Twenty-Seventh Annual Symposium of Research in Music
Hosted by the Indiana University Graduate Theory and Musicology Associations
Join us online on February 20 & 27
Twenty-Seventh Annual Symposium of Research in Music
Join us on February 20 & 27
On behalf of the Graduate Theory and Musicology Associations at Indiana University, welcome to our annual symposium! We are proud to present one of the longest-running student-organized conferences for music research in the country, now in its 27th year running and, for the first time, as a joint event between our two departments. We are delighted to have six guest presenters this year, joining us from across the country to share their research. Two members of the Indiana University faculty, Dr. Frank Samarotto and Dr. Jill Rogers, will also deliver featured presentations on some of their most recent scholarly work. We are thrilled to welcome our keynote speaker, Dr. Imani Mosley from the University of Florida. Professor Mosley will lead a graduate student workshop on Saturday, February 20, as well as deliver our keynote address on the 27th.
As always, all of our events are free and open to the public. We would like to thank our sponsors at Indiana University: the Jacobs School of Music, the Department of Music Theory, the Department of Musicology, and the IU Student Association. I would also like to thank the entire musicology and music theory faculties for their support. Finally, the symposium would not be possible without the hard work and dedication displayed by members of our two organizations. Thank you to each and every one of you! While we wish we were now welcoming our invited speakers into Bloomington personally, know that we are excited to be learning from and with you all! We hope you enjoy the conference and invite you to visit us in person when you are able. To all of our participants and attendees: enjoy the symposium!
Madeleine Howey President, Graduate Theory Association Molly Covington Co-President, Graduate Musicology Association Meredith Michael Co-President, Graduate Musicology Association
February 20, 9:00–4:00 February 27, 9:00–4:00
Click here for a complete program, including abstracts and biographies.
"Foundations, Form, and Flow: Analytical Approaches to 20th- and 21st-Century Music”
-Ralph Lewis, "Revisiting the Music Box-Like Foundations of Rebecca Saunders' Compositions"
-Rachel Gain, "The Recapitulation as Site of Formal Tension in Hindemith's Wind Sonatas"
-Amy King, "Sounds of Poetry in Britten's 'Death, be not proud'"
Keynote Workshop with Dr. Imani Mosley: “Investigating an Equitable Musicology”
Roundtable Session: “The Musicology of Difference: How Scholarship Frames the 'Other' in Music History”
Faculty Presentation: Dr. Frank Samarotto, "Energy, Inhalt, and the Inverting of Schenkerian Hierarchy"
Click here for a complete program, including abstracts and biographies.
Faculty Presentation: Dr. Jill Rogers, "Sound Science? Sonic Technologies, Medicine, and Power in France's Long 19th Century"
"Looking Forward, Looking Back: Musical and Cultural Influence from J. S. Bach to Wesley Willis”
-Keir GoGwilt, "Studies on Westhoff: Practicing History and Futurity in the Work of J. S. Bach and Carolyn Chen" -Courtney Nichols, "How the Womyn's Music Movement Shaped Rock n'Roll" -Luke Hayden, "Exorcising Demons: Poverty and Crime in the Music of Wesley Willis"
Roundtable Session: “Affect Theory and the Musical Body”
Keynote Presentation: Dr. Imani Mosley, “‘They’re Gonna Do It Anyway’: Performing Black Male Death-as-Spectacle in the Music of Black Lives Matter”
Keynote Presentation and Workshop
February 20, 11:00–12:30 EST Dr. Imani Mosley, “Investigating an Equitable Musicology”
February 27, 2:30–4:00 EST Dr. Imani Mosley, “‘They’re Gonna Do It Anyway’: Performing Black Male Death-as-Spectacle in the Music of Black Lives Matter”
In the response to the murders of Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin, among others, many Black artists sought ways to express their horror, pain, anger, and trauma. Galvanized by the Black Lives Matter movement, singers and rappers released songs as a way to use their platform to reach wider audiences and inform them of the protests happening nationwide. However, the process of retelling and recounting everything from artists’ personal experiences with police brutality and violence to fictionalized versions of actual events perpetuated a kind of performance that re-presents the spectacle of Black death that focuses on the bodily and the visible. That spectacle — one that has become ingrained in the American consciousness since slavery — is uniquely tied to the Black male body. Songs by groups and artists such as N.E.R.D., Childish Gambino, Vince Staples, and others perform the trauma of Black death at the site of the body when textualizing commands from the police such as “hands up” and “don’t move,” to the BLM chants that turn death throes into action statements such as “I can’t breathe.” In focusing on the body, these songs remind listeners that witnessing Black death is generationally familiar. That familiarity carries within it what Joy DeGruy has coined “post-traumatic slave syndrome.” This analysis asks how the presentation of trauma and violence can be negotiated through the means of musical storytelling. In analyzing the text of these songs, I show how the history of brutality against Black men has constructed the way that Black male artists see themselves and their bodies, essentializing themselves as sites of visible, witnessed violence. In an attempt to bring awareness to the struggle of Black men in America, specifically in relation to the state, these songs unintentionally reproduce spectacle — by giving us the ability to witness and re-witness violence — and trauma.
February 20, 3:00–4:00 EST Dr. Frank Samarotto, "Energy, Inhalt, and the Inverting of Schenkerian Hierarchy"
This paper continues my exploration of voice-leading analysis as a kind of energetic theory. Pursuing this energetic approach has some interesting corollaries as regards hierarchy, especially often-assumed characterizations of what is in control of what; e.g., does a prolonged harmony control its content? Does the background determine so-called “later” levels? Proceeding from an analysis of the Adagio of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata, op. 2, #3, I will interrogate aspects of Schenkerian theory that seem to suggest hierarchical control but which, I will argue, may be understood as inverting that relationship, allowing our energetic experience to have a determinative role.
February 27, 9:00–10:00 EST Dr. Jill Rogers, "Sound Science? Sonic Technologies, Medicine, and Power in France's Long 19th Century"
Between the French Revolution and World War I, doctors, scientists, acousticians, and instrument makers in France became increasingly invested in considering music’s sonic vibrations. In the wake of the 1789 and subsequent revolutions, many were concerned with sonic vibrations’ health and musical benefits as well as their negative physiological effects. This interest in sonic vibrations led physicians and psychologists to implement music’s vibrations in a variety of medical situations, including inducing hypnosis, managing patients’ pain anesthetically, and assisting the d/Deaf in hearing music and speech. Throughout France’s long nineteenth century, discourse about the many effects of sonic vibrations proliferated not only the French medical and scientific press, but also in the musical press. In the wake of World War I, the vibratory aspects of music and sound became bound up with the French military-medical complex, in which medical professionals sought to discern which French soldiers were lying about their injuries – including trauma and deafness – and which were being truthful, often through the use of tuning forks, electrotherapy, and a variety of sounding, vibratory objects. In this talk, I trace the historical and geographical lineage of French conceptions of sonically-oriented vibratory medicine in the long nineteenth century, with a particular emphasis on how the tools and techniques that harnessed vibrations in order to ‘help’ people were consistently intertwined with national constructions of citizenship, industry, and power. Through examination of French medical guides; medical and scientific treatises; instrument catalogues and patents; and the scientific, medical, and musical press, I demonstrate how France’s interests in becoming an innovator in sonic-medical technology in the long nineteenth century were bound up with experimental ‘treatments’ for people who had little agency within the State to resist or deny the experiments doctors and scientists performed on them. My research shows how ideas about sonic vibrations circulated amongst myriad French communities in the long nineteenth century, and often contributed to constructions of gender, race, health, disability, and nationhood.
February 20, 9:00–10:30 EST "Foundations, Form, and Flow: Analytical Approaches to 20th- and 21st-Century Music”
Ralph Lewis, "Revisiting the Music Box-Like Foundations of Rebecca Saunders' Compositions"
When the news broke in 2019 that composer Rebecca Saunders received the Ernst von Siemens Prize in recognition of her compositions, it was a rare moment for American musicians to discuss her music publicly. As Saunders’ music increasingly appears on US concert programs, revisiting the fundamental elements of her work and how they inform her most recent output will ideally support scholars, performers and new listeners as they encounter her music for the first time. Throughout her career, the ways Saunders curates fundamental elements in her works have made her stand out amongst other European Post-Serial composers. She artfully sets critical parameters (including instrumentation, harmonic language, and timbral expression) into such narrow yet rewarding circumstances that the choices themselves almost intimate the totality of the resulting piece. This design-minded pre-compositional approach, as seen in pieces such as Blue and Gray, where Saunders employs two five-string basses in specific scordatura that support the overall harmonic choices, shows the extent that this approach can shape her works. Drawing on my earlier research about Saunders’ approach, my presentation compares and contrasts these fundamental tendencies throughout her first two decades of compositional output and newer works that build specifically on those experiences and relationships, including how the earlier metaphorical music box-building has now at times given way to pieces for actual music boxes and how Saunders’ specificity feeds seamlessly into her ongoing series of collage pieces.
Rachel Gain, "The Recapitulation as Site of Formal Tension in Hindemith's Wind Sonatas"
In this paper, I demonstrate that Hindemith’s sonata forms share an underlying formal narrative, resulting from adjusted tonal expectations in his tonal syntax. Large-scale tension is created through deformations—tonal or otherwise—to the recapitulation of the primary theme, rather than through the traditional polarization of keys in the exposition. The tension created by recapitulation deformations is resolved outside of sonata space, thus requiring bespoke compositional solutions and producing unique structures. These include codas and additional movements which use primary theme material and the reversal of theme ordering to end with the originally disrupted primary theme in the tonic key.
Amy King, "Sounds of Poetry in Britten's 'Death, be not proud'"
In this paper, I demonstrate how examining the relationship of words and music in art song through poetic and musical traditions provides insight into musical structure and its constituents. I use linguistic tools with parallel music-analytic tools from Lerdahl and Jackendoff’s work (1983) to explore the relationship of text and music in Benjamin Britten’s setting of John Donne’s, “Death, be not proud.” I compare the poem’s rhythm, meter, and grouping with the same in Britten’s musical setting to place the two media in direct conversation. In the analysis of the poem, I discuss sonnet form and show how these elements create sonnet structure and explore the same in Britten’s setting. I also discuss how these elements influence semantics and artistic interpretation. Through this exploration of Britten and Donne’s relationship as composer and poet, I show that comparative analysis provides opportunity to explore how composers converse with the poets whose poems they set.
February 27, 10:30–12:00 EST "Looking Forward, Looking Back: Musical and Cultural Influence from J. S. Bach to Wesley Willis”
Keir GoGwilt, "Studies on Westhoff: Practicing History and Futurity in the Work of J. S. Bach and Carolyn Chen"
In 2016, I commissioned, premiered, and recorded composer Carolyn Chen’s solo violin piece, “Study on Westhoff Partita in d minor.” Chen’s study dissects and re-assembles Johann Paul von Westhoff’s Partita (1695) over twenty-eight minutes. The elderly Westhoff wrote this Partita a few years prior to moving to the court of Weimar. These last years of his life overlapped with J.S. Bach’s early career as section violinist in the Weimar court orchestra. I offer a transhistorical analysis of Westhoff’s D minor Partita, Chen’s study on the same Partita, and two movements – the C Major Fugue, and the D minor Chaconne – from Bach’s solo violin Sonatas and Partitas (1720). Westhoff’s music influenced the violin works of both Bach and Chen. However, while Bach’s compositional technique furthers Westhoff’s abstraction of “dance genres in a sonata manner” (Ledbetter, Unaccompanied Bach, 2010), Chen severs Westhoff’s writing from its historical forms and functions. I argue that Chen’s anachronistic play with Westhoff’s materials evidence a very different relationship to history, futurity, and creativity than Bach’s. Bach was composing during the emergence of German literary culture, which “became the only network of shared concerns crossing barriers that divided one locality from another” (Celia Applegate, Bach in Berlin, 48). Bach’s work later became central to the similarly consolidating mission of 19th-century German music, most visibly represented by Mendelssohn’s 1829 performance of the St. Matthew Passion. By contrast, Chen’s music and writings reflect upon capitalist overproduction, at a time in which exponential population growth, looming ecological catastrophes, and global information networks challenge our understanding of human subjectivity in the present and future.
Courtney Nichols, "How the Womyn's Music Movement Shaped Rock n'Roll"
Because women have different life experiences than men, the influences for the participants of the Women’s Music Movement differ than those of the men in rock n’ roll. In this paper, drawing upon historical analysis of women musicians’ experience in rock music before and after the advent of the 1970s Women’s Music Movement and musical analysis of the topic’s explored in those women’s songs, I will argue that the Women’s Music Movement (1970-1994) and musical analysis of the topics explores in those women’s songs, I will argue that the Movement increased the number of women who participated as creators in the rock genre and likewise shaped the optics the musicians of the Movement wrote about. Overall, rock n’ roll was a gendered male-perspective genre whose topics were often centered around sex, rebellion, and drug use. However in the 1970s, the Women’s Music Movement began to steadily increase in popularity as women desired songs that they could relate to. The musicians of this movement, including Meg Christian (b. 1946), Holly Near (b. 1949), Cris Williamson (b. 1947), and many others, sought to avoid stereotypical topics. For example, Meg Christian, as one of the founders of Olivia Records wanted to write songs about “our (women’s) life experiences” including the social, political, and economic inequality women experienced (Pollock 1987). Many of the artists involved in this movement were inspired by Second Wave Feminism and the Gay Rights Movement to use their music and voices and express the hardships of being gay and/or of being a woman.
Luke Hayden, "Exorcising Demons: Poverty and Crime in the Music of Wesley Willis"
African-American, Avant-Garde, Rock n’ Roll composer-performer and internationally acclaimed visual artist, Wesley Willis was very influential in the punk-rock and hardcore scenes in his native city of Chicago and nationally throughout his nearly 15 year career as a rock star and was signed to Alternative Tentacles and later to American Recordings. While he is most well known for his three-volume Greatest Hits album and his “hell ride” or beastiality songs, in this paper I will explore the ways that Wesley Willis depicts his life in inner-city Chicago and the themes of poverty, violence, and policing that are found spread across his more than forty albums.
February 20, 1:00–2:00 EST “The Musicology of Difference: How Scholarship Frames the 'Other in Music History”
February 27, 12:30–1:30 EST “Affect Theory and the Musical Body”