Editor’s Message

Fortieth anniversaries are ambivalent milestones. To Dante, it was five years more than half the allotted human lifespan; today the dominant message of current mass culture suggests that an individual who reaches the age of forty is no longer precisely young, albeit not yet old.

An organization like the Society for Music Theory measures forty years in different ways; if we consider the documented origins of our discipline to be in the second millennium BCE, forty years is an ephemeral slice of the entire history of music theory. Yet, as the elegiac mood of last month’s annual meeting ceremony honoring some of the society’s founders testifies, forty years is a long career for a scholar; within the space of four decades, much can happen, many colleagues and mentors can pass from the scene, and many seemingly unshakeable paradigms may rise and fall.

This issue of Music Theory Online presents a good slice of the ever-broadening field of music-theoretic and -analytical inquiry. The articles group together in unexpected ways. Drake Andersen uses statistical methods to explore form and content in one of John Cage’s late “numbers” pieces; in a quite different vein, Ben Duinker and Hubert Léveillé Gauvin use statistics to examine the changing foci of our flagship journals over the past several decades. Ellen Bakulina investigates the hypermetric implications of Mozart’s fondness for canonic imitation in his instrumental music, while Thomas Johnson examines 20th century modernist repertoire through a lens most commonly used to interpret the music of Mozart’s century.

By contrast, Robert Wells adapts the Lewinian generalized intervallic toolkit to examine metric conflict in the music of Franz Liszt. Dorottya Fabian interprets data gleaned from recordings of a work by J.S. Bach from a Deleuzian perspective, while a trio of articles engage various portions of the popular-music repertoire with various methodologies: Matthew Ferrandino explores the relationship of voice leading and text-music relations in early works of David Bowie, David Forrest explores the uncanny in a wide swath of pop music, and Robert Komaniecki analyzes collaborative flow in selected rap tracks from the 1980s and ‘90s.

Books reviewed in this issue are Yayoi Uno Everett’s recent volume on myth and narrative in contemporary opera, a study of historical improvisation edited by Massimiliano Guido, a much-anticipated set of lectures given at the Darmstadt Ferienkursen in the 1950s and ‘60s by Theodor Adorno, and a collection of timely essays on music by women composers edited by Laurel Parsons and Brenda Ravenscroft.

With this issue, associate editor Jon Kochavi and I begin our terms as editors of this necessary, vital, pioneering journal. In order to put the editorial terms of SMT’s two journals into their proper sync, Jon and I will serve through 2019. Outgoing editor Nicole Biamonte went above and beyond the call of duty to help curate the pop music articles in this issue, after her official term had ended. We cannot adequately thank Nicole and outgoing associate editor Stephen Rodgers, and our continuing managing editorial team, Brent Yorgason and Michael McClimon. They cheerfully and ably provided the many sessions of tutoring, hand-holding, counseling, and communal figuring things out that go into a successful editorial changeover. It’s important to mention, as well, the role of both our editorial board and the outside readers who volunteer their time and discernment to assist in the peer review process. Each issue of every academic journal represents hours of unpaid, mainly unseen and unsung labor. I am very grateful for the multitude of collaborators that have helped us so far, and who continue to do so. It drives home to me the many ways in which all scholarship—like most music—is an act of collaboration.

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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