The Uses of Musical Knowledge

A symposium hosted by the CHASE and the Goldsmiths Popular Music Research Unit

Room RHB 137, Goldsmiths, University of London

11 May 2019 | 0930 - 1730

This one-day symposium will explore the forms of expertise, the perceived senses of intimacy and ownership, and the power relations inherent in claims to ‘know’ music – claims that are routinely made by musicians, educators and listeners alike. What is musical knowledge, and who has it? How is musical knowledge theorised and embodied? How do we share musical knowledge?

The day will include discussions led by Anne Danielsen (University of Oslo), Marie Thompson (University of Lincoln) and Byron Dueck (Open University), and a roundtable featuring musician-theorists Corey Mwamba and John Harries.

Presentations from CHASE students will address (among other things) electronic dance music, post punk, and grime, and will discuss popular music’s institutionalisation, its aesthetics, and the ways it is experienced by listeners and music-makers.

More broadly, we hope to address the following themes:

Expertise: How do claims to musical knowledge and expertise measure up in a popular music field – and in a contemporary political climate – where that kind of status is seen as highly dubious?

Knowledge beyond words: How do we think and talk about the ways that musical knowledge is held or experienced in the body, whether in the muscle memory and bodily expertise that lets us navigate an instrument, dance, or enjoy a whomp of bass or a fizz of brass; or in the intuitive, non-symbolic knowledge that often seems to lie behind the listening experience?  

Disciplined knowledge: How far has the recent institutionalisation of popular music and jazz studies transformed the kinds of musical knowledge formally acceptable in those fields? What have been the benefits and costs in this transformation of technique? Are scholars of popular music producing knowledge that legitimates specific patterns of power and domination?

Registration information

Twenty student places are available. There is no charge for registration. Refreshments and lunches are provided. Reasonable travel expenses to and from the event will be covered.

Schedule (subject to change)


Registration, coffee, welcome

10:00 - 11:30

Session 1: Institutional knowledge
Chair and respondent: Byron Dueck
Ben Assiter: Electronic dance music, institutionalisation and cultural value
Fiamma Mozzetta: The (Non) institutionalisation of Italian pop music studies


11:45 - 13:00

Session 2: Roundtable. Translating, transferring (and maybe transcending) musical knowledge
Chair: Tom Perchard
Anne Danielsen, Corey Mwamba, John Harries


14:00 - 15:30

Session 3: Practices
Chair and respondent: Anne Danielsen
Alex de Lacy: Understanding group creative practice in grime music
Maria Perevedentseva: Enter the void: Timbre as knowledge in Electronic Dance Music


16:00 - 17:30

Session 4: Politics
Chair and respondent: Marie Thompson
Kit Ashton: Major questions in a minor key: music ideologies under surveillance capitalism
Bruno Verner: The Politics of Anti-Music through DIY Post Punk

Terms and conditions

*By registering below you are requesting a place on this training programme or selected sessions that form part of the programme. A member of the CHASE team or the workshop leader will contact you in due course to confirm that a place has been allocated to you. If you no longer require a place, please email as soon as possible so your name can be removed from the registration list.  

If you are allocated a place but can no longer attend, please email so that your place can be reallocated. CHASE training is free to attend and events are often oversubscribed with a waiting list. Failure to notify us of non-attendance in good time (ideally 5 days prior to the workshop/programme) means your place cannot be reallocated and may result in your access to future CHASE training being restricted.

The training is open to:

Register here

Name *
Do you consent to being photographed and/or filmed* during the event for purposes of promoting this workshop or in evaluation or reporting? *
*Images may be used on institutional websites, social media, print materials and learning resources. Parts of the event will also be sound recorded for a podcast. Consent for inclusion in the podcast will be sought separately.