Editor’s Message

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
– Albert Camus

Dear MTO readers,

The Camus quote above suggests a sense of both newness and return, appropriate for the beginning of another academic cycle. As the leaves turn, students return, and our thoughts turn to the AMS/SMT meeting in Vancouver (Nov. 3–6), we offer you a new and substantial issue of our journal. MTO 22.3 features nine articles on diverse repertoires—three each on jazz, popular music, and Western art music—as well as two book reviews.

Three articles engage with the topic of jazz improvisation. In “Rethinking Interaction in Jazz Improvisation,” Benjamin Givan categorizes different types of improvised interactions in jazz performance, and considers the contexts of historical and recent scholarship on this topic. In “Talking Back,” Paul Steinbeck examines interactions between saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell of the Art Ensemble of Chicago and an initially hostile audience in a performance of “Nonaah.” And in “Capturing the Ineffable,” René Rusch, Keith Salley, and Chris Stover consider the act of transcription and offer three different transcriptions of a Sonny Rollins saxophone solo on “All the Things You Are,” with analytical commentaries.

Three articles focus on rhythm in popular musics. In “Playing with Beats and Playing with Cats,” Kyle Adams analyzes Meow the Jewels (2015), a remix of hip-hop duo Run the Jewels’ eponymous second album, Run the Jewels 2, in which all instruments were replaced with cat sounds (a concept that originated as a parodic crowdfunding campaign). In “Measuring a Measure,” Trevor de Clercq asserts that the backbeat drum pattern does not always define the bar in popular music and offers examples of half-time and double-time backbeats, taking absolute time, tempo, and other factors into account. Scott Murphy, in a substantial response to Richard Cohn’s “A Platonic Model of Funky Rhythms” (MTO 22.2), demonstrates that Cohn’s model is part of a larger pattern of asymmetrical rhythmic successions, and discusses examples from recent popular English-language multimedia.

Three articles concern Western art music. Janet Bourne uses theories of musical expectation and linguist H. P. Grice’s maxims of good communication as a framework to explore irony in three Beethoven string quartet movements (op. 95/iv, op. 131/v, and op. 130/i). Peter Kaminsky presents a multifaceted analysis of Debussy’s Colloque sentimental, interpreting the notated score and comparing recorded performances and written commentaries by Jane Bathori and Pierre Bernac. Lasse Laursen analyzes the relationship of the orchestra to the prerecorded sounds it imitates, and more generally, the nature of musical doubling, in Simon Steen-Andersen’s Double Up (2010).

Thanks to our excellent reviews editors Kyle Adams and Heather Platt, we also present two book reviews: Mary Arlin evaluates Concise Introduction to Tonal Harmony by L. Poundie Burstein and Joseph N. Straus, and Denise von Glahn assesses Breaking Time’s Arrow: Experiment and Expression in the Music of Charles Ives by Matthew McDonald.

We 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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