My dissertation, "The Art of Recomposition: Creativity, Aesthetics, and Music Theory," investigates how and why music theorists and critics (roughly from Rameau to the present) have re-written music in the service of their arguments. Drawing on existing literature about musical borrowing by composers (in other words, creative recomposition, as opposed to theoretical), analytic philosophy, and current approaches to musical form, I seek to make legible the often invisible act of recomposition as an analytical tool. I seek to unpack the notion of "This piece [could have/would have/should have] gone like this," and explore the effect it has had on our entrenched ways of teaching and talking about listening, analysis, and creativity.
I recently published an excerpt of Chapter Two as an article in the Newsletter of the Mozart Society of America, Vol. 21/1. I also presented a talk about the dissertation's final chapter, which concerns Hans Keller's method of "Functional Analysis," at the Music Theory Society of New York State, at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva in April 2017. Other diss-related papers were read at the Mozart Society of America (Tufts, September 2015), the New England Conference of Music Theorists (Boston U, 2015), MTSNYS (SUNY-Binghamton, 2015), AMS/SMT (Milwaukee, 2014), and Music Theory Midwest (Lawrence U, 2014).
Film and Multimedia
Along with my interests in the history of music theory and the philosophy/methodology of music analysis, I am active in film and video game music studies. I am especially interested in interactivity in music and games, and in the reception and transformation of avant garde musical styles in different forms of contemporary media. I presented my work on David Key and Ed Kanaga's experimental game Proteus at the first annual North American Conference on Video Game Music, I helped to co-convene an interactive "poster session" on current approaches to video game music at the 2014 joint meeting of AMS and SMT in Milwaukee. Last fall, I presented a paper on Leonard Rosenman's partially atonal score for the James Dean film East of Eden (1955) at the 2015 meeting of the American Musicological Society in Louisville, KY. Both of these papers are part of a larger project, which will examine how popular culture has borrowed and transformed the materials and tendencies of modernist composition, and repackaged them for popular consumption.
I have a longstanding interest in the relationship between music and play--the other side of "ludomusicology," if you will, and am currently developing an essay for publication based on a pair of conference presentations from a few years ago.
I have also taken an interest in the history and development of David Lewin's transformational theory. I spent two days working in the Lewin archives in 2014, and have recently begun tracking down various pieces of Lewiniana at Harvard. I was recently commissioned by the journal Music Theory and Analysis to write a review of the new publication of David Lewin's Morgengruss: Text, Context, Commentary (Oxford, 2015), edited by Richard Cohn and David Bard-Schwarz.