Conference Themes


Synthesisers: Meaning Through Sonics

The synthesizer as an instrument has evolved rapidly over the last 50 years, conveying different meanings in musical culture at various times in its history. Post-punk and new wave acts used synths to signify their embrace of futurism and modernity. Earlier psychedelic bands used the synthesizer to sonically represent mind expansion while prog acts signposted their lineage to the classical avant-garde. Techno artists used synths to escape the strictures of acoustic music in parallel with rave culture’s desire for escapism from the mundanity of daily existence. It is now seemingly ubiquitous in modern pop music production.

At Synthposium we wish to explore how sonic meaning(s) is conveyed through synthesizers. We welcome paper and poster presentations that address the following:

  • How has the synthesizer’s cultural role changed in different musical contexts over time?
  • Where does the synthesizer sit amongst modern instrument choice options?
  • Is the synthesizer now another instrument in a broad palette or does it retain a unique qualitative character?
  • Has electronic music come to an end as an autonomous domain of musical practice?

In addition to the above questions, we welcome papers which explore any other issues relating to the use of synthesizers in music production, composition and performance. Let’s step away from nerdy discussion of VST design and look at the bigger circuit board at Synthposium.