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 2017

Kielian-Gilbert chapter published in Britten volume

Professor Marianne Kielian-Gilbert is the author of "'Compassion with the Abyss': Sensory Estrangement in Britten's Late Works Death in Venice, Op. 88, and Phaedra, Op. 93," which appears in Essays on Benjamin Britten from a Centenary Symposium, published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Rite of Spring book features contributions by Horlacher and Kielian-Gilbert

Indiana University Press has announced the publication of The Rite of Spring at 100. Professor Gretchen Horlacher is one of the volume's coeditors, along with Maureen Carr (Penn State University) and Severine Neff (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Professor Horlacher is also the author of the 21st of the volume's 25 chapters, titled "Rethinking Blocks and Superposition: Form in the 'Ritual of the Two Rival Tribes.'" Professor Marianne Kielian-Gilbert contributed Chapter 23, "Dissonant Bells: The Rite's 'Sacrificial Dance.'" IU alumnus John Reef (PhD 2014) was involved in the editorial preparation of the volume, and, with PhD candidate Christy Keele, edited and wrote an introduction to Chapter 18, "An Interview with Composer Vladimir Tarnopolski."

New students welcomed

In August 2017, the music theory department welcomed new students into our MM and PhD programs.

New MM students:

Peter Cho (Saint John, New Brunswick). Peter holds a BMus in viola performance from Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s, Newfoundland. He is interested in set theory, Classical form, and new music. His hobbies include but are not limited to cooking, eating, reading outside, and wandering around aimlessly listening to music.

Thomas Cooke (Kings Mountain, NC). Thomas holds a bachelor’s degree in music theory from Furman University. His musical interests include music cognition, neo-tonal music, and microtonal music. He also enjoys hiking, reading classic novels, and target shooting, and fancies himself to be an “amateur cigar nut.” 

Mítia D’Acol (Ribeirão Preto, Brazil). Mítia completed a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s in musicology at the University of São Paulo. His interests include music communication, topic theory, and galant schemata. He also enjoys singing in choirs, baking bread, and backpacking.

Trevor Hofelich (Chesapeake, VA). Trevor earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in composition at Mannes College in New York City. At Mannes, he held a teaching assistantship, presented a paper on Shostakovich at the Mannes Graduate Theory Conference, and received several awards, including the Felix Salzer Techniques of Music Award upon graduation and the Bohuslav Martinů Composition Award for his orchestral piece Stories of a Phantom. He is a dedicated violinist and writer. 

Michele Newman (Grapevine, TX). Michele completed a bachelor’s degree in music theory and composition at the University of North Texas. She holds a particular fondness for the music of early twentieth-century American composers and is interested in rhythm and meter, the influence of motivic development on form, and differences in perception between the composer’s and listener’s perspectives. When she is not analyzing scores or writing music, she can sometimes be found reading, rooting for the Dallas Stars, or playing with her dog.

Mariam Osman (Tampa, FL). Mariam completed bachelor’s degrees in music and mathematics at the University of South Florida and a master’s degree in English and creative writing at Southern New Hampshire University. Her interests include piano performance, symphonic literature, Schenkerian analysis, and mathematical applications to musical analysis, as well as computation theory, quantum mechanics, and theoretical linguistics.

Despoina Panagiotidou (Drama, Greece). Despoina received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki, Greece. Her musical interests include twentieth-century Greek music (especially the music of Constantinos Kydoniatis), sonata theory, and music perception and cognition. She enjoys traveling, hiking (even better when the two are combined), and playing the flute.

Anna Peloso (Simi Valley, CA). Anna earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in percussion performance at California State University Northridge, and a certificate in audio engineering at Citrus College in Glendora, CA. She has taught private percussion and piano lessons for many years, as well as aural skills courses at CSU Northridge. Her interests include twentieth-century music and music theory pedagogy.

Rachel Rosenman (Mercer Island, WA). Rachel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, with majors in music and French studies. Her interests include late-Romantic French music, jazz theory, and musical semiotics. A clarinetist, she enjoys performing chamber music for winds.

New PhD students:

Emily Barbosa (Cambridge, Ontario). Emily completed her BMus in Music Theory and Music Education at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, and her MM in Music Theory at Indiana University. She is a big fan of tonality, and her current research interests include Schenkerian analysis, music and the emotions, and folk music. In her spare time, Emily enjoys working on her “favourite (sic) hobby”: taking naps!

Christa Cole (Boise, ID). Christa received a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from Oberlin Conservatory. Her interests include twentieth-century music (especially music by Alberto Ginastera), performance and analysis, and music theory pedagogy. She also enjoys cooking, hiking, listening to podcasts, and eating cheese.

John Mattessich (Saint Paul, MN). John holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music theory from Drake University in Des Moines, IA, and a Master of Music degree from The Florida State University, also in music theory. His main research areas include music and meaning as well as popular music. Other interests include meaninglessness, unpopular music, and cooking.

Loida Osorio (Houston, TX). Lois received a bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas at Arlington and a master’s degree at Texas State University, both in music theory. Her interests include music perception and cognition, music and disability, formal ambiguities and harmonic anomalies in Classical music (especially Beethoven), and music theory pedagogy.


Summer 2017

Brinda and Sommer present at Society for Music Perception and Cognition Conference

Current students Chelsea Brinda (MM) and Jessica Sommer (PhD) recently presented at the Society for Music Perception and Cognition Conference. Brinda presented two posters entitled "Moved by the music: comparing a music theory analysis to psychophysiological responses in listeners" and "Shaping the Undergraduate Aural Skills Class: A Comparison of Traditional Dictation Strategies and Informal Learning Strategies"; and Sommer presented on a paper entitled "Effects of Metrical Dissonance and Expertise on Perceptions of Emotion in the Music of Robert Schumann".

Hook presents at NetSci conference

On June 22, Professor Julian Hook presented an invited banquet talk, "Music as a Mathematician's Playground," at NetSci 2017, an annual international conference on network science, in Indianapolis. Following the talk Professor Hook collaborated with violinist Sun Huh on a short concert of music for violin and piano.

Taycher named Scholar-in-Residence at Newberry Library

PhD candidate Ryan Taycher has been named a Graduate Scholar-in-Residence at Chicago's Newberry Library for 2017–18. As he works toward the completion of his dissertation on fourteenth-century polyphony, Ryan will have full access to the library's outstanding collections and will participate in the Newberry's active community of scholars.

Students present at "Pedagogy into Practice" conference

On June 1–3, three IU students presented their work at the conference "Pedagogy into Practice: Teaching Music Theory in the Twenty-First Century" at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee:

  • PhD students David Geary and Robert Komaniecki presented a joint paper titled "Building a Bridge: Transitioning from Tonal to Post-Tonal Aural Skills in the Undergraduate Core Curriculum."
  • MM student Chelsea Brinda presented a poster titled "Shaping the Undergraduate Aural Skills Class: A Comparison of Traditional Dictation Strategies and Informal Learning Strategies."
A new face in the office

In early June the theory and musicology departments bade farewell to Alice Corey, our administrative secretary since 2013. We are pleased to welcome Jennifer Diaz as our new administrative secretary.

DiPaolo book review published in JMTP

PhD candidate Nicole DiPaolo's review of Music Theory for Beginners by R. Ryan Endris appears in volume 29 of the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy.

IU theorists active at MTMW

Several students, faculty, and alumni of the music theory department attended the 28th annual conference of Music Theorty Midwest at Iowa City, Iowa, on May 19–20.

Four IU students presented papers at the conference:

  • PhD student Craig Duke presented "Problematizing Closed Structures and Stufen in Wagner's Ring."

  • PhD student Leah Frederick presented "Generic (Mod-7) Voice-Leading Spaces."

  • PhD candidate Nathan Lam presented "Modal Spelled Pitch Classes."

  • PhD student Robert Komaniecki presented "Coercing the Verse: An Analysis of Musical Relationships between Lead and Guest Rappers."

Professor Julian Hook chaired a session titled "Systematics," which included the papers by Leah and Nathan. Professor Blair Johnston chaired a session titled "The Metatheoretical Turn."

IU alumni who presented at the conference included Jonathan Guez (MM 2008), Stanley Kleppinger (PhD 2006), and Paul Sherrill (PhD 2016). Congratulations also to Stan Kleppinger for his election as MTMW's next president (2017–19).

Spring 2017

Sommer wins Wennerstrom AI Fellowship

The theory department is pleased to announce that PhD student Jessica Sommer is the 2017 winner of the Wennerstrom Music Theory Associate Instructor Fellowship.

Tan article published in JMT

Professor Daphne Tan's article "'As Forming Becomes Form': Listening, Analogizing, and Analysis in Kurth's Bruckner and Musikpsychologie" appears in vol. 61, no. 1 of the Journal of Music Theory, pp. 1–28.

Hook performs at Battersby memorial concert

On April 6, Professor Julian Hook performed Brahms's Capriccio in B Minor, Op. 76, No. 2 at a memorial celebration for Edmund Battersby, Professor of Piano, in Auer Hall. Professor Hook studied piano with Battersby from 1995 to 1999.

Komaniecki wins student paper award at SCSMT

Congratulations to PhD student Robert Komaniecki, whose paper "Coercing the Verse: An Analysis of Relationships between Lead and Guest Rappers" received the Best Student Paper Award at the annual meeting of the South Central Society for Music Theory, which took place at the University of Memphis on March 17–18.

Mead viola sonata premiered

On February 13, Professor Andrew Mead's Second Sonata for solo viola was premiered in Ford-Crawford Hall by Caitlyn Fukai on her master's recital.

Mead presents on Sorabji at Iowa

On February 10, Professor Andrew Mead presented a paper "Gradus ad Sorabji" at the University of Iowa, prior to a performance of Sorabji's Second Organ Symphony, the inaugural concert of a new Klais organ. He also turned pages for five hours of the performance!

Tan receives New Frontiers award

Professor Daphne Tan's project "Music Theory and the Humanities in Mid-Century America: The Case of Victor Zuckerkandl" has been named the winner of a New Frontiers of Creativity and Scholarship award, administered by the IU Office of the Vice President for Research. Her project is devoted to a critical examination of the writings of music theorist and philosopher Victor Zuckerkandl (1896–1965). It focuses on the early decades of music theory in North America, reevaluates music theory as a "public scholarship" discipline, and explores unrecognized connections between music theory (Schenkerian, specifically) and humanistic scholarship.

Tan-Temperley article published in Music Perception

Professor Daphne Tan's article "Perception and Familiarity of Diatonic Modes," coauthored with David Temperley of the Eastman School of Music, has been published in vol. 34, no. 3 of the journal Music Perception.

Komaniecki presents at FSU

On January 21, PhD student Robert Komaniecki presented his paper "Coercing the Verse: An Analysis of Musical Relationships between Lead and Guest Rappers" at the Florida State University Music Theory Forum in Tallahassee.

Fall 2016

Hamm defends dissertation

On December 8, Chelsey Hamm successfully defended her dissertation, "Charles Ives and Democracy: Association, Borrowing, and Treatment of Dissonance in His Music," advised by Professor Marianne Kielian-Gilbert. Congratulations, Dr. Hamm!

Mead composition premiered

Professor Andrew Mead's Concerto No. 2 for Alto Saxophone and 22 Players (2006) received its premiere performance on December 2 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The work was performed by saxophonist Jonathan Hostottle with an ensemble under the direction of Braxton Blake.

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.


Previous years

Activities and Accomplishments 2015–16

Activities and Accomplishments 2014–15

Activities and Accomplishments 2013–14