Editor’s Message

[1] February 1993 saw the launch of a new journal called Music Theory Online. Unless you were seated in an office on a university campus, “Online” probably meant “sent to your home via a modem that screeched at you” at transmission rates that resembled a meandering country road rather than an information superhighway. The brand-new World Wide Web was just getting started (there was already a website devoted to viola jokes). Personal computers lacked adequate memory and storage for crisp, high-resolution graphics. Playing music on a personal computer was not yet a common thing; the MPEG-1 standard, predecessor of MP3, came out later that year; any sort of animation had to be downloaded in compressed form, decompressed on your own computer, then played with one of the few applications (“app” was not yet in common parlance) available. The first web browser had been released that January, but its use was not yet widespread. Distribution of MTO was via LISTSERV, a sort of email subscription service that still exists in the dustier corners of the Internet.

[2] The inaugural editor of MTO, Lee Rothfarb, was joined by a distinguished slate of co-editors—David Butler, Justin London, Elizabeth West Marvin, Gregory Proctor, and the author of the publication’s inaugural article, David Neumeyer. His “Schoenberg at the Movies: Dodecaphony and Film” was the sole item in MTO 0.1.

[3] This stroll down memory lane is significant because it is my great pleasure to welcome David Neumeyer back to MTO. He will serve as editor on an interim basis starting this fall. Well known as a pioneering scholar of film music and an incisive critic of musical orthodoxies, David will lead a team of associate editors: continuing editors René Rusch and Bryn Hughes, plus the new addition to our team, Brad Osborn. In addition, David Heetderks will take over from Joti Rockwell and Michael Callahan as reviews editor. Finally, this fall we will also welcome a stellar group of editorial board members—Matthew Boyle, Deborah Burton, Sarah Ellis, Drew Nobile, Steven Reale, Nicholas Reyland, and Jim Sobaskie.

[4] This issue of MTO takes full advantage of innovations in computational technology since the 1990s. Sean Atkinson employs topic theory to examine the music in two video game environments, one from the ‘90s and one that is more recent. Chelsea Burns examines physical constraint and agency as factors in the creation of an iconic pedal steel guitar solo from the 1960s. Richard Plotkin’s video visualizations provide a tool with which to examine models of chord succession and continuity. Sean Smither navigates guide-tone space in jazz, in so doing interrogating the nature of jazz tonality; David Temperley uses information theory to examine and analyze music of the Renaissance and common practice eras from both structural and performance-oriented points of view. John Turner interrogates the issue of authentic and hybrid culture in a work by the 20th century Korean composer Isang Yun. A book review by Cara Stroud of Lori Burns and Serge Lacasse, eds., The Pop Palimpsest: Intertextuality in Recorded Popular Music rounds out the issue rounds out the issue.

[5] Although MTO is 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. We encourage submissions in formats both tried and true and new and creative. Our main criterion is conversation: does your work engage in fruitful dialogue with the work and music of others? 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.

[6] 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 Music Theory Online—a Journal of the Society for Music Theory.

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