The Song Studies Network wishes to establish a multi- and interdisciplinary forum for academic research and creative practice on song. The SSN aims to bring together researchers from various disciplines who investigate the multi-modal medium of song in diverse formats. In bringing together researchers and performers from varied backgrounds, the SSN hopes to facilitate multi- and intercultural dialogues on the phenomenon of song worldwide and across historical periods.
The SSN thinks about ‘song’ from a multitude of perspectives, acknowledging both form and function. We propose that song can be defined as vocal expression -- incorporating elements such as pitch, rhythm, repetition, language -- that is both a composition and a practice. In practice, song is inseparable from the performing body. By performing a song, feeling and experience are embodied, affecting the body in multiple ways. As song can be an individual and collective at the same time, it is a complex, expressive practice that leverages the diverse physical and imaginative capacities of individuals and communities for various purposes.
The SSN has outlined four initial streams along which dialogue can take place: Transmission, Embodiment, Performance, and Situatedness. We invite researchers to identify areas in which their research falls and also join with those working on other themes to continually shape and develop the emerging field of song studies.
The SSN considers these four streams as interconnected. They can function as a starting point for dialogue, or can help to expand current understandings of song. The streams are meant to act as a foundation to encourage development in the emerging field of Song Studies.
Based upon these streams, the SSN has articulated some key questions:
What is song? How can we define song as a multimodal genre and productive source for research?
Can song studies enhance the understanding of the relationship between the body, memory and feeling?
Can an international methodology of historical analyses be developed for song and singing practices? Can we use cultural and historical differences to reveal commonalities?
What can song studies gain from and contribute to different and diverse understandings of contemporary discourses and practices in society, politics, education and art?