Anno Mungen is head of the Institute for Music Theatre Studies (fimt) of the University of Bayreuth, Knut Holtsträter is research fellow. They are the editors of Act.

Issue 1

September 2010

ISSN 2191-253X


von Anno Mungen and Knut Holtsträter

Today we are very pleased to be able to present the first issue of a new scholarly journal, Act – Zeitschrift für Musik & Performance, dedicated to the great subject of music and performance. Act thus continues the theme that is the focus of the similarly named course of studies at the University of Bayreuth's Research Institute for Music Theater Studies (Forschungsinstitut für Musiktheater or fimt), in Thurnau, Germany.

Act is intended to strengthen both a broad conception of performance as well as a broad concept of music and thereby open up new areas of research in theatrical and mediatised forms of communication.

Music and performance play a dual role in a course of studies and in a journal, not least because of the purpose of the Research Institute in Thurnau, which has the great privilege of dedicating its work specifically to music theatre research. Accordingly, the topics that will be taken up in the journal will be the "conventional" forms of musical theatre: opera, operetta, musicals, dance, and so forth. However, our understanding of musical theatre is based on the belief that aspects of the topic are also found in areas to which little scholarly attention has thus far been paid and which at first glance might even appear to be incompatible.

Whereas the first issue of our journal with its two large articles on ballet music as well as on concert and theatre has not been organised around a more narrowly defined theme, the second issue, now in the planning stage, is specifically dedicated to a new field of music theatre research: video games.

The common denominator and likewise the central theme for all articles in our journal is the focus on performance contexts. Originating in the nomenclature of the discipline, Act functions at the interface of musicology and theatre, dance, and media studies.

Why the title Act? The English verb, which we have adopted for our publication, refers to what the journal should be about: human actors, who are behind all histories, signs, spaces, and pictures and who bring the artwork or cultural expression to life. Acting on stage or in the context of the media lends the "work" its fleeting nature, which is so difficult to grasp in words.

The journal will offer the opportunity to turn this difficulty into a major theme and stimulate new approaches to research into the topic. Morever, we have high hopes that the name will soon be widely talked about and that through lively oral transmission, the contents of the journal will be widely disseminated.

Along with large scholarly articles, which will follow the topical theme of each issue, there will be sections for reviews and information. The latter will be only as good as the information we receive. For this reason we would like to hear from our readers about relevant prizes, conferences, and other pertinent news and events.

The reviews are conceived as review essays, meaning that they may be more comprehensive than is usually the case. They may also evaluate multiple sources and, if necessary, include critical apparatus. We will welcome proposals for titles that you as authors wish to review.

Each issue starting with the next will be supervised by a single editor. Melanie Fritsch of fimt will oversee the next thematic issue, about which we are very pleased.

The journal is available on the Internet at no cost, thanks to the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), which has provided start-up funding. We express our deep gratitude for this support.

Anno Mungen and Knut Holtsträter