Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Multidisciplinarity in Practice: A Reflection on Consonance, Dissonance, or, perhaps, Noise?

Dr. Giselle dos Santos Ferreira.

The notions of ‘consonance’ and ‘dissonance’ in music have had a very interesting history to which multiple discipline-oriented perspectives have contributed: music theory, psychoacoustics, music performance, acoustics, to name just a few. Dissonances in tonal music have particular roles in fostering variety and interest, which are, nevertheless, normally referred to as ‘tension’ that must invariably lead to ‘resolution’ or ‘rest’ in a consonance. An extreme position equates dissonance to ‘noise’: the loud, the inappropriate, the unwanted. In this paper I explore, with basis on post-structuralist theories of discourse, an encounter of various ways of conceptualising and, potentially, perpetuating, these notions, by presenting a reflection upon a particular educational setting which I have personally integrated. This setting, construed as an instantiation of a ‘multidisciplinary collaboration’, has been provided by the developmental stage of a team-produced distance learning course on the technology of music. Drawing primarily on the work of Foucault and Bakhtin, I examine that setting in its political and ideological aspects. The developmental process is presented as a site of contestation, conflict and negotiation of discourses particular to various ‘institutions’ – e.g., academic disciplines, professions, music-making groups, institutional departments – brought to bear on the process through the interactions amongst its participants. In agreement with previous deconstructions of the dichotomies consonance/dissonance and art/technology, the discussion concludes by proposing a parallel between a notion of ‘interdisciplinarity’ and contemporary notions of ‘noise’ that ultimately transcend those dichotomies and construe ‘noise’ as legitimate musical materials.


Dr. Giselle dos Santos Ferreira  (United Kingdom)

  • Music
  • Technology
  • Education
  • Discourses
  • Multidisciplinarity
  • Interdisciplinarity

(Virtual Presentation, English)