Music Theory

Recent Activities and Accomplishments

This page lists conference activity, publications, and other accomplishments of students and faculty in the music theory department. The most recent items are listed first. Items for inclusion on this page may be submitted to mustheor [at] indiana [dot] edu.

Regular events in the Music Theory Colloquium Series are not listed on this page. See our colloquium page for past and future colloquium series events.

Fall 2016

Samarotto essay included in award-winning collection

Professor Frank Samarotto's essay "Temporal Poise and Oblique Dynamic in the First Movement of Beethoven's 'Archduke Trio" was included in the collection Bach to Brahms: Essays on Musical Design and Structure, edited by David Beach and Yosef Goldenberg (University of Rochester Press, 2015), which won the Society for Music Theory's Outstanding Multi-Author Award at the society's annual meeting in Vancouver.

IU theorists active at SMT-AMS conference

Despite the distant location, the IU theory department was well represented at the annual meeting of the Society for Music Theory, a joint meeting with the American Musicological Society in Vancouver, British Columbia, on November 3–6. Eight faculty, about fifteen current graduate students, and numerous alumni of the department were in attendance.

Faculty and students who participated in the conference included the following:

  • PhD candidate Nathan Beary Blustein presented "Playwriting in Song: 'Reprise Types' in Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd."

  • PhD candidate Devin Chaloux chaired a session titled "Cipriano de Rore's Quincentenary: Looking Back at His Madrigals with Modern Eyes," sponsored by SMT's Early Music Analysis Interest Group.

  • Professor Julian Hook presented "On Intervals, Distances, and Groups" in the meeting of SMT's Mathematics of Music Analysis Interest Group; he also chaired a conference session titled "Concepts, Spaces, Sounds."

  • Professor Gretchen Horlacher presented "Movement in Music and Dance: A Neoclassical Collaboration for Orpheus."

  • Professor Andrew Mead presented "Between Innocence and Experience: How Analysis Might or Might Not Have Affected My Hearing of Milton Babbitt's Music"; he also chaired a conference session titled "Performing Babbitt and Morris."

  • PhD student Ryan Taycher presented "De fundamento discanti."

Alumni of the department who presented or chaired sessions at the conference included Bruno Alcalde (MM 2012), Sara Bakker (PhD 2013), Mark Butler (PhD 2003), Timothy Chenette (PhD 2013), Mitchell Ohriner (PhD 2011), and Victoria Malawey (PhD 2007).

Samarotto article published

Professor Frank Samarotto's article "The Urlinie, Melodic Energies, and the Dynamics of Inner Form" has appeared in a special issue (vol. 21, no. 2) of the Rivista di Analisi e Teoria Musicale devoted to Schenker's Formenlehre. An abstract of his article is available here.

GTA presents annual recital

On October 14, the annual Graduate Theory Association Fall Recital took place in Auer Hall. Performers included theory graduate students Chelsea Brinda (voice), Nicole DiPaolo (piano), Leah Frederick (viola), David Geary (voice), Stephen Gomez (euphonium), John Heilig (saxophone), Robert Komaniecki (voice), Stephen Komer (piano), Nathan Lam (clarinet), Emily Lamb (viola), Sarah Mahnken (euphonium), Jessica Sommer (oboe), and Lauren Wilson (guitar), as well as Professors Kyle Adams (piano) and Julian Hook (piano).

Samarotto presents workshop, lecture at Michigan

On October 7, Professor Frank Samarotto presented a lecture, "What's the Use of Outmoded Theories? Rehearing Brahms's Third Symphony" in the Carrigan Lecture Series at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. While in Ann Arbor he also led an analysis workshop.

Kraehenbuehl Prize awarded to Sherrill and Boyle

Congratulations to Paul Sherrill and Matthew Boyle, whose article "Galant Recitative Schemas" has been awarded the 2016 David Kraehenbuehl Prize of the Journal of Music Theory.

Paul completed his PhD in 2016, and Matthew is currently a PhD candidate. They are both students of Professor Roman Ivanovitch.

The Kraehenbuehl Prize, named for the journal's founding editor, is awarded biennially for the best article published in JMT by a scholar untenured at the time of submission—or, in this case, by two scholars who were graduate students at the time of submission! The winning article appeared in vol. 59, no. 1 (2015) of JMT. The award citation written by the selection committee reads as follows:

Some of us might have a tendency to drift off during those “notoriously formulaic” recitative passages especially within opera performances, while looking forward to the next gorgeous aria or ensemble. Thanks to the work of Sherrill and Boyle, we’ll be listening to recitatives more carefully at the next opportunity. Their very readable account provides an immediately useful typology of recitative gestures. As the authors thoroughly acknowledge, individual recitative gestures have been identified by others; Sherrill and Boyle are the first to create an inventory of the fifteen most common stock formulas, or schemas, that arise in recitatives from diverse vocal and instrumental genres in music ranging from Cesti, Carissimi, Handel, Galuppi, Gluck, Haydn, and Mozart to Beethoven, Rossini, Bellini, Mendelssohn, Wagner, and Stravinsky. The authors lay forth prototypical schema characteristics as bases for their categorization—morphological (contour) features, types of harmonic (continuo) support, semantic associations (for a few cases), and syntactic roles within phrase structures expressing initiatory, medial, and closing functions. They range widely through many relevant topics, including discussions of poetic meter, libretti, symbolism, repertoire, and contemporary treatises, and their scholarly apparatus references a wide range of scholarship, both historical and theoretical. They make the character of the schemas vivid by colorful, text-associated names and typical schema roles, placed in playful analogy with actions (ruff and finesse) in old-fashioned card games. The gestures are clear and so recognizable, and so immediately applicable, that we imagine the article will be frequently cited. Sherrill and Boyle’s fine analysis of scenes from the first act of Mozart’s Così fan tutte demonstrates what can happen to this distinct, “forgotten” recitative language in the dramatic imagination of an ingenious composer.

New students welcomed

In August 2016, the music theory department welcomed new students into our MM and PhD programs.

New MM students:

Tyler Erickson (Commack, NY). Tyler completed a Bachelor of Music degree in double bass performance at New York University. His interests include musical meter (particularly in Brahms) and post-tonal theory. He enjoys watching movies and dabbling in Korean traditional drumming.

Stephen Gomez-Peck (Orleans, MA). Stephen completed a bachelor’s degree in music education at Ithaca College. His interests include pedagogy, the analysis of music since World War II (with a special interest in Karel Husa), and jazz theory. Stephen loves running and being in nature, and as a trumpet player he particularly enjoys playing in concert bands and jazz ensembles.

Madeleine Howey (Watertown, SD). A percussionist, Madeleine graduated from Concordia College (Moorhead, MN) with a Bachelor of Arts in music and mathematics. Besides percussion, her musical interests include post-tonal theory, performance and analysis, and text setting.

Emily Lamb (Elizabethton, TN). Emily holds degrees in both viola performance and music theory from Furman University. Among her musical interests are string quartets, musical borrowing and quotation, and theory pedagogy. She also enjoys watching cooking shows, practicing yoga, and playing chamber music.

Stephen McFall (Aiken, SC). Stephen holds a bachelor’s degree in oboe performance with a minor in mathematics from Winthrop University (Rock Hill, SC). His interests include music perception and cognition, 20th- and 21st-century music, minimalism, and Nordic music. He also enjoys baking bread, keeping track of the news from Iceland, cheering for Swansea City football club, and spending time with his wife, Angelica, and their one-year-old son, Soren. 

New PhD students:

John Heilig (Cooper City, FL). John completed a bachelor’s degree in music theory at Florida State University and a master’s degree in music theory at IU. As a saxophonist, he is classically trained but also enjoys playing jazz. Besides the saxophone repertoire, his other interests include minimalism, text setting, and “all things pasta.”

Jinny Park (Tallahassee, FL). Jinny received a bachelor’s degree in cello performance from Florida State University and a master’s degree in music theory from IU. Her interests include philosophical approaches to music, medieval and Renaissance music, transformational theory, and twentieth-century sacred music. 

Aaron Sunstein. Aaron is a candidate for the Doctor of Music degree in organ performance at IU as he joins the PhD program in music theory. His interests include music of the 1620s as well as more recent composers such as Gunther Schuller, Mauricio Kagel, and Max Reger. In 2015 he premiered Schuller’s Symphony for Solo Organ in Boston. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree from Musikhögskolan i Piteå (Sweden). 

Abigail York (Kansas City, MO). Abigail holds a Bachelor of Music in music theory from the University of Missouri–Kansas City. Her interests include music theory pedagogy, rhythm and meter, and the synthesis of hermeneutical approaches deployed in literary criticism with approaches to meaning in music theory.

Spring 2016

Blustein presents in Sheffield, UK

On May 10, PhD candidate Nathan Beary Blustein presented his paper "'Playwriting in Song': 'Reprise Types' in Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd" at the conference "'Putting It Together': Investigating Sources for Musical Theatre Research" at the University of Sheffield in the UK.

IU theorists active at MTMW

Despite an inconvenient schedule that conflicted with IU's final exams, several students in the music theory department were able to attend the twenty-seventh annual conference of Music Theory Midwest at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Arkansas, on May 6–7.

Those presenting papers at the conference included the following:

  • PhD candidate Devin Chaloux presented "Liszt's Two Versions of His Requiem and the Revisionist's Case for a Double-Tonic Complex."

  • PhD candidate Chelsey Hamm presented "Charles Ives's 'Democratic' Treatment of Dissonances."

  • MM student Lauren Wilson presented "Babbitt's Soli e Duettini for Two Guitars: Dialogue with Oneself."

Papers were also presented by IU alumni Bruno Alcalde (MM 2012), Michael Baker (PhD 2007), Jonathan Guez (MM 2008), Justin Lavacek (PhD 2011), Nathaniel Mitchell (MM 2015), Abigail Shupe (MM 2009), and Brent Yorgason (PhD 2009), and sessions were chaired by alumni Melissa Hoag (PhD 2008) and Stan Kleppinger (PhD 2006).

In the recent MTMW elections, Professor Blair Johnston was elected to a two-year term as Area II Representative to the MTMW Executive Board, succeeding Professor Daphne Tan in that position. Devin Chaloux continues his term as Student Representative to the board, representing Areas II and IV.

Sherrill defends dissertation

On April 29, Paul Sherrill successfully defended his dissertation, "The Metastasian Da Capo Aria: Moral Philosophy, Characteristic Actions, and Dialogic Form," advised by Professor Roman Ivanovitch. Congratulations, Dr. Sherrill!

Mead presents at Eastman

On April 29, Professor Andrew Mead presented a talk titled "A Game of Tones: The Sense of Play in the Music of Milton Babbitt" at the Eastman School of Music. At a concert connected to the talk, Professor Mead's Six Concert Etudes for solo alto saxophone were performed.

Roush presents at RMSMT

On April 23, PhD candidate Katrina Roush presented her paper "Analysis of Subjective Listening Experiences: Attention and Affordances" at a joint conference of the Rocky Mountain Society for Music Theory, the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the American Musicological Society, and the Southwest Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Samarotto completes lecture tour

Between mid-March and mid-April, Professor Frank Samarotto traveled to three other universities for lectures and classes. He visited the University of Alabama as Endowed Chair in Theory and Composition, giving two lectures—one on Brahms and Ptolemy, the other on the Beatles and infinity—and teaching classes in counterpoint, form, and Schenkerian analysis. He also lectured and taught at Temple University in Philadelphia and at the University of North Texas.

Duke wins Wennerstrom AI Fellowship

The theory department is pleased to announced that PhD student Craig Duke is the 2016 winner of the Wennerstrom Music Theory Associate Instructor Fellowship.

Bauchat presents at MTSE/SCSMT

On April 1, PhD student Nikolas Bauchat presented his paper "Tonal Deception in Verdi's Macbeth II" at a joint conference of Music Theory Southeast and the South Central Society for Music Theory at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Ivanovitch accompanies student quartet to Beethoven-Haus

During IU's spring break in mid-March, Professor Roman Ivanovitch traveled to Germany with violin professor Alex Kerr and a JSoM student quartet for a week-long residency at the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, culminating in a concert of Beethoven, Mozart, and Mendelssohn (repeated the next day in Berlin). While in Bonn, the group engaged in intensive seminars and conversations with the scholars, editors, and librarians at the Beethoven-Haus, on topics related to their concert program, involving autograph manuscripts, editorial methodology, score analysis, and original-instrument practices. Professor Ivanovitch led a session on Mozart's Quartet in G Major, K. 387.

Taycher wins award at medieval symposium

PhD student Ryan Taycher's paper "De fundamento discanti" received an award for the best paper presented at the Ninth Annual Medieval Graduate Student Symposium. The symposium, sponsored by AVISTA, the Association Villard de Honnecourt for the Interdisciplinary Study of Technology, Science, and Art, took place at the University of North Texas on March 3–4. The winning paper was selected by keynote speaker Nicola Coldstream.

Congratulations, Ryan!

Mead article published in new Carter journal

Professor Andrew Mead's article "Fuzzy Edges: Notes on Musical Interaction in the Music of Elliott Carter" appears in the inaugural issue of the journal Elliott Carter Studies Online.

GTA presents annual symposium

The Graduate Theory Association presented its 22nd Annual Symposium of Research in Music Theory on February 19–20. GTA President Calvin Peck and more than fifteen other graduate students were involved in planning, chairing sessions, hospitality, technological assistance, and publicity for the symposium.

Keynote speaker William Rothstein (Graduate Center and Queens College, City University of New York) led a pre-conference workshop on "Deriving Imaginary Continuo from Eighteenth-Century Solo Instrumental Music" and delivered the keynote address, titled "Vogler, Meyerbeer, and the Chromatic Scale."

Other speakers at the symposium included several IU students and faculty members:

  • Professor Frank Samarotto delivered a featured presentation titled "Corelli, Counterpoint, and the Cambrian Explosion."

  • Professor Kyle Adams delivered a featured presentation titled "How Did Chromaticism Become an 'Ism'?"

  • MM student Jinny Park presented "1 + 1 = 1: Pärtian Symbolic Dualism in Te Deum."

  • PhD student David Geary presented "Interru ... Musical-Dramatic Impositions in Verdi's Ernani."

Tan article published in Theoria

Professor Daphne Tan's article "Beyond Energetics: Gestalt Psychology in Ernst Kurth's Musikpsychologie" has been published in Volume 22 of Theoria.

Johnston speaks at CCM

On January 29, Professor Blair Johnston presented a talk "Orchestrational Scenarios in the Music of Sibelius" at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music, as a part of CCM's Joseph and Frances Jones Poetker Thinking About Music Lecture Series.

Mead presents at IWU

Professor Andrew Mead visited another Bloomington on January 25, giving a presentation about his own music to composition students at Illinois Wesleyan University.

Fall 2015

Wennerstrom honored on retirement

The Department of Music Theory congratulates Mary Wennerstrom on the occasion of her retirement in December 2015. Professor Wennerstrom joined the IU faculty in 1964, chaired the theory department from 1979 to 2002, and served the Jacobs School of Music as Associate Dean for Instruction from 2002 until her retirement. She also served extended terms as Treasurer of the Society for Music Theory and Editor of the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy. A reception honoring Dean Wennerstrom was held in the Musical Arts Center lobby on December 11.

McClimon defends dissertation

On December 9, Michael McClimon successfully defended his dissertation, "A Transformational Approach to Jazz Harmony," advised by Professor Julian Hook. Congratulations, Dr. McClimon!

Kielian-Gilbert chapter published in Oxford Handbook

Professor Marianne Kielian-Gilbert's chapter "Disabled Moves: Disturbing/Activating Differences of Identity, Multi-Dimensional Music Listening" appears in The Oxford Handbook of Music and Disability Studies, edited by Blake Howe, Stephanie Jensen-Moulton, Neil Lerner, and Joseph Straus, and published by Oxford University Press in November 2015.

Professor Kielian-Gilbert is also the author of a chapter "Listening in Film: Music/Film Temporality, Materiality and Memory" in The Oxford Handbook of Film Music Studies, edited by David Neumeyer. This handbook, first published in 2013, was released in paperback in 2015.

Hook, Mead contribute to special issue of JMM

A special issue of the Journal of Mathematics and Music (volume 9, no. 2, 2015) on the subject of "Tone Rows and Tropes" features a long article of that title by Harald Fripertinger and Peter Lackner. Guest editors for the special issue were Professor Julian Hook and Robert Peck of Louisiana State University; the editors contributed a short introduction to the issue. Two other scholars, including Professor Andrew Mead, contributed response papers to the main article.

Horlacher presents in Portugal

Professor Gretchen Horlacher presented two papers and led a class during a visit to Portugal on November 5–6:

  • A lecture, "Movement and Music in Dance: A Neoclassical Collaboration for Orpheus" at the Institute of Ethnomusicology, a part of the Center for Music and Dance at Nova Universidade, Lisbon

  • A lecture, "Filling the Gap: Stravinsky's Compositional Method" at the Center for the Investigation of Science and Technology in the Arts at Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Porto

  • Also at Universidade Católica, a class, "Where Does Meter Come From: Teaching Students How to Count in Post-Tonal Music"

IU theorists active at SMT conference

The IU theory department was very well represented at the annual meeting of the Society for Music Theory in St. Louis, Missouri, on October 29–November 1, with at least eight faculty, 30 current graduate students, and numerous alumni in attendance.

Faculty and students who presented at the conference included the following:

  • Professor Kyle Adams presented "Palestrina, Zarlino, and the Cadence."

  • PhD student Nathan Beary Blustein presented "Stepwise Modulation as a Dramatic Device for Tonic Return in Musical Theater Songs."

  • PhD candidate Devin Chaloux presented "Phrygian Expectations and Denials."

  • Professor Julian Hook presented "Enharmonic Equivalence as an Equivalence Relation."

  • Professor Roman Ivanovitch introduced the conference's keynote speaker, Kofi Agawu of Princeton University. Professor Ivanovitch is also a contributor to the Oxford Handbook of Topic Theory, edited by Danuta Mirka, which was named the winner of a Citation of Special Merit at the SMT Awards ceremony.

  • PhD candidate Jason Jedlicka presented "Theatrical Time through Audio Technology: Steve Reich and Beryl Korot's Three Tales" (in the meeting of the Film and Multimedia Interest Group).

  • Professor Marianne Kielian-Gilbert presented "Resisting/Embracing Variability: A Music-Theoretic Aesthetics of Queering and Acts of Unbecoming."

  • PhD candidate Michael McClimon presented "Reconceptualizing the Lydian Chromatic Concept: George Russell as Historical Theorist."

  • Professor Andrew Mead chaired a session titled "Serialism."

  • Proferssor Frank Samarotto presented "Subdominant(s), Lower-Fifth Dividers, and Inversion in Schenkerian Theory."

  • PhD candidate Paul Sherrill presented "Susanna's 'Dei vieni.'"

  • Professor Daphne Tan presented "Kurth's Dynamic Dualism, or Three Responses to Riemann."

Many alumni of the department also presented at the conference, including recent alumni Danny Arthurs (PhD 2011), Timothy Chenette (PhD 2013), Diego Cubero (PhD 2014), Melissa Hoag (PhD 2008), Nathaniel Mitchell (MM 2015), Garrett Michaelsen (PhD 2013), Mitchell Ohriner (PhD 2011), and Simon Prosser (MM 2012).

GTA presents annual recital

On October 23, the annual Graduate Theory Association Fall Recital took place in Auer Hall. Performers included theory graduate students Nikolas Bauchat (piano), Matthew Boyle (piano), Nicole DiPaolo (piano), Thomas Craig Duke (voice), Leah Frederick (viola), Gabrielle Gaudreault (voice), John Heilig (alto and tenor saxophones), Katelyn Kozinski (violin and composer), Nathan Lam (organ and clarinet), Jinny Park (cello), Rogerio Shieh (Baroque cello), and Jessica Sommer (oboe); and Professor Julian Hook (piano).

Tan book review published in MTO

Professor Daphne Tan's review of Eric Clarke's Ways of Listening: An Ecological Approach to the Perception of Musical Meaning appears in Volume 21, No. 3 of Music Theory Online.

Mead presents at Reger Festival

On September 26, Professor Andrew Mead presented a paper "Slipping Off to Bayreuth: Max Reger's Not So Secret Tryst with Wagner" at the Max Reger Festival, sponsored by the Max Reger Foundation of America in partnership with the Jacobs School of Music. Professor Blair Johnston chaired the paper session.

Jedlicka presents paper in Finland

On September 25, PhD candidate Jason Jedlicka presented his paper "Theatrical Time through Audio Technology: Steve Reich and Beryl Korot's Three Tales" at Minimalism Unbounded!, the Fifth International Conference on Minimalist Music, held at the University of Turku and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland.

DiPaolo article published

In September, PhD student Nicole DiPaolo's article "Variations as Thematic and Structural Analysis: A Closer Look at Mozart's K331" was published in Volume 4, No. 1 of the Malaysian Music Journal

New students welcomed

In August 2015, the music theory department welcomed new students into our MM and PhD programs.

New MM students:

  • Emily Barbosa (Cambridge, Ontario). Emily completed her BMus in music theory and music education at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her interests include formal analysis (especially sonata theory), expressionism, and folk music. She also enjoys crocheting, watching cooking shows, and walking around barefoot.

  • Chelsea Brinda (Orlando, FL). A vocalist and pianist, Chelsea received bachelor's degrees in music theory and music education from the University of Florida. Her interests include German Lieder, the history of music theory, music theory pedagogy, and post-tonal theory. In her spare time she can often be found crocheting or sewing with her cat by her side.

  • Lauren Wilson (Brighton, MI). Lauren holds a bachelor's degree in guitar performance from Oakland University in Michigan. Among her interests are atonality, serialism, form, and expanding scholarship in the Classical guitar repertoire. Outside of music, Lauren enjoys running, traveling, and her cat, Florence.

New PhD students:

  • Leah Frederick (Manassas, VA). Leah holds a BMA in viola performance and a BS in mathematics from Penn State University. Her musical interests include Beethoven's string quartets, Classical form, performance and analysis, and transformational theory. She also enjoys cooking, running, and playing chamber music.

  • David Geary (Rochester, NY). David holds bachelor's degrees in music theory and music education from Ithaca College and an MA in music theory pedagogy from the Eastman School of Music, where he received a prize for excellence in teaching. His interests include nineteenth-century Italian opera, Schenkerian analysis, and music theory pedagogy.

  • Robert Komaniecki (Minneapolis, MN). Robert received a BA in music and and MA in music theory from the University of Minnesota. His primary interests are popular music and music theory pedagogy. He also enjoys science fiction novels, running, and singing bass in chamber choruses.

  • Stephen Komer (Chesterfield, MI). A squash player and coin collector, Stephen received a BM in piano performance from Oakland University (Rochester, MI) and an MM in music theory from IU. His interests include Renaissance and Baroque music and Schenkerian analysis.

  • Sarah Mahnken (Schleswig, IA). Sarah received a BA in music from Concordia University in Seward, NE and an MM in music theory from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where she wrote a thesis on scalar and collectional relationships in Shostakovich's Op. 87 fugues. Her other interests include scale theory, modes, and pitch centricity.

  • Zachary Zinser (San Diego, CA). Zack received a BM in piano and an MM in music theory from IU. His interests include pedagogy, Schenkerian analysis, tonal center preferences and associations in the early eighteenth century, pitch organization in popular music, and keyboard music of Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and Satie.


Previous years

Activities and Accomplishments 2014–15

Activities and Accomplishments 2013–14