateful for the support of  The Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), The Faculty of Music at the University of Cambridge, the Royal Musical Association and Cambridge University Press.





Administrative assistance: Helga Brandt (Conference Programme Manager, CRASSH)


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk