CfP: Music in television series (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel)

International Conference at Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel:
“Music in television series”
February 27-28, 2015 – Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Germany
Deadline: May 29, 2014

Quality TV, the third golden age of television – these are the terms that define the recent developments of television series in the age of the internet. Television takes more risks, is no longer dependent on the biggest audience possible, but on specific target groups within a highly diversified market. These circumstances together with new modes of reception (binge viewing, streams etc.) made the age of quality televison possible. From the aesthetic freedoms of pay TV to series produced by online distributors – TV series are the new big thing (again).

Even more than in the past, the music of these series plays an important part on many levels: from the production to the narration to the marketing. TV series have turned songs into hits, music supervisors have become important people for the TV and music industry. Music is identified with the show, from the jingles and title themes to the musical choices of preexisting music.

But the new level of televison series is not restricted to the US. British and Scandinavian series have become popular and spawned several adaptions in the process. The musical differences in these ‘remade’ shows (compared to the originals) are in many cases worth investigating.

The music of this new quality TV is as diverse as the shows themselves. The depiction and use of music in TV series has become far more important and complex than in the past, and, due to its new multifunctionality, approaching (and possibly even surpassing) the qualities of film music. The higher production values and importance of coherence have led to filmic compositional techniques and a unique mixture of onscreen and offscreen music that has yet to be described in scientific terms.

The field to be invested is wide: from the narrative functions of music, to the TV presence of musicians, the commercial aspects, extra-and intra-diegetic use of music, the play with connotations of music, with star images both on the screen and on the stage. The global exchange of music in US-and non-US series, the differences in US adaptions of non-US series and the specific demands of seriality in narration and music are only some of the topics we are interested in discussing.

The conference sets out to shed light on the theory and practice of music in contemporary television series. We welcome submissions that deal with the narrativity of music, the filmmusical roots of television music, performances in television series and close readings of particularly striking examples. Although the main focus will be on more recent television series, papers about online formats such as music in digital media series or online series will also be considered.

Please submit a short abstract (5-10 lines) and a curriculum vitae (3-5 lines) to Willem Strank: The deadline for submissions is May 29, 2014. The best and most significant papers will be published either in our journal Kieler Beiträge zur Filmmusikforschung or in an edited volume.

Please don’t hesitate to distribute our call for papers to others who may be interested! The language of the conference will be English.

Possible issues (among others) include:

  • Comic functions of music in contemporary sitcoms or animated series
  • Narrativity of music in television series
  • Structural elements that combine narration and music
  • The question of seriality in narration and music
  • Structural principles of onscreen and offscreen music in television series
  • Case studies about the role of music in one particular television series
  • Musical contexts and traditions in television series
  • Songs in television series
  • Theme/title music for television series
  • Music in online/digital media series
  • Economic aspects of music in television series
  • Non-US series, remakes across cultural boundaries
  • The historicity of recent series
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