Music Theory


Public Lecture

The public lecture must be completed before the oral qualifying exam may be scheduled. Students should normally register for T659 Public Lecture (0 credits) in the semester in which the lecture will be given (or consult with the department chair in cases in which this may not be possible).

Lectures are usually drawn from papers written in graduate theory courses, particularly T658 seminars. The student is encouraged to meet with the instructor of the course in question to discuss the suitability of the material for a public lecture. The student should also meet with the chair of his or her advisory committee before scheduling the public lecture, and should make the text of the lecture available to the committee chair (and/or to other faculty, at the committee chair's request) at least two weeks in advance of the lecture.

Many public lectures are presented as part of the Music Theory Colloquium Series. The date should be arranged with the departmental colloquium committee, with the approval of the chair of the student's advisory committee. It is the student’s responsibility to inform all members of his or her advisory committee that the talk is to be evaluated for the public lecture requirement and to ensure in advance that all members of the committee will be present, or to arrange for another faculty member to substitute for an absent committee member if necessary.

The public lecture may be presented off campus (e.g., at a regional or national theory conference) if at least two IU music theory faculty members are present. In such cases it is the student’s responsibility to arrange that a committee of two or (if possible) three faculty will hear and evaluate the lecture. Students who have papers accepted at conferences often arrange to present the paper in the Colloquium Series in advance of the conference; this on-campus presentation can serve both as the public lecture and as a practice run for the conference. Papers accepted at conferences with competitive submission processes are exempt from the requirement of advance approval by the advisory committee chair, but the student is still encouraged to have a faculty member read the paper in advance, and the student remains responsible for ensuring that committee members (or substitutes) will be present when the lecture is delivered.

The public lecture should normally be 30 minutes or longer. Exceptions can be made for papers accepted at conferences imposing shorter time limits. The lecture should demonstrate originality in its scholarship and professionalism in its presentation. It should be well organized and carefully prepared, in the manner of a conference paper. Papers are normally read from a prepared text or detailed notes. Handouts, audiovisual examples, and computer-assisted presentations are commonly used and should be of professional quality. At the end of the lecture the student should expect to entertain questions from the audience.

Students, especially those with little or no prior experience in giving public presentations, are encouraged to rehearse the lecture several times in advance, in conditions simulating the lecture situation as closely as possible. Practicing in front of a few friends can be helpful, as can recording your presentation. In listening to the recording, listen for clarity, pacing, and overall timing.

The public lecture is graded satisfactory or unsatisfactory by the student’s advisory committee. If the lecture is judged unsatisfactory, the committee will offer comments and advice, and the student will be required to give another public lecture at a later date.