International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

Call for Proposals: 1st Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Musics of the Slavic World

Hosting institutions: University of Ljubljana, Department of Musicology at the Faculty of Arts; Scientific Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Institute of Ethnomusicology; Foundation Imago Sloveniae; Cultural and Ethnomusicological Society Folk Slovenia

Conference venue: Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana

Conference dates: 13-15 October, 2016

Following the recognition of the Study Group by the ICTM Executive Board in July 2015, its first symposium aims to address fundamental questions concerning traditional music and ethnomusicology of the Slavic-speaking countries and peoples. The themes are concerned with history of research, perspectives of comparative study, trends in traditional music of post-socialist period, and recent research. The language of the symposium will be English. Presentation formats will be: individual papers, organized paper sessions, roundtables, and audio-visual documentaries.

Symposium themes

1. Anthropology of Music and Musical Folkloristics in the Slavic-speaking world. History of ideas and ideologies.

The Slavic-speaking world is of interest for ethnomusicology both as a field of research and as a source of remarkable and innovative scholarly concepts. The very terms folk music (von Stählin, 1770), musical ethnography and comparative musical ethnography (Sokal’sky, 1888), and finally ethno-musicology (Kvitka, 1928) were invented in the context of Slavic music studies, as well as the first interdisciplinary concept of musical anthropology (Serov, 1869).

From the mid-19th century on, discourses on traditional music in the Slavic-speaking world (and elsewhere in Europe) were faced with and partly influenced by ideological agendas of nationalism and national romanticism, and in the 20th century by Marxism-Leninism. Ideological legacies have negatively affected the image of folk music research in the Slavic countries in the eyes of international ethnomusicology. This is why this theme encourages re-visits of innovative thinking and approaches developed in the domains of Slavic scholarship and discussion about their validity today. 

2. Perspectives and Methods of Comparative and Historical Research on Vocal and Instrumental Genres of Traditional Music of the Slavic-speaking World

Comparing means identifying similarities and differences. Comparative-historical research and discussions of potential common characteristics of traditional music of the Slavic world are a key issue in Central and Eastern European ethnomusicology (Elschekova 1966, Goshovsky 1971, Czekanowska-Kuklińska 1972, Zemtsovsky 1975).

In the past, comparative research focused on rhythmic and melodic characteristics, particularly of vocal genres considered to be of ancient origin. Instrumental genres, generally regarded to be more recent phenomena, were less considered in historical and comparative research.

Contemporary methods of analysis and an increased base of sources may help to reevaluate the conclusions of earlier studies. It would be also desirable to discuss the significance of mictrotonality and articulation (sound quality, mictotiming) for comparative research. Necessarily, a research interest for “the Slavic” in traditional music will require a consideration of non-Slavic cultures, as well. 

3. Selections, Presentations and Transformations of Traditional Music Practices in Post-socialist Europe

In the 1980s and 1990s, Europe went through crucial political changes, including the fall of socialism. These changes gave rise to a new need for expression of self-determination and national representations. The symbolic representations that had developed during decades of the ‘nationalization of the past’ were brought forward. These include the song, music and dance practices, which were assigned the status of folk tradition through the process of cultural nationalization on the institutional level. The processes that are common to the Slavic speaking world still have individual differences in the way they took place. The proposed theme invites researchers to discuss how these processes affected the selection, presentation and/or transformation of traditional music (style of representation, repertoire, style, textual and musical structural aspects, context,  etc.) on institutional level as well as in noninstitutionalized framework.   

4. Recent Research 


Participants should send their proposals (between 250 and 300 words) to Elena Shishkina ( and Rimantas Sliužinskas ( by 31 December 2015. The proposals will be evaluated by an international Program Committee, and the results will be delivered to the authors by 15 February 2016.

Programme Committee

Elena Shishkina

Rimantas Sliužinskas

Ulrich Morgenstern

Urša Šivic

For further questions concerning the programme please contact Ulrich Morgenstern at

Local Arrangements Committee

Janoš Kern

Teja Klobčar

Mojca Kovačič

Drago Kunej

Svanibor Pettan

Anja Serec Hodžar

Carlos Yoder

For further questions concerning local arrangements please contact Mojca Kovačič at