Researchers in the TENOR field often come from a variety of research fields and their disciplinary conventions, some cognate (music technology, music cognition, music information processing etc.), some similar (other ephemeral arts), some more distant (seismology, ecology,etc.) Nevertheless, most TENOR projects come from a similar need or desire to capture ephemeral phenomena – but without the resources and reference frameworks of an established field, most of these attempts were made in intellectual and technological isolation. Furthermore, in Europe, in particular, a considerable amount of artistic research is not on the academic radar because it is conducted by arts institutions, organisations and creative individuals who regard their research as artistic intellectual property that they can or need not share in academic forums.
While the annual conferences thus have made us aware of the widespread cross-disciplinary interest in TENOR, we do not yet have a clear sense of where research into (or potentially useful to) TENOR actually happens beyond the research-creation focused institutions we are part of.
The current network has too many blind spots – while it involves 4 UK institutions, 2 institutions each from France, North America and Australia and one from Germany, entire areas of the globe are not present at all: Asia, Eastern Europe & Russia, South America and Africa. We currently know very little about TENOR activities in these regions of the world. Another important question are current imbalances in the representation of gender, popular music genres, non-European music systems.
This survey explores the thematic, geographical, technological and aesthetic breadth and depth of this emerging field – and helps us to better direct cross-disciplinary axes of inquiry. These will then be explored further in specific research workshops, specialized discussion groups and perhaps online fora.