Editor’s Message

Dear MTO readers,

As the whirlwind of the semester subsides, we look forward to vacation time, family time, and holiday celebrations, as well as some time to focus on our own research (and craft our SMT proposals). To help inspire you for this last activity, we are pleased to present MTO volume 20.4, featuring new research on song personas in popular music, Amy Beach’s song forms, modal idioms in Rachmaninoff, music and the ineffable, performance and analysis of Chopin and Schumann, and reviews of books by Elizabeth Margulis, Bryan Simms, and David Beach.

In the wake of the recent SMT annual meeting, congratulations are due to Steven Rings, author of the very fine article “A Foreign Sound to Your Ear: Bob Dylan Performs ‘It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding),’ 1964–2009,” published in MTO 19.4 (December 2013), which won the Popular Music Interest Group’s outstanding publication award for 2014.

In the current volume, Matthew BaileyShea examines shifting pronouns and perspectives in the lyrics and music of popular songs in “From Me To You: Dynamic Discourse in Popular Music.” In “Modal Idioms and Their Rhetorical Associations in Rachmaninoff’s Works,” Blair Johnston describes diatonic and equal-interval (symmetrical) modes, their correlations with non-pitched parameters, and their rhetorical functions in numerous works by Rachmaninoff. Beate Kutschke, in “Music and Other Sign Systems,” investigates the concept of music’s ineffability and untranslatability, and explores its differing relationships to verbal language and to other sign systems. Victoria Malawey theorizes hybrid song forms and their expressive effects in “Strophic Modification in Songs by Amy Beach.”

Three articles by accomplished scholars focus on the analysis and performance of works by Chopin and Schumann, with original recordings by the authors. Robert Hatten, in “Performing Expressive Closure in Structurally Open Contexts,” explores the ways in which closure is accomplished—and contravened—in Chopin’s Prelude op. 28 no. 2 and Schumann’s Davidsbundlertanz op. 6 no. 7. In “On Performing Chopin’s Barcarolle,” David Kopp uses a combination of analysis, a survey of expressive markings in different editions, and a personal metaphor to inform his performance of Chopin’s Barcarolle op. 60. And in “Treading Robert Schumann’s New Path: Understanding Declamation in the Late Lieder through Analysis and Recomposition,” Harald Krebs surveys the expressive function of deviations from normative declamation in late Schumann songs.

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. Elizabeth Margulis’s On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind (Oxford, 2013), the winner of the 2014 Wallace Berry Award, is reviewed with precision and clarity by Joshua Albrecht. Dave Headlam provides an admirably detailed review of Pro Mundo, Pro Domo: The Writings of Alban Berg (Oxford, 2014), a new collection of translations and commentaries by Bryan R. Simms on almost fifty of Berg’s writings. And Joseph Kraus thoughtfully reviews David Beach’s textbook Advanced Schenkerian Analysis: Perspectives on Phrase Rhythm, Motive, and Form (Routledge, 2012).

Many of us teach alone and do our research alone, and so it is in the domain of service that a sense of community is strongest. I am pleased and honored to join the scholarly community surrounding this journal, and to help further its missions of providing high-quality open-access scholarship in music theory and analysis, fostering research on new or under-analyzed repertoires, and making use of new media. I am particularly grateful to outgoing editor Yonatan Malin, outgoing associate editor Karen Bottge , incoming associate editor Steve Rodgers, and managing editor Brent Yorgason for their invaluable assistance in smoothing the transition as we have worked on these past two issues (we have co-edited volumes 20.3 and 20.4).

We offer sincere thanks to the outgoing board members who have served MTO faithfully over the past three years, Nancy Rao, Joti Rockwell, and Steve Rodgers, and we are pleased to welcome new board members Arved Ashby, Mine Dogantan-Dack, David Neumeyer, Rene Rusch, and Chris Stover. Thanks also to Brent Yorgason for his tireless work behind the scenes despite many competing demands on his time, to the members of the editorial board for their thorough and constructive reviews, and to the editorial assistants for their dedication, hard work, and attention to detail. We are, in addition, deeply indebted to the many referees who provide lengthy, detailed, and well thought-out reviews containing excellent advice for our authors. This reflects an impressive and commendable commitment to mentoring new scholarship in the discipline as well as helping to disseminate it.

Beyond the appreciation expressed above, deeper gratitude is due to Yonatan Malin and Karen Bottge for everything they have accomplished over the past four years, bringing forth high-quality scholarship on a broad range of topics, including a variety of special issues: twentieth-century Russian theory (20.3, 2014), engaging with theoretical and analytical traditions largely neglected in the West until recently; the music of Conlon Nancarrow from a variety of perspectives beyond theory and analysis (20.1, 2014); Analyzing Performance (18.1, 2012) and Theorizing Improvisation (19.2, 2013), both of which connect theory and analysis with the practice of music-making; a festschrift in honor of Steve Larson (18.2, 2012); and The History and Future of MTO (20.3, 2014), marking the twentieth anniversary of this journal (counting from volume 1.1). They also oversaw publication of the first video article, by Peter Schubert and Massimiliano Guido (20.2, 2014), an innovative format that we plan to continue using in the future. These issues and articles, as well as all of the other scholarship that has appeared in MTO over the past four years, have had and will continue to have a lasting impact on the field.

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 essays and commentaries, conference reports, 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.

We 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 http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/issues.html. Thank you, as always, for your support of MTO - a Journal of the Society for Music Theory. It has been a pleasure and privilege to serve you for the past three years.

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