Editor’s Message

“Nostalgia in reverse, the longing for yet another strange land, grew especially strong in spring.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Mary (1926)

Spring is here at last, and so the thoughts of academics young and old turn to the pleasures of new places, new ideas, and new encounters. I am referring, of course, to the joys of attending regional conferences, which are listed (along with many other events of interest) on SMT’s “Upcoming Events” page. Whether or not you plan to travel to a scholarly meeting in the near future, we invite you to engage with the new ideas presented in Music Theory Online 21.1, featuring cutting-edge research on popular music, pedagogy, the minor mode in the common-practice era, and Ravel’s relationship to Japonisme. We also refer to you the new issue of our sister journal, Music Theory Spectrum 37, no. 1, which contains scholarly work by several members of the Music Theory Online editorial staff: current associate editor Stephen Rodgers on song and the sounds of poetry, past associate editor Karen Bottge on Victor Hammer’s correspondence with Schenker, and current reviews editor Kyle Adams on Danger Mouse.

The present issue of Music Theory Online includes three articles that contribute to the rapidly growing body of popular-music scholarship: Brett Clement analyzes patterns of key-signature transformations in extended Yes songs, Dave Easley explores the spatial mapping of guitar riffs in early hardcore punk, and Matthew Hough identifies some structural contrapuntal frameworks in demo recordings by Stevie Nicks and examines their later normalizations and compositional potential.

Two articles apply recently developed pedagogical practices to the teaching of music theory and musicianship. “Hacking the Music Theory Classroom” is a multipart collaborative work by Philip Duker, Anna Gawboy, Bryn Hughes, and Kris Shaffer, derived from an SMT 2013 special session sponsored jointly by the IT/Networking Committee and the Pedagogy Interest Group. The authors discuss techniques of standards-based grading, just-in-time teaching, and the inverted or flipped classroom and describe their use in different types of music programs. In “Planning for Student Variability,” Bruce Quaglia surveys the Universal Design for Learning guidelines and suggests methods for their implementation in theory and musicianship classes.

Katelyn Horn and David Huron present an empirical survey of changes in the use of the minor mode during the common-practice period, and correlations of major and minor with tempo, dynamics, and articulation. Jessica Stankis draws cross-domain connections between aspects of texture and melodic motion in works of Ravel and spatial and directional relationships in Japanese art.

Thanks to our excellent reviews editors Kyle Adams and Heather Platt, we also present three book reviews in this volume, of three different types of books. Hali Fieldman offers an incisive critique of the musicianship textbook Aural Skills in Context by Evan Jones, Matthew Shaftel, and Juan Chattah. Landon Morrison summarizes and evaluates Brian Kane’s Sound Unseen: Acousmatic Sound in Theory and Practice. In a comparison of two recent jazz-theory textbooks, The Berklee Book of Jazz Harmony by Joe Mulholland and Tom Hojnacki and Jazz Theory: From Basic to Advanced Study by Darius Terefenko, Keith Salley considers their contrasting perspectives on harmonic function and chord-scale theory.

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 text submissions in a variety of formats, including full-length articles, shorter essays and commentaries, conference reports, and entire special volumes. Commentaries in response to this issue’s articles, as well as announcements for our job listings and dissertation index, may be submitted to the Editor for publication in the next issue. Please refer to our submission guidelines.

All MTO volumes dating back to our first issue in 1993 can be accessed from the contents page at http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/issues.html. Thank you, as always, for your support of MTO—a Journal of the Society for Music Theory.

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