Society for Music Theory

Editor’s Message

Dear MTO readers,

We are pleased to announce the publication of Music Theory Online issue 17.4, featuring articles by Julian Hook, Mark Sallmen, and David Temperley; an essay by Karen Bottge; and reviews of books by Sabine Feisst, Lee Rothfarb, Dermot Gault, and Gretchen Horlacher. We promise rich and provocative readings for evenings curled up with your laptop, piano, guitar, pop-music playlists, pocket scores, and composition manuscripts on these, the shortest days of the year.

Before introducing this Volume in further detail, I would like to offer a sincere and heartfelt thank-you to Matthew Shaftel, our esteemed outgoing editor. The work that Matthew has done for MTO and the Society for Music Theory over the past four years has been outstanding. Matthew has brought forth a diverse array of superb scholarship with keen judgment, a generous spirit, ebullience, dedication, patience, daring, and good humor. Consider, for example, the range of special issues and essay collections published under Matthew’s editorship: “Animating the ‘Inside’” (15.1), music and disability studies (15.3), “Form as Process” (16.2), “Rhythm: Africa and Beyond” (16.4), “Essays in Honor of Milton Babbitt” (17.2), and “(Per)Form in(g) Rock” (17.3). These issues, and all the articles, essays, and commentaries in MTO over the past four years have had and will continue to have a lasting impact on the field. Matthew has also guided the design and implementation of a new, more inviting and elegant look for MTO. Finally, it has been a special privilege for me to work collaboratively with Matthew in the transition period between his editorship and mine. (Matthew and I have co-edited issues 17.3 and 17.4.) We offer Matthew our deepest gratitude and wish him all the best!

I would also like to announce that there will be live online discussions (aka webinars) in January with three of the authors in this issue: Karen Bottge, Julian Hook, and David Temperley. The dates and times will be announced on the smt-announce list and posted on MTO. So, read, consider, and prepare your questions and comments. We look forward to a set of engaging discussions—music theory online in (real) time.

Now, on to the issue at hand. Julian Hook’s article “How to Perform Impossible Rhythms” grapples with a fascinating notational conundrum in nineteenth-century piano music. Mark Sallmen’s article “Exploring Tetrachordal Voice-Leading Spaces Within and Around the MORRIS Constellation” is a rich and rigorous study of tetrachordal mappings with suggested compositional applications. David Temperley’s article “Scalar Shift in Popular Music” offers a new approach to scalar pitch collections in popular music from Motown to heavy metal, 1970s pop to 1980s dance music and 1990s grunge. Karen Bottge’s essay “Reading Adorno’s Reading of the Rachmaninov Prelude in C-sharp Minor: Metaphors of Destruction, Gestures of Power” interprets Adorno and Rachmaninov via psychoanalytical theory, economic theory, and recent studies of musical gesture.

Four timely book reviews have been brought to us with the dedication and editorial acumen of our reviews editor, Steven Rings. Michael Cherlin reviews Sabine Feisst’s detailed chronicle Schoenberg’s New World: The American Years (Oxford University Press, 2011). Thomas Christensen reviews and reflects on Lee Rothfarb’s biographical study August Halm: A Critical and Creative Life in Music (University of Rochester Press, 2009). Miguel J. Ramirez reviews Dermot Gault’s addition to the Brucknerian’s library, The New Bruckner: Compositional Development and the Dynamics of Revision (Ashgate, 2011). Andrew Westerhaus reviews Gretchen Horlacher’s analysis of sketch studies and scores in Building Blocks: Repetition and Continuity in the Music of Stravinsky (Oxford University Press, 2011).

The MTO editorial board provides careful, constructive, and timely reviews of submissions. Special thanks to the outgoing board members who have served MTO faithfully over the past three years: Nicole Biamonte (McGill University), Guy Capuzzo (UNC Greensboro), and Deborah Rifkin (Ithaca College). We welcome four new board members with this issue: Kyle Adams (Indiana University), Nancy Rao (Rutgers), Joti Rockwell (Pomona), and Stephen Rodgers (University of Oregon). The highly valued continuing board members are Mark Anson-Cartwright (Queens College, CUNY), Karen Bottge (University of Kentucky), Stephen Brown (Northern Arizona University), Dora A. Hanninen (University of Maryland), Gary S. Karpinski (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Jonathan Kochavi (Swarthmore College), and Catherine Losada (CCM, University of Cincinnati). Our managing editor, Brent Yorgason, provides expert leadership on formatting and all things technological. We are also grateful for the dedication and and hard work of our editorial assistants: Sean Atkinson (UT Arlington), Emily Gertsch (Florida State University), Michael McClimon (Indiana University), Judith Ofcarcik (Florida State University), John Peterson (Florida State University), and John Reef (Indiana University).

We would like to encourage new and creative submissions to MTO. Although we are especially well 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 submission guidelines, if you are interested in submitting.

Listings for upcoming events have moved to the SMT site (upcoming events). We continue to host job listings and a dissertation index; please submit announcements for both to MTO.

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.