Society for Music Theory

Editor’s Message

Greetings to all readers of MTO! I hope you are enjoying the opportunities provided by the summertime. Many of you may be attempting to escape the heat by hiding in a cool movie theater, but we are pleased to present an alternative to the high-speed chases and tragic love affairs. Volume 15.2 of MTO includes four fascinating articles, two commentaries and two reviews, many of which take advantage of MTO’s unique multi-media capabilities.

The Da Vinci Code
In his article, “Discrete Fourier Transform and Bach’s Good Temperament,” Emmanuel Amiot employs mathematical characterizations of major scales to lend credence to Bradley Lehman’s much disputed theory that Bach’s tuning system is encoded in the scribble on the title page of his Wohltemperierte Klavier.

Doctor Zhivago…
In his article, “Axis Tonality and Submediant in the Music of Shostakovich,” Stephen Brown explores third relations and tonal pairing in Shostakovich’s music, revealing a thread of continuity that links Shostakovich to his Russian predecessors: Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Borodin, and Mussorgsky.

Coach Carter…
Joseph Kraus employs interactive scores and sound clips in “Coaching Mozart’s String Quintet in E-Flat Major: Finding the Rhythmic Shape” to demonstrate how issues of phrase rhythm might inform the preparation of the first movement of K. 614 for performance.

State of Play…
In “’Plays of Opposing Motion’: Contra-Structural Melodic Impulses in Voice-leading Analysis,” Frank Samarotto extrapolates from Schenker’s work to focus on the oft-ignored melodic impulses that pull against the tonal structure or the descent of the Urlinie.

Justin Williams (“Beats and Flows”) and Kyle Adams (“People’s Instinctive Assumptions and the Paths of Narrative”) exchange commentary about Kyle Adams recent MTO article, “Aspects of the Music/Text Relationship in Rap” (14.2).

Siskel and Ebert…
Also in this volume are two reviews. Mark McFarland closely examines Jeremy Day-O'Connell’s book, Pentatonicism from the Eighteenth Century to Debussy. Patrick Tuck provides a pedagogical review of The Musician’s Guide to Theory and Analysis, by Jane Piper Clendinning and Elizabeth West Marvin.

The previews…
We always welcome new submissions and we would like to point potential authors to our new submission guidelines, which have gone into effect starting with this issue. Most importantly, we have moved to an author-date system, which reduces the number of clicks required in the online format. As you know, MTO is uniquely suited for the publication of articles that incorporate recordings, videos, and other media. We do welcome submissions in any number of formats, however, including full-length articles, shorter commentaries, and entire special volumes. Comments in response to this issue’s articles may be submitted to the Editor for publication in the next issue.

And the Oscar goes to….
As always, we would like to take a moment to recognize the tireless work of Brent Yorgason, our managing editor, and all of our editorial assistants, Sean Atkinson (Florida State University), Gregory Decker (Florida State University), William Guerin (Indiana University), Mitch Ohriner (Indiana University), Crystal Peebles (Florida State University), Sarah K. Sarver (Florida State University), Jennie Smith (Florida State University), and Greg McCandless (Florida State University).

Finally, our dynamic listings for job announcements, upcoming conferences, calls for papers, new dissertations, and new books are updated automatically as soon as we receive and approve any new listing. Readers can check the MTO listings at any time to find current information on recent announcements. We also have links for submitting announcements online.

All MTO volumes dating back to our first issue in 1993 can be accessed from the contents page at

So, curl up with your laptop and enjoy this summer issue of MTO - a Journal of the Society for Music Theory.

Matthew Shaftel      
Music Theory Online
Florida State University
College of Music
Tallahassee, FL 32306