February 17: Abigail Fine

We will be welcoming music history PhD candidate Abigail Fine to present material from her dissertation on Wednesday, February 17 at 4:30pm in Logan 801. The pre-circulated document is available here; John Lawrence will serve as respondent.

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February 3: Marcelle Pearson

At our next workshop, Marcy Pierson will present “Mass Textures and Textures for the Masses in Xenakis’ Music.” Max Silva will serve as respondent. The document is available on the downloads page here.

We hope to see you at 4:30pm on Wednesday, February 3 in Logan 801.

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January 20: Anabel Maler and Lindsay Wright

We are excited to welcome Anabel Maler and Lindsay Wright to the workshop on Wednesday, January 20 (4:30-6:00 in Logan 801). They will both be presenting material from their dissertation proposals. The two documents offered for precirculation are available here. Anabel and Lindsay welcome your comments and suggestions.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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January 6: Abstracts Workshop

We are looking forward to our special abstract-writing workshop this Wednesday, January 6, from 5-6:30pm. All are welcome, regardless of whether their abstract is being reviewed! Please note the different location this week: JRL264.

For all writing abstracts this season, here is a helpful document from one of our faculty sponsors, Berthold Hoeckner.

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December 2: Dan Wang

We are excited to welcome Dan Wang to this week’s installment of the Music History/Theory workshop. Dan will present a case study from one chapter of his dissertation on Wagner’s song contest operas. The document is available here.

We hope to see you on Wednesday, December 2 at 4:30pm in the Logan Terrace Room 801.


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November 18: Jess Peritz

We are excited to welcome Music History student Jess Peritz to the workshop on Wednesday, November 18 (4:30pm in Logan 801) to present material from her dissertation proposal, The Lyric Mode of Voice: Song and Subjectivity in Italy, 1769 – 1815 (download the document here). Lester Hu will serve as respondent.

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Jess has suggested that workshop attendees focus primarily on the overview of the project (pp. 1-10); if time allows, we will also discuss the case study at the workshop, (17-27). For interested parties, Jess has also included the literature review (10-16), chapter summaries (27-33), and a brief appendix.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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October 7: Lawrence Zbikowski

We are thrilled to have Professor Lawrence Zbikowski launch this year’s workshop with his paper, “Music and the Simulation of Emotions.” The abstract appears below; download the pre-circulated paper here. Please join us for this inaugural event in Logan Terrace Room 801 from 4:30 to 6:00 pm on Wednesday, October 7.


In this paper I build on recent work on the simulation of emotions to develop an account of how musical organization shapes emotional responses. According to the model developed by Paula Niedenthal and her colleagues, emotional responses to social signals such as smiles activate psychological and physical processes that are similar to those that underlie the signal. The result is an embodied simulation of an emotional response. Such simulations may result in overt emotional displays (responding to a smile with a smile) but they may also be associated with more complex behaviors (such as those involved with responding to a feigned smile, or one used to assert dominance). Key to the shaping of such complex behavior is conceptual knowledge. Through a close reading of the Andante from J.S. Bach’s Second Sonata for Unaccompanied Violin, I illustrate how conceptual knowledge activated by sequences of musical sound can inform emotional responses. I further suggest how this approach can address problems associated with the study of emotional responses to music, and how it could be developed in experimental contexts.

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Autumn 2015

We are pleased to announce the calendar for this autumn’s Music History and Theory Workshop.

October 7         Lawrence Zbikowski, “Music and the Simulation of Emotions.”

October 21       Dry-Runs for the Society of Music Theory presenters

November 4    Dry-Runs for the American Musicological Society presenters

November 18  Jess Peritz, Dissertation Proposal Materials

December 2     Dan Wang, Dissertation Chapter Materials

The workshop will meet from 4:30 to 6:00 on these Wednesdays. On 10/7, 11/4, 11/18, and 12/2 the workshop will be held in Logan 801; on 10/21, the workshop will be held in Logan 802.


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Autumn 2015 Workshop Dates

Music History and Theory Workshop will meet on the following dates this quarter: mark your calendars now, and stay tuned for further details once the fall schedule is confirmed.

  • October 7
  • October 21
  • November 4
  • November 18
  • December 2

SMT presentation dry-runs will be held on 10/21, and AMS dry-runs will be held on 11/4. IF you have not done so already, please contact Braxton or Lindsay to reserve a spot to present at either meeting.

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June 3: Gary Tomlinson

We are beyond delighted to welcome distinguished guest, Gary Tomlinson, for our final workshop of the quarter, taking place next Wednesday, June 3rd (4:30-6:00 PM in Logan 801). Professor Tomlinson will be discussing his recently published book, A Million Years of Music: The Emergence of Human Modernity  (Zone Books/MIT Press, 2015), a richly woven narrative about the evolution of human musicking capacities, drawing on cognitive studies, archeology, and evolutionary theory, among other fields. For those pressed for time, he has recommended reading Chapter 1, the end of Chapter 6 (starting on page 225), and all of Chapter 7, skimming pp. 237-260.

Please join us as we crown this year’s workshop series with a lively discussion on musical beginnings!


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