Professors of HKBU Department of Music present papers at IMSEA conference in Taipei

13 November 2013

Three members of the musicology staff in the Department of Music have presented papers at the Second Biennial Conference of the East Asian Regional Association of the International Musicological Society (IMS), held between 18-20 October at National Taiwan University in Taipei.

Dr. Lam Ching-wah gave his paper, entitled :Changing Modes of Performance of Huangmei Opera: the Influence of Advancement of Technology on its Musical and Dramatic Characteristics; in the session .The Medium is the Message・: Technology, Performance, Consumption. Prof. Helan Yang and Dr. David Francis Urrows were invited to give position papers in the roundtable discussion, Teaching Western Music History in 2013.

The East Asian Regional Association is one of four such group which the IMS has established in recent years to :bring together colleagues who have been working in relative isolation and incorporate their perspectives into project of global scope;, according to IMS president, Prof. Dinko Fabris of the University of Basilicata.

Built around the theme of :Musics in the Shifting Global Order; Prof. Yang explained that :the roundtable in which I took part was very well received, suggesting the importance of music history pedagogy in this global era. The IMS roundtable which addressed the theme of the conference was thought-provoking, in a way validating my own research direction, which is cross-cultural and interdisciplinary. Aside from the papers, I enjoyed the exchanges with various Hong Kong colleagues from sister institutions as well as with newly-met colleagues from Taiwan and elsewhere.; Prof. Yang talked at length in the roundtable about challenges in adopting new pedagogical directions in the teaching of music History.

Dr. Urrows・ position paper, .Confessions of a Skeptic・, suggested that the shifts referred to throughout the conference may be moving in a direction quite different from the ones assumed by the conference title, and that the notion of the .decentralization・ of Western art music in musicological study is at odds with everything from classroom realities to its seemingly inexorably growing hegemony over global music business.

Dr. Lam・s paper explored and investigated :how performance practice has changed under the influence of technology by analyzing its effect on singing, dialogues, costumes, stage settings and make-up; in Huangmei opera, a genre with :a relatively short history of about two hundred years, developed from folksongs along the Yangzi River.;

The conference was hosted by the Graduate Institute of Musicology at NTU, and was held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Taiwan Musicology Forum. 38% of the papers were presented by postgraduate students. It was interesting to see that although musicology in usually understood to be primarily the .history of music・, its broader application today (somewhat subsuming ethnomusicology) led to a conference where, in the words of the Program Committee, :contemporary and local topics are preponderant V and encouraging or alarming sign?;

The 2015 IMSEA conference will take place in Hong Kong, and we look forward to welcoming all the delegates then and taking part in this exciting development in musicology in East Asia.


Prof. Helan Yang and Dr. David Francis Urrows (HKBU), Dr. Thomas Irvine (University of Southampton) and PhD student Ayaka Fukahori (Graduate School of Musicology, Aichi University of the Arts)


IMSEA conference in Taipei