Sound Studies Workshop

  • Venue: Percy Building Newcastle University, G.05
  • Start: Wed, 18 May 2022 12:30:00 BST
  • End: Wed, 18 May 2022 18:30:00 BST

Sound Studies Workshop

May 18th 2022

Percy Building, Newcastle University

12.30-13.00   Lunch (Percy G.10)

13.00-13.15    Welcome & Introduction (Percy G.05)

Jennifer Richards

13.15-14.00    Keynote Address (Percy G.05)

Bruce Smith –  “Shakespeare’s Vibrant Theatre”

14.00-14.30   Panel One: Affect and Sound (Percy G.05)

Ian Biddle  “Affect, Listening and ‘Screen Memory’ in Holocaust Testimonies about Sound”

I explore how Polish-, Yiddish- and Ukrainian-language testimony speaks about sound in the traumatic landscapes of the Holocaust. Thinking about listening in this context helps us explore affective strategies, memory work and a tendency for sound memories to work differently from Freud's notion (1899) of ‘screen memories’.

14.30-15.00   Refreshments (Percy G.10)

15.00-16.00  Panel Two: Singing in Public (Percy G.05)

i) Oskar Cox Jensen – “One Song To The Tune Of Another: Singing James Leigh Joynes’s ‘What Ho! My Lads’"

Contrafactum – the setting of new words to a known tune – was for centuries standard practice in vernacular song, and especially so when that song was topical or political. While it endures in any number of performance sites from the church to the stadium, our general presumption of a unity between lyric and music can estrange us from this practice, to the comical extreme of the Radio 4 parlour game of my title. To explore the potential, from a sonic perspective, of a more interchangeable relationship between the two chief components of song, this paper involves a  practical experiment, focusing on a socialist song (ca. 1880), whose author provided two options for its tune – ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and ‘Partant Pour La Syrie’. We will sing the song both ways – a potentially calamitous endeavour that might, nonetheless, prove highly rewarding.

ii) Hannah Scott“Singing linguists: Songs about Learning English in Belle Époque France

In the wake of devastating defeat in the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, the dearth of language skills in France began to cause widespread concern and to be seen as a worrying national weakness. Dozens of songs were written between 1870 and 1914 about teachers, pupils, dubious accents, and mediocre exam results for the popular audiences of the cafes-concerts. I explore songs about learning English, questioning how they use music and performance to reflect upon attitudes to language learning, upon popular perceptions of France’s neighbouring nations, and upon the audience’s own sense of identity as Parisians and as French citizens.

16.00-16.15    Break

16.15-17.15     Panel Three: Dance, Sound and Space

i) Emma Whipday “’Fame's Loud Sound’: Offstage Sound and Good vs Evil in Early Modern Performance”

In Ben Jonson's Masque of Queens, twelve witches perform a magical dance to ‘strange and sudden music’,  but a ‘blast’ of ‘loud sound’ banishes the witches, from both the masque and the court. This paper explores the relationship between offstage noise and the forces of virtue banishing the forces of evil in Masque of Queens and Macbeth.

ii) Kathryn Roberts-Parker –“The Soundscapes of the Urban Morris in Early Modern England”

This paper will explore the sound world of the morris dance during its most prolific time of public performances in early modern England. I analyse references to instrumentation and ambient sounds connected to morris dancing and examine the communal and participatory experience for audiences during the years 1580-1640.

17.15-18.00    Reception (Percy Foyer)

18.00              Performance (Percy Quad)

Morris Dance (directed by Kathryn Roberts-Parker)


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