Music Theory

Activities and Accomplishments 2017–18

This page lists conference activity, publications, and other accomplishments of students and faculty in the music theory department from fall 2017 through spring 2018. See this page for more recent accomplishments.


Spring 2018

Frederick wins Komar Award at MTMW

Congratulations to PhD student Leah Frederick, whose paper "Diatonic Voice-Leading Transformations" was named the winner of the 2018 Arthur J. Komar Award for the outstanding student paper presented at the 29th annual conference of Music Theory Midwest at Western University in London, Ontario, on May 18–19.

PhD student David Geary also presented a paper, "Analyzing Josquin Canons through Improvisation," at the MTMW conference. Professor Julian Hook chaired a session titled "Pitch-Class Transformations."

A large number of alumni of the IU music theory department were active at the conference. Those presenting papers included Sara Bakker (PhD 2013), Alyssa Barna (MM 2014), Clifton Boyd (MM 2016), Matthew Boyle (PhD 2018), Timothy Chenette (PhD 2013), Stanley Fink (MM 2011), Stephen Gomez-Peck (MM 2018), Chelsey Hamm (PhD 2016), Nathaniel Mitchell (MM 2015), and Paul Sherrill (PhD 2016). Additionally, Victoria Malawey (PhD 2007) chaired a session, and Stanley Kleppinger (PhD 2006) is the current president of the society.

Boyle defends dissertation

Congratulations to Dr. Matthew Boyle, who on May 1 successfully defended his dissertation, "Musical Pleasure in Rossinian Opera," advised by Professor Roman Ivanovitch.

Lam wins Payne Award at MTSMA

Congratulations to PhD candidate Nathan Lam, whose paper "Relative Diatonic Modality in English Pastoral Music: A Dorian Case Study" was named the winner of the 2018 Dorothy Payne Award for the outstanding student paper presented at the 16th annual conference of the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, on March 23–24.

Gomez-Peck presents at MTSE

On March 2, MM student Stephen Gomez-Peck presented his paper "On the Musical Similarities and Differences between Poetic Utterances in Jazz and Hip-Hop" at the 27th Annual Meeting of Music Theory Southeast at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. Stephen also participated in a graduate student workshop led by Juan Chattah (University of Miami) on "Film Music: From Cognition to Interpretation."

GTA presents annual symposium

The Graduate Theory Association presented its 24th Annual Symposium of Research in Music Theory on February 23–24. GTA president Robert Komaniecki and about 20 other graduate students were involved in planning, chairing sessions, hospitality, technology assistance, and publicity for the symposium.

Keynote speaker Michael Buchler (Florida State University) led a pre-conference workshop on "Ornamentation in Post-Tonal Music" and delivered the keynote address, titled "The Other Obligatory Register and Further Music-Theatrical Lessons on Closure."

Other featured speakers at the symposium included IU faculty members Gretchen Horlacher ("Stravinsky's Heroes") and Marianne Kielian-Gilbert ("Materializing Form: Engaging Listeners, Process and Memory."

Hook chapter published

Professor Julian Hook's chapter "Teaching Mathematical Techniques in Music Theory" appears in the recently published Norton Guide to Teaching Music Theory, edited by Rachel Lumsden and Jeffrey Swinkin (W. W. Norton, 2018), pages 77–104.


Fall 2017

Sherrill-Boyle article wins prestigious publication award

Congratulations to Paul Sherrill (PhD 2016) and Matthew Boyle (PhD candidate), whose article “Galant Recitative Schemas” was named the winner of the Society for Music Theory’s Emerging Scholar Article Award for 2017 at the awards presentation on November 3, during the SMT’s annual conference in Arlington, Virginia.

The citation by the SMT Awards Committee states that the prizewinning article:

offers a landmark extension of music theory into a repertory where few theorists had previously thought to tread. Its approach combines close attention to melodic contour and expressive meaning with more habitual music-theoretical concerns for harmonic contexts and formal plans. Drawing as much on the work of historical musicologists as on music-theoretical resources, and keeping in close contact with the semantic and dramatic dimensions appropriate to analyzing texted music, the authors … provide an invaluable extension to Robert Gjerdingen’s schema theory, one that also incorporates various elements from William Caplin’s theory of formal functions. Their work provides what will surely prove to be an indispensable framework for analyzing recitative, whether secco or accompanied, together with a series of exemplary analyses culminating in their reading of extended scenes from Mozart’s Così fan tutte.

The Emerging Scholar Award is presented annually for an article published no more than seven calendar years after the date of the author’s PhD. In this case, both authors were graduate students at the time of the article’s publication in the Journal of Music Theory in 2015. Previous winners of the award include Professors Julian Hook and Andrew Mead, as well as alumnus Mitch Ohriner (PhD 2011), who won the 2013 award for an article drawn from his IU dissertation. The Emerging Scholar Award is the second prestigious award earned by the Sherrill-Boyle article, which also won the David Kraehenbuehl Prize of the Journal of Music Theory in 2016.

IU theorists active at SMT conference

The IU music theory department was remarkably well represented at the fortieth annual meeting of the Society for Music Theory in Arlington, Virginia on November 2–5. The entire department faculty attended the conference along with at least 35 current graduate students and numerous alumni.

Faculty and students with active roles in the conference included the following:

  • Professor Kyle Adams chaired a session titled “Rhythm and Meter in Popular Genres.”
  • PhD candidate Matthew Boyle presented “Harmonic Materialities: Syntactic and Statistical.”
  • PhD student Leah Frederick presented “Generic (Mod-7) Voice-Leading Spaces.”
  • Professor Julian Hook presented “Generalized Normal Forms.” Professor Hook was also elected this year to a three-year term on the Society’s Executive Board.
  • Professor Gretchen Horlacher presented one of three featured talks at the conference’s plenary session, “Stepping Out: Hearing Balanchine.”
  • Professor Blair Johnston presented “Sound-Quality Modulation in Sibelius’s Orchestral Works.”
  • Professor Marianne Kielian-Gilbert had a particularly active weekend, presenting “Experiencing Chen Yi’s Music: Alternate Lines of Connection, Aesthetic Practice, and Sexual Difference” and chairing a session titled “Music and Body.” Professor Kielian-Gilbert also presented a brief reminiscence at a session celebrating the SMT’s fortieth anniversary, and presented an honorary lifetime membership in the Society to Benjamin Boretz.
  • PhD student Robert Komaniecki presented “Analyzing Collaborative Flow in Rap Music.”
  • PhD candidate Nathan Lam presented “Modal Spelled Pitch Classes.”
  • Professor Andrew Mead presented an honorary lifetime membership in the Society to Robert Morris.
  • Professor Caleb Mutch presented “The Triad in Dispute: Genre and Audience in the Writings of Johannes Lippius.”
  • Professor Frank Samarotto led a graduate student workshop titled “The Craft of Musical Analysis”; he also chaired a session titled “Harmony and Voice Leading in Nineteenth-Century Music.”

Many alumni of the department also presented at the conference, including Stanley Kleppinger (PhD 2006), Justin Lavacek (PhD 2011), Nathaniel Mitchell (MM 2015), and Paul Sherrill (PhD 2016).

GTA presents fall recital

On October 20, the Graduate Theory Association presented its annual fall recital in Auer Hall. The long and varied program featured graduate students Chelsea Brinda (voice), Peter Cho (viola), Christa Cole (voice and violin), Nicole DiPaolo (piano), Leah Frederick (viola), David Geary (voice), John Heilig (baritone saxophone), Jason Jedlicka (piano), Robert Komaniecki (voice), Stephen Komer (piano), Nathan Lam(clarinet), Emily Lamb (Baroque viola), John Mattessich (piano), Michele Newman (flute), Jessica Sommer (oboe), and Abigail York (voice), as well as Professors Kyle Adams (piano), Julian Hook (piano), and Andrew Mead (composer).

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 Gearyand 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 Brindapresented 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).


Previous years

Activities and Accomplishments 2017–18

Activities and Accomplishments 2016–17

Activities and Accomplishments 2015–16

Activities and Accomplishments 2014–15

Activities and Accomplishments 2013–14