Contemporary Music Review Call for Papers: Special Issue on the 21st Century Harp

Contemporary Music Review

The harp is among the most neglected instruments in the 21st century repertoire. Despite pioneering work by composers such as Salzedo in his Modern Study of the Harp (1921) and Berio in Sequenza II (1963), the harp remains an instrument immersed in classical stereotypes and is often shunned by contemporary composers. As Berio wrote, "French impressionism has left us with a rather limited version of the harp, as if its most obvious characteristic were that of lending itself to the attention of loosely robed girls with long blond tresses, capable of drawing from it nothing more than seductive glissandi." Most composers have also ignored the many different types of harps, such as the lever harp, wire-strung harp, triple-harp, South-American harp, Burmese saung-gauk or Mauritian ardin. These instruments provide alternatives to the dominance of the Western harp trajectory, and open up new possibilities for composers.

We are interested in new research on the technical, sonic and socio-economic reasons for the role of the harp in the 21st century. For this special issue we invite proposals on:

  • The gender politics of the 21st century harp
  • Technological developments for the instrument
  • New ways to compose for the harp
  • Microtonality and the harp
  • The role of the harp in contemporary ensembles
  • The use of the harp in experimental music
  • The harp and electronics

Other topics may be considered at the discretion of the guest editors.

Submission Instructions

Abstracts of 300 words or less should be sent to by 1 April 2017. Authors will be notified by 30 April 2017 if they are selected to submit a full paper. Full papers will be due 31 August 2017.

For more information on Contemporary Music Review including full submissions instructions, please visit the journal's website:

Editorial information

  • Guest Editor: Ailie Robertson
  • Guest Editor: Gabriella Dall'Olio