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Musicology ?

Joëlle Caullier, Jean-Marc Chouvel, Jean-Paul Olive et Makis Solomos
mai 2011Traduction de Joyce Shintani


1Giving a journal a name is tantamount to announcing its platform. L’Humanité, La Croix, Le Figaro, Traverses, Esprit : All these names bear within them the impulse or even the utopian vision that gave birth to them. What does Filigrane (literally : filigree, watermark, or subtle implication) evoke ? The absence of hard evidence, a penchant for introversion, but also the permeability necessary for penetrating an apparent transparency to discover something encrypted within its raw matter ; something deposited by man, imprinted at the core of the material he sends to others, at the core of his work : a secret sign, a trace of passage, of origin, of belonging. A watermark disputes the frontier imposed by the surface of a page. It presupposes nuances and shadings, but it also demands of the reader a particular disposition, one that allows him to identify the mysterious impressions, which at first glance escape view – the sign of the other.

2This, then, is what motivates the birth of Filigrane, a journal dedicated not to contemporary music as a set of works and discourses, but rather to creation considered as a field of forces where meaning is elaborated. The project at hand is to consider music as a global phenomenon in which meaning is forged and circulated, where man uses his faculties to construct a world and, at the same time, himself. Taken thusly, musicology becomes a locus where social and human sciences intersect with thought proper to art – thought in action, not discursive ; the thought of human experience, transformed by the invention and disposition of material in time and space. Now, if music is above all thought about experiences, how can musicology, deliberately and without contradicting art itself, constitute itself as an autonomous discipline mediating these experiences ? Is not musicology obligated to share art’s own destiny, enriched with the myriad points of view that elevate its function at the confluence of art and human sciences ? This is high praise for interdisciplinarity, but even more so for the fecund un-disciplinarity of art.

3Filigrane is dedicated to knowledge about humans and the world, to the extent that today’s art and thought can impart it, and it hopes to contribute, even modestly, to their transformation. Strictly speaking, Filigrane will be neither a journal of music analysis, nor of music aesthetics, neither a journal of music history, nor even a journal of musicology. Instead, Filigrane intends to lie in wait for emerging signification, watching the development of artistic creation and its signs, and deciphering them, as far as possible. This implies extreme vigilance and, certainly, critical engagement, but also mistrust of certitudes. It is a long shot, without doubt, but approached in a spirit of honesty conceived to encourage exchange. The four founders of the journal do not necessarily agree on all the topics raised, but they do agree unanimously on the necessity of addressing with alacrity the difficult or ticklish themes that crop up along the precipice of art, be they political, social, spiritual…

4These topics will be focused on, one by one, in separate issues entrusted to a single coordinator with carte blanche. The journal vividly hopes to establish contacts with foreign thinkers and artists, particularly European, with whom it hopes to engage in a continued dialog. At the same time, it seeks to associate with researchers from the human sciences (philosophers, psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists, historians, etc.), even if they are not music specialists. The preoccupations expressed may intersect, and it will be up to our readers to explore the connections suggested by the editor. Moreover, as befits a journal dedicated to creation, every issue will offer a forum to one or more artists, who will offer testimony of their experiences and thought on art and the world, in the form of writings, conversations, or works.

5Contributions may be published in one of the following languages : French, German, English, or Spanish, and are always accompanied by résumés in these languages. Filigrane has chosen two forms of diffusion : online and print. The online version will facilitate European exchanges and constitute a lieu, a locus, of debate. The printed version remains the most comfortable to read and will be offered on a subscription basis. It is hoped that Filigrane will be able to fulfill its vocation as a European journal devoted to thinking about the meaning, the inscription, and the diverse forms of art embedded in societies confronted with an incomparable metamorphosis at the dawn of the twenty-first century. The responsibility of intellectuals and artists – together – is called upon in full measure.

6The first issue was conceived as a manifesto in which each of the co-founders develops a general reflection on the questions to be treated in future journals. Each one has offered a researcher or an artist the opportunity to join this inaugural inquiry, thereby providing a measure of its diversity. The order of the articles is not intended to imply a hierarchy of these questions, rather it traces a twofold path through the topics.

7Part One : The path departs from an investigation of the possibility of writing about music in the area called musicology (Joëlle Caullier) and ends with a critical evaluation of the current state of musical composition (Jean-Marc Chouvel). The intermediate steps are made up of thoughts concerning the utopian nature of music seen through the category of the present (Jean-Paul Olive), as well as a discussion of contemporary music and its relations with society (Makis Solomos).

8Part Two : The path leads from an examination of the possibility of talking about music, this time using a philosophical-aesthetic approach (Carmen Pardo Salgado), to the remarks of a composer concerning his reading of Husserl (Emmanuel Nunes). The intermediate steps call attention to the necessity of a renewed establishment of the question of meaning in the heart of musicology (Christian Hauer) and to an attempt to renew musicology using a new intellectual approach, mediology (Vincent Tiffon). A critical study completes the first issue, which considers the ‘instruments’ musicology has recently used to construct (naturaliser) listening, all the while retaining a historical dimension (Nicolas Donin).

9The next issue will be dedicated to the invisible traces in artistic activity, calling attention to the reverse side of things : hidden things, silent things, things that can’t – or shouldn’t – be said or shown ; finally, the human faculties of feeling, perceiving, symbolizing… Word is given to musicologists, art theorists, philosophers and artists. Following issues will bear the titles Composing (Writing) and Society, New Sensibilities, Music and Globalization…


Joëlle Caullier, Jean-Marc Chouvel, Jean-Paul Olive et Makis Solomos, «Musicology ?», Filigrane. Musique, esthétique, sciences, société. [En ligne], Numéros de la revue, Musicologies ?, mis à  jour le : 31/05/2011, URL : https://revues.mshparisnord.fr:443/filigrane/index.php?id=84.


Joëlle CaullierJean-Marc ChouvelJean-Paul Olive

Quelques mots à propos de :  Makis Solomos

Joyce Shintani