Jan. 21: David Levin

We are thrilled to welcome Professor David Levin (Jan. 21, 4:30–6:00 p.m., Logan 801), who will present a paper on “Adorno’s Spectacles: Stravinsky and the Place of Dialectics.” Professor Levin writes:

“In the course of his critique of Stravinsky, Theodor Adorno famously argued that Stravinsky’s music denied the musical subject a basis from which to engage the rhythmic displacement that so forcefully and so thoroughly characterized his music.  Unlike the modernist practices which Adorno celebrated, the rhythmic strategies of Stravinsky’s music purportedly stood in for a compositional practice that canceled meaningful critical engagement.  The question that I propose to pursue in this paper involves a dimension that Adorno, in his critique, tended to disregard, namely, the role of mise-en-scene in the disposition of Stravinsky’s work.  What happens when the auditor is also a spectator, when the composition in question is staged, its musical discourse supplemented by embodied action?  And given the range and diversity of productions of The Rite of Spring, could one imagine a choreographic practice that displaces the displacement?  What would such a practice entail?  And what would be its consequences?”

We look forward to what is sure to be a stimulating and indeed spectacular talk!

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Winter 2015 Schedule

Jan. 7      AMS/SMT 2015 Abstract Review

Jan. 21    David Levin, Professor of Germanic Studies/Cinema and Media Studies
                        Adorno’s Spectacles: Stravinsky and the Place of Dialectics

Feb. 4     Gilad Cohen, Asst. Professor of Music Performance/Theory at Ramapo College
                        ‘Breaking Away From the Pack’: 
                        Unique Large-Scale Structure in Pink Floyd’s Song “Dogs”

Feb. 18   Sarah Iker, PhD Candidate in Music History/Theory
                        Dissertation Chapter

Mar. 4     Zach Loeffler and Max Silva, PhD Students in Music History/Theory
                        Proposal Case Studies

All sessions held in Logan 801 on select Wednesday afternoons, 4:30–6:00.
Refreshments provided. For announcements and updates, join our Listserv. See you there!

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Dec. 3: James Symons

Please join us for our final workshop of the quarter with special guest James Symons, a PhD Candidate in Music Theory and Cognition at Northwestern. James will be discussing an excerpt from his dissertation, “Temporal Regularity as a Key to Uncovering Statistically Significant Schemas in an Eighteenth-Century Corpus” (accessible here). Our own John Lawrence will serve as respondent. As always, we will meet on Wednesday from 4:30 to 6:00 in Logan 801, buoyed by assorted refreshments and animated exchange.

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Nov. 12: Tommaso Sabbatini

Scribe and Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine: a world-minded Parisian opera

Please join us this Wednesday (Nov. 12, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m., Logan 801) for Tommaso Sabbatini’s presentation of his paper for a conference on nineteenth-century grand opera outside Paris. Lauren Eldridge will serve as respondent. Tommaso’s draft is available here; his abstract may be viewed here.

We hope you will brave the oncoming polar vortex to share snacks, beverages, and lively discussion with us!

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Oct. 29: AMS Presentations

4:30 Ted Gordon - “Sound is God: La Monte Young and Pandit Pran Nath in New York”

5:15 Miriam Tripaldi - “Dispelling the Western Myth: Opera, Mobility, Experimentation, and the Emergence of the Russian Nation in Saint Petersburg”

We are proud to welcome our own Ted Gordon and Miriam Tripaldi next Wednesday, Oct. 29, as they gear up for their approaching AMS Milwaukee presentations. Abstracts are accessible here. Please join us over refreshments for what promises to be a lively and enlightening exchange in Logan 801, 4:30-6:00 p.m.

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Oct. 22: Peter Gillette

Columnated Ruins Domino, 1966:
Reading the Beach Boys’ “Surf’s Up” as Critique of Lincoln Center 

Please join us next Wednesday (October 22, 4:30–6:00 p.m., Logan Terrace Room 801) as we plunge ears first into the Beach Boys’ “Surf’s Up,” led by our friend and colleague Peter Gillette. To wet your whistle, check out his paper here and a special version of the song here. Peter’s work on this topic grows out of ongoing ethnographic and archival research on the social and material history of the New York Philharmonic. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Oct. 8: Professor Lawrence Zbikowski, “Words and Music”

We are delighted to launch this year’s workshop series with a special presentation from Professor Lawrence Zbikowski on his current book project, Toward a Cognitive Grammar of Music. Our discussion will center especially on the book’s sixth chapter, “Words and Music” (downloadable here). You are cordially invited to join us for this exciting inaugural event in Logan Terrace Room 801 on Wednesday, October 8, 4:30 – 6:00.

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Fall 2014 Schedule

We’re pleased to announce the fall calendar of events for the Music History and Theory Workshop. We hope you’ll join us as we kick off the year with a special presentation from our very own Professor Lawrence Zbikowski next Wednesday, Oct. 8.

Oct. 8              Lawrence Zbikowski 
                        “Words and Music,” from Toward a Cognitive Grammar of Music

Oct. 22            Peter Gillette (University of Iowa)
                        “Columnated Ruins Domino, Summer 1966:
                        Reading The Beach Boys’ Surf’s Up as Critique of Lincoln Center”

Oct. 29            AMS 2014 Dry Runs

                        Ted Gordon
                        Sound is God: La Monte Young and Pandit Pran Nath in New York”

                        Miriam Tripaldi
                        “Dispelling the Western Myth: Opera, Mobility, Experimentation,
                        and the Emergence of the Russian Nation in Saint Petersburg”

Nov. 12           Tommaso Sabbatini
                        “Intimate Space and Popular Spectacle: Revue, Magic Lantern, and War
                        in Maurice Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortilèges

Dec. 3              James Symons (Northwestern University)
                        “A Cognitivitely Inspired Musical Concordance”

Each session will be held in Logan Terrace Room 801 on a Wednesday afternoon, 4:30-6:00. Refreshments will be served; spirited colloquy will ensue. You can join our Listserv here. We look forward to seeing you at upcoming workshops!

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Final Workshop of the Quarter and End-of-Year Celebration: Marcy Pierson!

Join us next week for our final workshop, Marcy Pierson with respondent George Adams! The pre-circulated reading is available on the downloads page with the password erasure.We’ll be partying at this last workshop of the year, with a spread catered by Chipotle to accompany our tasty conversation!

Here are the meeting details:
Logan Terrace Seminar Room (801)
Wednesday, June 4
4:30 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
Marcy writes:
The Voice under Erasure in Darmstadt and beyond

Modernist composers since 1950 or so have evinced a marked disease with melody and thus, I argue, with the voice. The composers in my dissertation exploit the expressive power of the singing voice, but also find it imperative to intervene, to obstruct. I am particularly concerned with those who express ambivalence toward, rather than an outright rejection of, melody and singing: composers who invoke them, but also put them under erasure by distorting them in various ways. This chapter will introduce this project by delineating its scope, elucidating its theoretical foundations, and outlining its methodology.
See you there!
Ana and Chelsea
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A Second Pair of Proposals: Liz Hopkins and Patrick Fitzgibbon

Dear all,

Join us for next week’s workshop, where we’ll discuss proposal materials from Patrick Fitzgibbon and Liz Hopkins! Pre-circulated materials are available here, with the password proposals.


Music, Science, and Science Fiction: The Feeling of Knowing

Liz Hopkinsforbiddenplanet

My project looks at the use of electronic music in science fiction films and nature documentaries from the 1960s and 70s. I am considering ways in which this music was developed to convey emotional, physical, and ideological meaning through connotation and denotation, as well as the underlying philosophies of compositional processes. I argue that these sound tracks become a means of understanding the mass cultural assimilation of and emotional relationship with science, technology, and ways of knowing.




Musical Rule-Breaking, 1450-1800

Patrick Fitzgibbon

Patrick Workshop Image
Rules are the basic stuff of music theory. My project looks at what happens when they get broken. Through a series of case studies on characteristic early-modern texts, I explore musical rules in relation to sites of authority and enforcement; notions of mistake and misconduct; inflections of socioeconomic rank; and processes of discursive activation/sublimation. The main question is: why should a musician, past or present, not only fail to heed rules but also seek to breach them?


The paper I have forwarded for your consideration comes from my prospectus-in-progress. Following several pages surveying my overall topic, the paper sketches in a few of the issues that I view as central to each case study. I would be most grateful for your help identifying any future pitfalls or paths forward that you find especially striking.

The workshop will take place on Wednesday, May 21, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., in the Logan Terrace Seminar Room (801). See you there for food, drink, and delicious discussion!

Ana and Chelsea

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