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Call for Papers: The Business of Music Symposium (February 21, 2024)

October 13, 2023

Mississippi State University Libraries is pleased to announce the second annual Business of Music Symposium to be held as part of the 18th Annual Charles H. Templeton, Sr. Ragtime & Jazz Festival. The Symposium will take place on Wednesday, February 21, and the Ragtime Festival will follow on February 22-24, 2024.

The Symposium is a free multidisciplinary gathering that aims to encourage and support research and scholarship on topics related to the Charles H. Templeton, Sr. "Business of Music" Collection at the Mitchell Memorial Library on the campus of Mississippi State University.

The Templeton Collection focuses on music business during the Ragtime era (1890-1930), but paper proposals may cover any era of the sheet music and recording industries. The Templeton Music Collection includes approximately 20,000 pieces of sheet music, over 200 instruments, 2,000 cylinders and 14,000 flat discs. More information about the collection, as well as digitized material from the collections, is available in Scholars Junction.

The first day of the symposium will be in-person; the second day will be reserved for virtual presentations. Submissions are now open for proposals for individual presentations and panels. Presentations based on research conducted using the Templeton Collections are encouraged, although use of the collections is not a requirement for acceptance.

Possible topics include:

  • Careers of individual singers, composers, or people otherwise involved in creating music
  • Role and impact of individual publishing houses or record labels
  • Art and design themes of sheet music and record sleeve covers
  • Approaches to teaching with sheet music
  • Intersections of art, design, and commerce: musical instruments and machines as home décor
  • Music and advances in recording and playback technology
  • Issues of race, gender, class, and ethnicity in the sheet music and recording industries

Please submit an abstract (with title) of no more than 300 words and a brief professional bio by December 1, 2023. Pre-selected panels of 3-4 presenters are welcome; individual presentations will be assembled into panels by the program committee. Individual papers should be no longer than 20 minutes and complete panels should not exceed 60 minutes. Please also indicate if you are able to present virtually, in-person, or both and if you would like your presentation to be recorded and/or streamed.

We welcome proposals from scholars at all stages of their professional and academic careers.

Chip and Connie Templeton Research Scholarship

The Chip and Connie Templeton Scholarship, which is $500 to be applied towards the costs of presenting at the Symposium, will once again be offered for the 2024 Symposium. To apply, please complete the scholarship entry form and include your name, affiliation, proposed session title, and a brief summary (not more than 500 words) on how the funds would positively affect your participation in the symposium. Deadline for applications for the scholarship is November 15, 2023. While the use of the Templeton Collection is not a requirement of the award, preference is given to scholars who have utilized the collection in their research.

About the Charles H. Templeton Ragtime and Jazz Festival

The Charles Templeton, Sr. Ragtime & Jazz Festival is sponsored by the MSU Libraries and the Charles Templeton Sr. Music Museum as a means of enhancing the research in the area of ragtime music, increasing the awareness of the Templeton collection housed in the MSU Library and introducing people to the sounds of Ragtime being performed by world-renowned ragtime musicians.

The festival is comprised of a blend of major concerts, mini-concerts, seminars and tours of the Music Museum. Seminars are held in Mitchell Memorial Library and major concerts are held at the Bettersworth Auditorium in Lee Hall on the MSU Campus. For more information about the festival visit