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Writing Music

Announcements by Network Members

Call for Papers

University of Sheffield 24-25 February 2023

*Submission deadline 12 November 2022* (although get in touch with the organisers if an extension is needed)


Access Folk invites participants and presenters to an inspiring symposium

about folk singing, performance contexts, participation and inclusion.

The event draws on emerging research in England by the Access Folk team and encourages sharing across a range of cultures and formats, including papers, panel discussions, posters, films, workshops and demonstrations or performances etc... We invite contributions from academics, singers, organisers and anyone else with knowledge and experience relating to the symposium’s theme. It is hoped

that a publication based on selected presentations will be a tangible

outcome of the symposium.

Suggested (but not exhaustive) topics

-  Folk singing (widely interpreted)

   How folk singing is organised, facilitated, led in various contexts

   (Folk choirs, Festivals, Folk clubs; online singing; Events outside ‘the

   folk scene’)

   Folk singing and/as Community Music

   Folk singing as activism

   The legacy of revival movements on contemporary folk singing, the

   reinterpretation of traditions, songwriting and the growth of tradition

   Audience and participant development, accessibility: physical and/or


   The sound/s of folk singing: e.g. gendered voices; questions of quality;

   new approaches

   Diverse representation in folk singing and its repertoires: e.g. gender,

   sexuality, racial, ethnic, disabilities etc…

   The effect of the professionalisation, policy or funding on wider


New Publication

Singing the News of Death: Execution Ballads in Europe 1500-1800
by Una McIlvenna

Across Europe, from the dawn of print until the early twentieth century, the news of crime and criminals' public executions was printed in song form on cheap broadsides and pamphlets to be sold in streets and marketplaces by ballad-singers. Singing the News of Death: Execution Ballads in Europe 1500-1900 looks at how and why song was employed across Europe for centuries as a vehicle for broadcasting news about crime and executions, exploring how this performative medium could frame and mediate the message of punishment and repentance. Examining ballads in English, French, Dutch, German, and Italian across four centuries, author Una McIlvenna offers the first multilingual and longue durée study of the complex and fascinating phenomenon of popular songs about brutal public death.

Ballads were frequently written in the first-person voice, and often purported to be the last words, confession or 'dying speech' of the condemned criminal, yet were ironically on sale the day of the execution itself. Musical notation was generally not required as ballads were set to well-known tunes. Execution ballads were therefore a medium accessible to all, regardless of literacy, social class, age, gender or location. A genre that retained extraordinary continuities in form and content across time, space, and language, the execution ballad grew in popularity in the nineteenth century, and only began to fade as executions themselves were removed from the public eye. With an accompanying database of recordings, Singing the News of Death brings these centuries-old songs of death back to life.

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Singing the News of Death - cover_edited

New Publication

Sounding Prose: Music in the 17th-Century Dutch Novel

by Natascha Veldhorst


This book is about the presence of music in novels. More specifically, about music in the early modern novel, with an emphasis on seventeenth-century prose from The Netherlands. The essay provides a concise and an accessible introduction into the subject and presents an overview of this compelling new research area.


About the Author:

Natascha Veldhorst is Assistant Professor Arts and Culture Studies at Radboud University Nijmegen in The Netherlands.


Further information about Natascha Veldhorst and her work, including  Sounding Prose: Music in the 17th-Century Dutch Novel, is available here.

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