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CFP, Music in Radio Drama, ‘Word and Music Studies’ series

Call for Papers

Music in Radio Drama

Edited by Pim Verhulst (University of Antwerp) and Jarmila Mildorf (University of Paderborn)

Radio drama has been around since the development of the medium in the 1920s, roughly coinciding with the birth of film. Unlike that culturally dominant visual medium, however, the acoustic art form of the radio play has received much less critical attention. In addition to voice and sound effects, one important aural feature that characterizes the radio play is music. In contrast to the field of film narratology, where the narrative functions of music have long been mapped and studied, radio drama still awaits such a systematic approach regarding the interconnections between word and music, especially in the absence of visual stimuli. The present volume aims to be a first step in that direction, bringing together scholars from the disciplines of radio drama and modernism, audio- and transmedial narratology, as well as music and sound studies. In doing so, the purpose of this collection is to offer a broad cross-section of national literatures and broadcasting traditions, building on existing research while reassessing the role of music as a (non-)narrative element in radio plays. Contributions may focus on one or multiple authors and works, but also on composers, sound engineers, producers, directors or broadcasting services and networks, from the 1920s to the present day. In addition to case studies or comparative analyses, we also invite contributions on more theoretical, conceptual and methodological issues. Papers could engage with, but need not be limited to, the following questions:

– What different functions can music play in radio drama relative to the spoken word?

– Does music fulfil a different role in radio drama than it does in film, television or theatre?

– Which radio dramatists were particularly innovative in their use of word and music?

– Are there examples of authors who use language in a musical way?

– What frameworks can be used to study music and its impact on the listener in radio drama?

– How are listeners cognitively involved or immersed in a radio play that features music?

– Do philosophical insights into music and its (non-)narrativity apply to radio drama?

– How has music in radio drama historically evolved in broadcasting?

– What challenges does music present for the publication of radio plays?


Practical details

Papers are certainly not limited to radio drama in English but will have to provide translations for non-English radio plays. The language of the volume will be English. We explicitly ask that all work be original, so proposals for contributions that have been previously published elsewhere, in whatever form, cannot be considered.

Selected submissions will be included in a proposal for the ‘Word and Music Studies’ series published by Brill (general series editors: Walter Bernhart, Michael Halliwell, Lawrence Kramer, Steven Paul Scher and Werner Wolf). Publication will depend on the outcome of the peer review process.

Please send a 400-500 word abstract, with a title and brief bio (affiliation, career and recent publications) to by 30 June 2018. Finalized contributions will be expected by 14 December 2018, for an estimated publication in late 2019 or early 2020.

For more information, see the website of the International Association for Word and Music Studies or the Word and Music Studies series page on the Brill website.