Accepted paper:

About cats, aliens and numbers. At what cost do we rank musicians?

Authors:

Miriam Odoni (Université de Neuchâtel)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores judgement in international classical music competitions. My analysis compares two types of judging processes applied in a specific competition that implements a special evaluation system.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores judgement in international classical music competitions. In these competitions, a jury is responsible for evaluating the performances, often using a commensurate system, in other words attributing metric measures to different qualities. This distinguishes these music competitions from other types of musical evaluation. Musical criticism, for example, requires argumentation and justification, which is not the case for judging in international music competitions, where any discussion among the jury is, in principle, prohibited. My analysis compares two types of judging processes applied in a specific competition that implements a special evaluation system. Since 2011, the competition has awarded a "Coup de Coeur" prize. This prize is attributed by seven students in musicology ("La Jeune Critique"), who are specially trained in musical criticism. While all discussion is forbidden during deliberations of the official jury, this is not the case for "La Jeune Critique". In my fieldwork, I have observed multiple tensions in their discussions resulting in a particular way of communicating, including the use of metaphoric language. In contrast, the official jury remains silent about the individual choices of adjudicators and selects winners by means of a numeric ranking system. I will therefore discuss the paradoxes of quantifying performances tied to emotions and how severe this ranking system can be on the musicians.

panel P064
Investigating accountability: practices and performances [LAW NET]