2019 Program and Abstracts


3:30pm    Registration Elizabeth Wirth Music Building, 8th floor

4:00pm    Welcome Remarks
    Wirth Music Building, A-832
    Rachel Avery and Lena Heng, Symposium Co-Chairs
        Traditional Territory Acknowledgement
    Claire McLeish and Sam Skaller, MGSS Co-Presidents
    Dr. Brenda Ravenscroft, Dean of the Schulich School of Music

4:15pm     Lecture/video
    Chair: Bruno Coulombe

“Devenir-ensemble : Résonances manifestes”
Hubert Gendron-Blais (Concordia University)

Résonances manifestes is a comprovised piece based on a sonic score composed of field recordings from various demonstrations that shook the streets of Montreal in the last years. The piece is interpreted by the Devenir-ensemble, an assemblage of ten musicians from Montreal who improvise from the audio score not to represent the ambiance of these demonstrations to the public, but rather to convey the feeling of this subtle mix of passion and uncertainty that characterizes the affective intensity of these singular moments of community in this event.

The project of Devenir-ensemble is mobilized by two main notions: comprovisation and musical ecology. The persepctive of musical ecology allows to apprehend the materiality of the sonic event in its perceptual complexity, paying attention to all the components forming a given musical environment: the performance of a piece must in this sense be understood as the expression of a collective assemblage involving technical, ambiental, human, social, spiritual dimensions, and more. Comprovisation is here approached, following composer Sandeep Bhagwati, as an ensemble of compositional techniques for practices of collective improvisation based on particular indications orienting the musicians without repressing their collective (spontaneous) expression.

If the use of a sound score is the particular point of reference for this project, it is because the piece is the concretization of a process of research-creatin—at the confluence of music, philosophy, and political thought—aiming to understand how sound and music contribute to the formation and the intensification of the affective communities, these communities as intensive and evanescent, that do not stand on pre-established identities or shared interests, but on what circulates between beings, things, and ambiances. The score based on ambient sounds thus poses collective perception as a central element of the process of comprovisation.


Résonances manifestes nomme une pièce comprovisée basée sur une partition sonore composée d’enregistrements-terrain de manifestations autonomes qui ont parcouru les rues de Montréal ces dernières années. La pièce sera interprétée par le Devenir-ensemble, un agencement de musicien.ne.s montréalais.e.s qui improviseront à partir de la partition auditive non pas pour tenter de représenter l’ambiance de ces manifestations au public, mais plutôt pour faire sentir ce mélange subtil de passion et d’incertitude qui marque l’intensité affective de ces moments singuliers de communauté à même l’événement.
Le projet de Devenir-ensemble est mobilisé par deux notions fondamentales: celles de comprovisation et d’écologie musicale. La perspective de l’écologie musicale permet d’appréhender la matérialité de l’événement sonore dans sa complexité perceptuelle, en portant attention à toutes les composantes formant un environnement musical donné : la performance d’une pièce doit en ce sens être comprise comme l’expression d’un agencement collectif comportant des dimensions techniques, ambiantes, humaines, sociales, spirituelles, etc. De manière générale, la comprovisation est ici approchée, à la suite du compositeur Sandeep Bhagwati, comme un ensemble de techniques compositionnelles pour des pratiques d’improvisation collective reposant sur certaines indications particulières venant orienter les musicien.ne.s sans restreindre leur expression collective.
Si l’usage d’une partition sonore s’est imposé comme indication particulière pour le projet, c’est que celui-ci constitue l’aboutissement musical d’un processus de recherche-création – au croisement de la musique, de la philosophie et de la pensée politique – visant à mieux comprendre comment le son et la musique contribuent à la formation et à l’intensification des communautés affectives, ces communautés aussi intensives qu’évanescentes, qui ne reposent pas tant sur une identité préétablie ou des intérêts partagés, mais qui surviennent comme penchants partagés, comme quelque chose qui circule entre les êtres. La partition basée sur des sons ambiants pose ainsi la perception collective comme un élément central du processus de comprovisation.

5:15pm     BREAK

5:30pm    Research Keynote
Anna Zayaruznaya (Yale University)
“Philippe de Vitry's da da da dum”
Introductory Remarks: Prof. Julie Cumming
A-832, Wirth Music Building

6:30pm    Reception
    A-832, Wirth Music Building


9:00am    Registration
    Wirth Music Building, 8th floor

9:30am     Interrogating Figures in Music History
    Chair: Sam Howes

“Forkel’s Listening Subject”
Thomas Ingram (McGill University)

The German scholar Johann Nicolaus Forkel has long been recognized as an important figure in the history of academic musicology (Duckles 1967–68). In recent years, he has begun to receive attention for his role in theorizing listening and music analysis (Riley 2004; Christensen 2007; Bonds 2019). However, most of his important writings on this subject (Forkel 1777, 1779, 1780) have not been translated or studied individually, and they remain little-known in English-language music theory.
As the academic music director at the University of Göttingen, Forkel ran a series of concerts and gave lectures on music theory: the lectures educated the listeners to be better able to appreciate great music, while the concerts gave them an opportunity to practise this ability. Forkel’s concern was to elevate his audience of enthusiasts (Liebhaber) into connoisseurs (Kenner) who can make sound critical judgments about musical art and avoid being fooled by artistic fraud (Forkel 1777, 31). Such a demand on the audience’s understanding “marks the beginning of a new and fundamentally modern attitude toward the art of listening” (Bonds 2019, 148).
In this paper I aim to situate Forkel’s project of listener education within the broader sweep of eighteenth-century musical thought, engaging Lydia Goehr’s (2007) concept of the musical work and Terry Eagleton’s (1990) ideological analysis of the aesthetic. Forkel’s project can be seen as an attempt to incarnate a new type of human subject adequate to a new type of musical artwork. By emphasizing the role of musical works (in Goehr’s sense), instrumental music (over vocal), and listening (over participation), Forkel helped to pave the way for a nineteenth-century Romanticism based on artistic autonomy, purely musical expressivity, and the division of musical labour. Forkel’s project thus marks a milestone in the history of music theory and a key place where this history makes contact with discourses of class politics and ideology.

“An Emperor’s Music Lessons with Jesuits in 17th- and 18th-Century China”
Addi Liu (Case Western Reserve University)

Catholic missionaries introduced Western music and instruments to China, particularly during the reign of the Kangxi Emperor (r. 1661–1722). A connoisseur of Chinese music, Kangxi also studied the harpsichord and European music theory with missionaries such as Ferdinand Verbiest (1623–1688), Tomás Pereira (1645–1708), and Teodorico Pedrini (1671–1746). Under their influence, as well as fulfilling his imperial obligation to reform standards of measurements and tuning for the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912), Kangxi commissioned and edited Correct Interpretations of Musical Tuning, Imperially Composed (Yuzhi luluzhengyi 御製律呂正義, 1713), which includes of the earliest European music treatises written in Chinese.
Correct Interpretations presents the musical interval of the octave in fourteen divisions — a source of confusion among historians and musicologists as Chinese music is traditionally comprised of twelve divisions. Weng Pangfeng (2014) has traced Kangxi’s enigmatic tuning system to an anonymous treatise, Abstract on Musical Tuning (Lulujieyao 律呂節要, late 17th-century?), which in turn was partly drawn from Galileo Galilei’s Due Nuove Scienze (1638), identified by Sheryl Chow (2018).
Abstract discusses acoustics, consonance, and organ pipe lengths; it likely served as lecture material for Kangxi’s study of temperaments. While Jia Shubing (2012), Weng, et al. theorize that Jesuit organ-builder Pereira wrote Abstract, I propose the author may have been his predecessor, the Jesuit astronomer Verbiest, as hinted by Noël Golvers (2010) and Catherine Jami (2012).
This paper examines Kangxi’s efforts at reviving ancient music which led to the creation of Abstract and Correct Interpretations, his personal and political relationships with his European music tutors, and his unintended influence on European music by which the so-called “Kangxi Fourteen Tone System” was transmitted to the West via missionaries’ letters and transformed into the whole tone scale of European Chinoiserie music.

“Modernizing the Moscow Conservatory: behind the scenes”
Michael Mazin (McGill University)

Explosive institutional politics including the abuse of power brought about the modernization of the Moscow Imperial Conservatory under the directorship of Vasily Safonov (1852-1918). Only 36 years old when appointed, he inherited the position from Sergey Taneyev (1856-1915) whose collegial management style had nurtured an environment of creative freedom, mutual trust and satisfaction among students and professors.
Exploring primary sources of the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art (letters, memoirs, diaries, reports) I show how Safonov fought against state intervention in the Conservatory’s policies. By using and manipulating his powerful connections in the upper classes, Safonov eventually established a one-man dictatorship.
His former supporters Taneyev and Tchaikovsky protested the director’s draconian style (Taneyev became his bête noire). Even as the Conservatory lost outstanding teachers such as Alexander Zilotti and Georges Conus as a result of intrigues, censorship, and convoluted legal processes steered by Safonov, the institution’s bureaucracy expanded and along with it, corruption and servility. I argue that to a certain extent Safonov destroyed the Conservatory's familial, domestically-oriented culture, replacing it with a cosmopolitan outlook which began attracting international attention, including foreign students. Modernity came to the Moscow Conservatory.
By focusing on source materials about an individual director’s initiatives and management style, this paper contributes fresh angles to recent studies of the Russian Empire’s music institutions by Moiseev (2012; re. patronage), Poldyaeva (2005; re. institutional development), and Sargeant (2005; re. state control).

11:00am     BREAK

11:15am     Meter and Rhythm in Contemporary Popular Music
    Chair: Ben Duinker

“Expectancy and Infinity in ‘Molasses’ by Hiatus Kaiyote”
Alexandrea Jonker (McGill University)

In Frank Samarotto’s paper on the expectancy/infinity trope in rock and pop music (2012), he outlines several musical and textual characteristics that are often found in songs exhibiting this form type. Two musical parameters he does not mention, however, are the influence of both rhythm and meter. In this paper, I argue that rhythm and meter are crucial in creating a sense of instability, anticipation, and endlessness associated with expectancy and infinity. After outlining the trope and its current characteristics, I will use “Molasses” from Hiatus Kaiyote’s 2015 album Choose Your Weapon as a case study to demonstrate how these musical parameters can support and enhance an expectancy/infinity narrative within popular music.
The sense of instability, anticipation, and endlessness can be created musically by playing with a listener’s expectations of pulse and predictability, two features most often associated with rhythmic and metrical parameters. In “Molasses,” the introduction creates instability and ambiguity by obscuring the location of the downbeat, changing meter, and slightly elongating every other measure; the ‘Dilla-beat,’ a backbeat with a lilted, quintuplet feel, destabilizes the pulse; the vocal line switches from consonant to dissonant rhythms, aligning with the change of state discussed in the lyrics; and the infinity loop features a dissonant dotted rhythm pattern in both the vocal line and the drums, creating a sense of endlessness through the absence of a backbeat and a clear pulse. Although Samarotto neglects discussing the rhythmic implications in his examples of the expectancy/infinity trope and limits his song choice to rock music, this analysis shows that rhythm and meter can play an imperative role in communicating this form type, perhaps especially in groove-based genres of music such as neo-soul.

“Influences of Bluegrass and Progressive Rock on Metric Complexity in the Punch Brothers”
Rachel Hottle (McGill University)

Punch Brothers is a progressive bluegrass ensemble whose work defies genre categorization, invoking styles as disparate as country, rock, and art music. Their music is often metrically complex, but this complexity presents an analytical challenge, owing to their varied genre influences. I propose a comparative genre analysis of metric complexity in Punch Brothers, drawing on metric conventions common in bluegrass and in the music of Radiohead.
Radiohead is often considered to be one of the Punch Brothers’ biggest influences. I draw on Brad Osborn’s 2017 categorization of what he refers to as “metric salience” in Radiohead’s music to identify instances of metric complexity in Punch Brothers that are influenced by Radiohead. Building on Joti Rockwell’s (2011) exploration of metric disruptions in old-time country and bluegrass music, and James Palmer’s (2017) application of that work to Punch Brothers, I also characterize instances of metric complexity in Punch Brothers’ music that are primarily bluegrass-influenced. My comparison of these examples shows that Punch Brothers’ Radiohead-influenced metric complexity differs from their bluegrass-influenced metric complexity in three key ways: the use of non-isochronous (NI) meters, formal functions of metric disruptions (Figure 2), and preservation of the tactus.
It is my hope that this work will pave the way for future comparative genre analyses, both within individual musician’s work and across artists. Comparisons of generic conventions, especially in the under-studied area of meter, can help us determine the features of meter that are common to a specific genre, and those that are more broadly used across genres.

12:15pm     LUNCH

1:30pm     Queer and Trans Expression in Music
    Chair: Kristin Franseen

“Layering Illusions: Communicating Hyperfemininity and Queer ‘Taiwaneseness’ through Taiwanese Popular Music and Drag Performance”
Sam Garcia (National Taiwan University)

Drag is an art of illusion; it creates an extravagant, exaggerated appearance of gender, whether hyperfemininity, hypermasculinity, or something in the middle. Performers perfect this illusion through makeup, wigs, outfits, padding, etc. Once dragged up, the most common performance is lip-syncing: artists will chose songs they identify with and present an emotionally charged show. By choosing a singer that enhances the drag artist’s gender expression, music complements the illusion the look began. The audience receives a multi-layered illusion of hyperbolized gender, expressed through physical appearance, movement, and musical sound. In Taipei's expanding drag scene, queens often chose Taiwanese pop songs by stars such as A Mei (張惠妹) and Jolin Tsai (蔡依林). These songs are not only utilized to express hyperfemininity, but also queer “Taiwaneseness” by putting mainstream pop music into an LGBTQ+ context. This paper discusses drag performances in Taipei by queens Fei Fain (飛帆) and Feilibing (飛利冰), which use Taiwanese popular music to express both hyperfemininity and cultural disidentifications. This disidentification takes mainstream songs about heteronormative relationships and offers them as identificatory sites for the non-heterosexual and/or non-cisgendered subjects of Taipei’s LGBTQ+ nightlife, queering the original encoded meaning of the song. By using an ethnographic approach including observational fieldwork and interviews with performers and audience members, this project explores Fei Fain’s and Feilibing’s motivations and audience reception of their performances. It analyzes how musical characteristics such as melody, vocal timbre, and instrumentation express gendered qualities that layer onto the drag queens’ performance of femininity. Furthermore, it applies Munoz's theory of disidentification to their musical choices, and how this disidentification queers “Taiwaneseness” by recycling the encoded meaning of Taiwanese popular music.

“The Grain of the Transgender Voice: ‘Timbral Destiny’ or ‘Thing it is Not’?”
Quinn Emrys Brown (Peabody Conservatory)

The view that the voice is a direct and unmediated conduit through which the inner being of a person can be conveyed to others around them is so ubiquitous in society that its presence can go unnoticed. These glimpses of inner being come not only in the words a person speaks but in the character of the voice itself: the voice’s timbre can cause a person to be read in a racial or gendered way and these timbral traits of the voice are often considered inherent traits of the person, received at birth through DNA. However, the ways in which people are viewed at birth can impact the ways they are raised and so the ways in which voices develop. This paper explores the ways in which voices, and particularly the voices of transgender people pre-transition, are a product of upbringing and societal forces, rather than an indication of the “true” nature of the self. I argue that what could be deemed “natural,” one’s pre-transition voice, is indeed very unnatural, for it does not represent the gender of its owner and indeed can be a force of alienation between the self and its body. In this study, I begin by discussing and critiquing the concept of the “grain” of the voice as developed by Roland Barthes and subsequently referenced by musicologists since. I will also look at ways in which voices can develop racially unique timbres despite there being no morphological differences between the vocal apparatuses of different races. After wrestling with the benefits and limitations of newer definitions of gender in Judith Butler’s work, I address the intersection of musicological and gender conversations by discussing several interviews with transgender vocalists.

“‘You Went Home as Someone Else’: Narratives of Transformation and Gender Transition in Alex Temple’s Behind the Wallpaper”
Sandow Sinai (Queens College, CUNY)

In 2014 and 2015, transfeminine composer Alex Temple wrote Behind the Wallpaper, a song cycle with original text, for indie-pop singer Julia Holter and the Chicago-based Spektral Quartet; a set of surreal vignettes, all narrated in the second person by the singer. Lindsey Rhoades, reviewing it for the Village Voice, called it “a dizzying collage of dreamlike impressions cleverly obscuring a straightforward narrative.” In this paper, I closely examine this perhaps not-so-straightforward narrative and read it as a story of its nameless protagonist’s gender transition. Transgender perspectives in art music have heretofore have not been given the recognition they deserve. Indeed, while scholarship exists on trans music outside of the art music tradition, the only survey of trans composers I could locate was compiled by Temple herself (Temple, “A Trans Composers Playlist”). Recent scholarship suggests studying trans artistic subjects “requires us to situate meaning at the intersection of material and ephemeral fields of significance” because they “help illustrate the coemergence of materials (such as notes and sounds, personal narratives, conditions of production, and bodily states) and their discursive processes and relationships (including our reception of the music, the social components of sex, and the cognitive determination of bodily and musical structures)” (Baitz 2018, 11-12). In my reading of Behind the Wallpaper as a trans composer’s aestheticization of a trans experience I examine its protagonist’s relation to both of these modes of signification.

3:00pm     BREAK

3:15pm     Diversity and Inclusion in the University Music Classroom
    Chair: Sam Skaller

“From Design to Implementation: Creating Inclusive Assessments within the Music Theory Classroom”
Stefanie Bilidas and Zachary Lloyd (Michigan State University)

Current discussions within the music theory pedagogy community show trends toward inclusive and relevant pedagogy. One area of the classroom in which this has not been sufficiently addressed is assessment. Our aim in this presentation to discuss inclusive and culturally relevant assessment techniques geared towards the music theory classroom. We draw upon research within the discipline of music theory pedagogy, as well as educational literature regarding science and mathematics pedagogy, to highlight best practices for question creation. Following research completed by Dr. Leigh VanHandel (2012), we will explore how the ideas presented within the science and mathematics pedagogy literature can be applied to the music theory classroom. Specifically, we will focus on how questions may unintentionally privilege certain students in our classroom through their experience and relationship with the musical examples selected, as well as their reading comprehension ability. Expanding upon Maria Martiniello (2008), we consider how language, syntax, and semantics play a role in the comprehension of musical concepts. Within this discussion, we explore ways we can modify constructed questions to reflect the diversity present in the classroom by incorporating a varied selection of musical examples within the classroom and on assessments. Drawing upon research by Cora Palfy (forthcoming) and Timothy K. Chenette (2017, 2018), we will address ways to develop assessments using the more diverse repertoire, and will also examine ways to create newer, more creative assessments across the music theory curriculum. Our goal with this presentation is to provide resources and suggestions for instructors that will aid in designing questions that not only address the topic, but allow students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge.

“Because Awareness is not Enough: Challenges in Representing Mixed Race Identity in North American Higher Education and Classical Music”
Danielle Jagelski (University of Idaho)

If current higher-education initiatives are an indication, now more than ever, academic institutions are focusing more on diversity-based hiring practices and programming. Apart from past generations and predecessors, contemporary music administrators and educators continue to place more emphasis on cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity within curricula. Yet, while such musical communities are realizing the importance of diversity, current practices are showing that attempts to define cultural classifications remains a work in progress. Often times, because “one size does not necessarily fit all,” defining cultural and personal class sets may inadvertently – and even paradoxically - result in pigeonholing or even omitting significant cultural characteristics, especially where cultural syncretism and mixed-race is concerned. The current standard for defining cultural and racial diversity often times obligates people of mixed-race to choose which “part of them” is the most profitable for their career. Based on interviews of mixed-race professional and student musicians, this conference paper presents the complexities and challenges related to mixed-race identity within musical communities. With a primary focus on interview responses from Grammy and NAMA nominated composer and ethnomusicologist, Dawn Avery, special consideration is also given to the place of mixed-race identity within the broader and ever-changing cultural spectrums of classical music. Addressing the experiences of self-identified mixed-race musicians who have undergone audition, performance, and other competitive situations, through the means of decoding interview findings, for session attendees, light will be cast on how higher-education and related organizations can move forward in equitably representing the world around us while choosing repertoire, creating new works or arrangements, and educating students and audience members alike.

4:30pm    Performance Keynote
Sherry Johnson (York University)
"'Is that like, uh, Riverdance?': Actually, Ontario has its own Fiddling and Step dancing"
Introductory Remarks: Prof. Lena Weman
Tanna Schulich Hall, Wirth Music Building

6:30pm     Symposium Dinner
    Nil Bleu
    Please RSVP


10:00am     Folk Influence and Folk Revival
    Chair: Trevor Penoyer-Kulin

“Contemporary Catholic Liturgical Music in the American Mass”
Sarah Amos (University of Missouri - Columbia)

The musical practices revealed in the modern American Mass reflect a divided culture that seeks reconciliation between tradition and contemporary relevance. Since the approval of the Second Vatican Council constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium in 1963, music of the Roman Catholic Mass has undergone rapid change in accordance with the call to communicate the liturgy to the faithful as prescribed in the document. Prompted by the desire for timely liturgical music yet misunderstanding of the instruction to preserve the practice of plainchant also stressed in Sacrosanctum Concilium, American bishops sought an entirely new musical style that would have contemporary appeal and foster participatio actuosa. With official permission granted to adapt features of popular secular genres, composers drew from the musical characteristics of the American folk revival that coincided with Vatican II, and a folk-influenced liturgical style came into practice that focused on an aesthetic simplicity of improvisatory melody, uncomplicated harmony, and previously unorthodox acoustic guitar accompaniments. This phenomenon is not without historical precedent; the utilization of contemporaneous secular music was also embraced by Luther and the early Protestants.
For this study, I will identify the folk-inspired elements of the first post-conciliar wave of music; reveal the difficulties that the English-language Mass has caused for composers of psalmody and mass settings; and provide examples of composers’ solutions to these problems. Through this method, I will expose the performance challenges embedded in contemporary Catholic music and evaluate the effectiveness of the new liturgical repertoire in encouraging congregational participation.

“‘I’m Not a Musician, I’m a Professional Dancer:’ George Butterworth and the Morris Dance”
Owen Hansen (University of Kansas)

George Butterworth (1885-1916) was a British composer who worked alongside Cecil Sharp (1859-1924) and Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), collecting and transcribing around 400 folk songs and dances during his brief lifetime. The dances that Butterworth primarily focused on were the Morris dance, which was an elaborate choreographed dance using a combination of bells, swords, and costumes with quick hand and footwork by primarily male dancers performing to music in compound duple meter. These dances were a very important embodiment of the English folk revival encapsulating the spirit of their national identity. Because of his involvement with the preservation of the Morris dance, Butterworth actually thought of himself more as a professional Morris dancer than as a musician. This stemmed from his work with Sharp and the English Folk Dance Society where Butterworth used his talents to help in educating the British public about their dancing heritage through various performances, lessons and films during the 1910s. Butterworth kept a diary reporting his hunt for Morris dances in 1912, providing a unique insight into how he went about collecting these dances, notating them, and commenting on any similarities or differences he found. Using Butterworth’s published diary along with notes, transcriptions and materials Sharp and Butterworth created regarding the Morris dance, this paper examines the impact Butterworth had in the English Folk Dance revival, how he modified and created his own notation system when transcribing these dances and concluding with why he saw himself as a professional dancer rather than as a composer.

11:00am     BREAK

11:15am     Analyzing Functions and Tonal Systems in Music Theory
    Chair: Tobias Tschiedl

“The Introductory Dominant: Addressing the Paradox of ‘Before-the-Beginning’ Dominant Prolongation”
Hannah Waterman (University of Texas at Arlington)

Prolongation of the dominant harmony is usually associated with transitory moments, such as middle sections of a ternary form, or the end of transitions and retransitions in sonata forms. Consequently, pieces that start with prolongation of the dominant harmony pose a subtle paradox: how can a harmonic unit associated with a state of flux operate as introductory within the constraints of tonal music? As the examples in this paper will attest, “before-the-beginning” dominant prolongation, or as I call it, the “introductory dominant (ID),” functions as both introductory and transitional, simultaneously establishing and destabilizing a sense of tonic center. Within a movement, IDs foreshadow and ultimately intensify the arrival of tonic. Across movements, the ID acts as a transition between points of stability. Schenkerian graphic reductions highlight this duality in the context of multi-movement structures.
In the most basic example, the finale of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, a preceding movement in the tonic key contextualizes the ID that follows, resulting in I-V-I motion, joining the two movements together and prolonging the tonic harmony at the inter-movement level. An ID can also facilitate a transition between the penultimate movement in the key of the flat submediant and the finale with stepwise motion in the bass, resulting in a ♭VI-V-I cadential progression at the metastructural level. Dvořák’s Cello Concerto and Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto” and Symphony No. 7 all incorporate variations on this structure. Finally, the ID can be used in the context of a double-tonic complex to amplify harmonic tension, as in two cases from Schumann, “Florestan” in Carnaval and “Im wunderschönen monat mai” in Dichterliebe.

“Analyzing Harmony in Music with more than 1200 Tones in an Octave”
Laurence Sinclair Willis (McGill University)

Harmonic analysis relies on three fundamental concepts: position, sonority, and syntax. When any of these are missing, we find it hard to form a detailed harmonic understanding of a passage. In Ben Johnston’s String Quartet No. 7/III, all these concepts are complicated. Across its sixteen-minute course, over 1200 distinctly notated pitches are performed (thus dividing the octave into parts of less than one cent). How are we to assign a position in a key to a harmony in such fine-grained microtonal pitch-space? Moreover, the sonorities Johnston deploys are often unquantifiable using our category-poor traditional labels. How may we identify a function in a chord when we are unsure even whether it as major or minor? These are questions that all scholars of Johnston’s music must contend with (Willis 2019; Quint 2016; Johnson 2008; Huey 2006; Elster 1991; Von Gunden 1986; Shinn 1977). Few have managed to bring together sonority, syntax, and function in their analyses, because they often either ignore form or treat it separately to harmony. It is possible, however, to create a more distinctive and subtle description of this tonal system by using form as the arbiter of harmonic syntax in the manner of Nobile 2016. Johnston’s movement comprises a set of variations that are repeated several times, in turn, while slowly ascending the global octave. Each repeated variation (of four to five measures) has its own formal syntax to which we might align harmonic syntax. In parallel, the work as a whole develops a tonal syntax among the various regions of the octave in analogy to Harry Partch’s description of the different regions of his 43-tone scale. Using this formal interpretation of tonality and harmony, I demonstrate the relationship between fore- and background structures and suggest how this analytical methodology might be applied to less systematic compositions.

12:15pm     LUNCH

1:30pm     Memory, Imagery, and Poetry in Music of the Fin-de-Siecle
    Chair: Jeremy Tatar

“The Successes and Failures of Cyclic Memory in Mahler’s First Symphony”
Emma Soldaat (University of Toronto)

Repetition, and thus memory, is necessary for the constitution of musical form; what happens to form, then, when music’s memory fails? I argue that the distortions in Mahler’s cyclic formal designs may be regarded as processes of failed musical memory. By integrating modernist theories of non-linear time and memory with current perspectives on nineteenth-century cyclicism, Mahler’s forms may be explored through both Romantic reminiscence and modernist dysfunctional temporality.
To explore the aesthetic of memory in Mahler, my analysis of Mahler’s First Symphony incorporates Proust and Bergson’s mnemonic theories with current scholarship on cyclical form to provide a fruitful framework for discussing misremembrance in music. In recent music scholarship, aesthetic memory through cyclicism and quotation have been addressed in the music of the long nineteenth century, from Schubert to Ravel (Frisch 2000; Taylor 2011 & 2016; Puri 2011); many of these analyses also engage with Proust and Bergson, particularly Proust’s involuntary memory and Bergson’s pure memory. These forms of memory, as well as Bergson’s recollection memory and habit memory, factor into the three points of misremembrance which form the body of my analysis. The song theme in the first movement’s exposition reverts to strophic form, the recapitulation of the same movement reprises the development rather than the exposition, and finale’s return to F minor returns to the first movement’s breakthrough and subsequent shift to D major, now an off-key coda rather than a tonal return. These three zones enter into a dialogue with previous musical material by misremembering or involuntarily reenacting their own pasts.
Examining Mahler’s sonata forms through a mnemonic framework embraces idiosyncratic elements of Mahler’s music, such as the musical subject, physical gesture, problematized repetition, and non-linear progress. In conjunction with cyclic and sonata forms, this framework proposes new avenues of idiomatic insight into Mahlerian form.

“Imagery and Symbolism in the Orchestration of Richard Strauss’s Elektra”
Reid Isaak (McGill University)

Since its premiere in 1909, Richard Strauss’s Elektra has been praised for its powerful and innovative orchestration. Both supporters and critics of the work were impressed by Strauss’s coloristic writing for the largest opera orchestra used to date (though the latter considered it a mask of the composition’s weaker qualities). However, despite the general acknowledgement of the importance of orchestration in Elektra, remarkably little is understood about this aspect of the drama. My paper serves to address this gap in the literature by considering two types of orchestration in Elektra that are tied to specific symbolic & imagistic aspects of Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s libretto. The first type involves the association of instrumental timbres with specific imagery and mimetic actions within the drama. This method depends on a set of conceptual metaphors that map different aspects of instrumental timbre to visual and physical domains, such as the mapping of the physical gesture of bowed strings to the animalistic, “scratching” gesture made frequently by Elektra. I analyze this type of mimetic orchestration using the categories of orchestral timbre descriptors outlined by Zachary Wallmark. The second orchestration type involves the use of orchestral grouping structures to depict various symbolic oppositions within the drama. For example, the varied orchestrations Elektra’s frequent bitonal harmonies as either a fused chord or a segregated pair of triads can be taken to symbolize psychological unity or discord, respectively. In the analysis of these orchestral groupings, I employ a method of graphic representation adopted from Emily Dolan and Meghan Goodchild. After outlining these two orchestration types, I close by discussing the different affordances of these types and how these differences influence their unique semantic roles in Strauss’s Elektra.

“Double Translation in Poetic Readings of Vaughan Williams’ ‘Whither Must I Wander’”
Alison Gilbert (University of Georgia)

Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Whither Must I Wander” from his Songs of Travel is cherished in the English art song repertoire; however, its poet, Robert Louis Stevenson, is much more often acknowledged for his novels than his poetry. Stevenson himself was an avid amateur musician, and his own musical interests manifest in different ways in his own collection, Songs of Travel. The untitled seventeenth poem in his collection, which Vaughan Williams set as “Whither Must I Wander,” contains the subtitle “to the Tune of Wandering Willie.” While this tune was previously assumed to be the one commonly known by that name, with a popular contrafact by Robert Burns, a manuscript from Stevenson’s papers, recently brought to light by J.F.M. Russell, shows that Stevenson in fact used a different tune as the inspiration for this poem. An examination of the two different tunes shows that the tune from the manuscript is much more fitting for Stevenson’s text, particularly in terms of meter. The poem itself is characterized by stark affective shifts, as the protagonist, in turn, ruminates on his miserable present, an idealized past, and a hopeless future.
This paper will use the poem as a fulcrum to consider the double translation from music to poetry to music by performing three readings of the poem: one in isolation, one through the lens of the manuscript tune, and one through the lens of Vaughan Williams’ setting. This will show how Stevenson encodes the musical properties of the tune into his text and how Vaughan Williams translates and reinterprets those characteristics. Additionally, these readings will reveal how Vaughan Williams’ choices both highlight and reinterpret the affective turns of the poetry.

3:00pm     BREAK

3:15pm     Disrupting Hegemonic Outlooks
    Chair: Claire McLeish

“Domestic Objects, ‘Third’ Spaces, and ‘Alternative’ lofts: Éliane Radigue’s trips to the New York downtown new music scene”
Emanuelle Majeau-Bettez (McGill University)

Scholars have commented upon the informality and the domestic-like aspects of the 1970s New York downtown new music loft scene. Such accounts emphasize the flexibility of time planning, the ridiculously cheap cost of events, food and drinks, and the laid-back attitude of musicians and audience members (Gendron 2012). Domesticity is read as indicating the status of lofts as alternative “third spaces,” eschewing both the commercial demands of nightclubs, and the formal restrictions of high-art concert halls (Heller 2016). While acknowledging the new modalities of performing, listening and networking that were afforded by such spaces, this presentation questions the concept of the “third space,” and problematizes the way domesticity is expressed by scholars when reminiscing about the New York experimental music scene. I investigate such notions by following Parisian-based female electronic music pioneer Éliane Radigue in her 1970s trips to two New York lofts, The Kitchen and Phill’s Loft. As a composer whose gender has historically been homologically bonded to the domestic sphere, such “third (loft) spaces” presented Radigue with the only public venues in which she could perform her music. I therefore argue that nostalgic renderings of the loft era’s domesticity, and the sense of choice embedded in “third spaces,” are symptomatic of an analysis that limits itself to an assumed hegemonic male sensitivity. I conclude by emphasizing how privileging a male perspective participates in obscuring the labour and modes of resistance of female composers who creatively reappropriated domestic spaces and, in Radigue’s case, whose stubborn aesthetic desire repeatedly drove her across the Atlantic ocean.

“Landscape Music through a Settler-Colonial Lens”
Hester Bell Jordan (McGill University)

“Landscape” is a theme that appears frequently in discourse about music from the former British colonies of Canada and New Zealand. Often linked to nationalistic identities, the colonial roots of these discourses have not often been considered by musicologists. I argue that far from being an innocuous choice of musical subject matter, landscape is connected to past and present struggles over land claims between indigenous peoples and settler-colonial governments and individuals (Mitchell, 1994). Rendering land into landscape through musical composition is one means by which settler presence is justified and naturalized. This paper examines two mid-twentieth-century works connected to landscape by their respective creators: North Country (1948) by Canadian composer Harry Somers (1925-1999) and Overture: Aotearoa (1940) by New Zealand composer Douglas Lilburn (1915-2001). By examining reception of these pieces, statements made by the composers, and specific musical features, I show how the works and their creators were part of a wider settler-colonial project that constructed indigenous land as empty wilderness prime for the taking by settlers. My argument is informed by theories from settler-colonial studies, art history, and literary studies, where scholarship on the political significance of landscape is well established (Mitchell, 1994; Skinner, 2014; Veracini, 2010). These issues remain relevant today as examples of landscape-themed music continue to be cast as viable and unifying expressions of Canadian and New Zealand national identities (see Cherney, 1975; Norman, 2006).

4:15pm    Closing Remarks
    Wirth Music Building, A-832
    Rachel Avery and Lena Heng, Symposium Co-Chairs