Society for Music Theory

Editor’s Message

Il est doux de se coucher durant la chaleur sous un arbre toufu, et d’attendre que le vent du soir amène la fraîcheur1.

     - from the Chansons madécasses by Évariste Parny

Dear magnanimous readers of MTO,

With the summer sun simmering overhead it is time to find yourself a shady spot and cool your head with volume 17.2 of MTO - a Journal of the Society for Music Theory. This volume presents twelve entries (five articles, five essays, and two reviews) the majority of which promise a veritable July-4th celebration of American music and musical understanding. In particular, this issue includes a four-essay tribute to Milton Babbitt (1916-2011), written by authors who were directly affected by his work as a composer, scholar, and teacher.

Mimetics, Neurophysiology, and Embodiment

In his wide-ranging article, “Embodying Music: Principles of the Mimetic Hypothesis,” Arnie Cox presents a hypothesis of how music becomes internalized into the bodies and minds of listeners through the process of mimetic motor imagery.

Stephen Jan explores mimetic processes through the lens of the neurophysiologist William Calvin, investigating an interface between evolutionary thought, cognitive science, and music theory in his article, “Music, Memory and Memes in the Light of Calvinian Neuroscience.”

Copland’s fifths and Ives’s collages

David Heetderks’s “A Tonal Revolution in Fifths and Semitones: Aaron Copland’s Quiet City” employs a perfect fifth/semitone Tonnetz to show how Copland transforms and expands the potential of musical elements drawn from the tonal system.

Copland’s structurally significant use of perfect fifths is also the subject of Stanley Kleppinger’s article, “Copland’s Fifths and Their Structural Role in the Sonata for Violin and Piano,” which focuses on how ic-5 networks control both surface and large-scale organization.

In her article, “Creating Space: Perception and Structure in Charles Ives’s Collages,” Jennifer Iverson borrows elements from Auditory Scene Analysis to parse the chaotic surface of Ives’s musical collages, showing how their spatial or pictorial quality derives from a mimicking of real-world environments.

Essays in honor of Milton Babbitt (1916-2011)

Four scholars whose lives have been especially touched by Milton Babbitt present perspectives on his compositional language. These thoughtful analytical essays represent only a small token of Babbitt’s profound influence on music and music study of the last century. Emily Adamowicz discusses Philomel, Zachary Bernstein explores It Takes Twelve to Tango, Ciro Scotto investigates Groupwise, and Daphne Leong considers both Homily and Beaten Paths.


An additional analytical essay by Martin Kutnowski, “How Register Tells the Story in Scriabin’s Op. 22, No. 2,” may bring refreshing thoughts of the Russian winter.

Early Medieval Music, and the German Lied

Finally, you might find some last-minute summer reading in our two book reviews: Jeremy Grall discusses Charles M. Atkinson’s book, The Critical Nexus: Tone-System, Mode, and Notation in Early Medieval Music, while Justin London reviews Yonatan Malin’s Songs in Motion: Rhythm and Meter in the German Lied.

None of this is possible without the fabulous folks who work behind the scenes: Brent Yorgason (Marietta College), our managing editor, and all of our editorial assistants: Sean Atkinson (UT Arlington), John Reef (Indiana University), Michael McClimon (Indiana U), Emily Gertsch (FSU), and Judith Ofcarcik (FSU).

Thanks also go to our editorial board, whose careful, constructive, and timely reading of submissions ensures the cutting-edge quality that you have come to expect from MTO. The 2011 editorial board includes the following scholars: Nicole Biamonte (McGill University), Karen Bottge (University of Kentucky), Steven Brown (Northern Arizona University), Guy Capuzzo (UNC Greensboro), Mark Anson-Cartwright (Queens College, CUNY), Dora A. Hanninen (University of Maryland), Gary S. Karpinski (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Jonathan Kochavi (Swarthmore College), Catherine Losada (CCM, University of Cincinnati), Yonatan Malin (Wesleyan University), and Deborah Rifkin (Ithaca College).

As always, we would like to encourage new and creative submissions to MTO. Although we are uniquely suited for the publication of articles that incorporate recordings, videos, and other media, we also welcome submissions in any number of formats, including full-length articles, shorter commentaries, conference summaries, and entire special volumes.

Comments in response to this issue’s articles may be submitted to the Editor for publication in the next issue. Also, please refer to our new submission guidelines, if you are interested in submitting.

The dynamic listings for job announcements and upcoming conferences will soon be moving to the SMT homepage, but for now, please submit your announcements to MTO. We will continue to link to them from MTO for the foreseeable future.

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

Thank you, as always, for your support of MTO - a Journal of the Society for Music Theory.


1. It is sweet to lie down during the heat under a leafy tree, and to wait until the evening breeze brings freshness.