Editor’s Message

Dear Readers:

[1] Welcome to Music Theory Online 26.3. In this issue, we are pleased to present twelve articles and two book reviews. The first eight articles feature a variety of topics that engage with repertoire from the eighteenth through the twentieth century, from German baroque chorale harmonization to neoclassical jazz improvisation with robots. Drake Andersen explores Earle Browns’s role as a conductor in the open form composition Novara (1962); Yosef Goldenberg proposes a new category of theme types, “continuous question-answer pairs”; Megan Lavengood expands Allan Moore’s (2012) methodology for analyzing musical timbre in pop music from the 1980s; Rachel Lumsden discusses Oliveria Louisa Prescott’s music theory writings for The Girl’s Own Paper from 1886–91; Sarah Marlowe compares prior voice-leading analyses of J. S. Bach’s Fugue in D minor (The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I) and considers the relationship between the work’s formal design and tonal structure; Brian Miller examines the semiotic and improvisational capabilities of computer improvisation, and the politics of algorithmic choices; Derek Remeš offers a translation of and commentary on Heinrich Stötzel’s treatise Kürzer und gründliche Unterricht (ca. 1719–49); and Stephen Rodgers and Tyler Osborne introduce three types of prolongational closure in Fanny Mendelssohn’s songs.

[2] The last four articles celebrate the music of Chen Yi (b. 1953). As Jennifer Bain summarizes in her introduction, this tribute to Chen’s work originated as a special session that was hosted by the Society for Music Theory’s (SMT) Committee on the Status of Women during the Annual Meeting of the SMT in Arlington, Virginia (2017). Nancy Rao, John Roeder, and Marianne Kielian-Gilbert join Chen in presenting a multi-dimensional approach to her work, discussing such issues as Chinese history and culture, the interaction between Chinese and Western aesthetics, identity, music temporality, and durational patterning.

[3] Thanks to the wonderful work of our reviews editors David Heetderks and Bryan Parkhurst, this issue also contains two book reviews by Ben Baker and Matthew Mendez. Baker explores Keith Waters’s approach to theorizing and analyzing postbop music in Postbop Jazz in the 1960s: The Compositions of Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, and Chick Corea (2019), and Mendez discusses Jennifer Iverson’s close study of the artistic collaborations, aesthetics, and innovations that emerged from the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) studio in Electronic Inspirations: Technologies of the Cold War Musical Avant-Garde (2019).

[4] We would sincerely like to thank Trevor de Clercq for stepping in as an interim associate editor while Brad Osborn was on paternity leave. In addition to offering sound advice on a number of MTO matters, Trevor oversaw the review process for the journal and helped copyedit this issue. A special thanks also goes to David Neumeyer for his generous assistance with the Chen Yi articles. To the editorial board members who will be rotating off this November—Johanna Frymoyer, Edward Klorman, Joseph Kraus, Nancy Murphy, and Keith Waters—we would like to extend our gratitude and appreciation for your service. We have been so fortunate to have you on our team. Your expertise and reliability have been instrumental to the journal’s operations, and we will miss working with you. And last, but certainly not least, we would like to thank external reviewers for their valuable contributions to our review processes. MTO is a much stronger journal because of you, and we greatly appreciate your help.

[5] Finally, as we venture into this fall season amid continued health, social, economic, and political concerns, we are especially reminded of the difficulties that many of us have already encountered this year and of the ways in which our current climate can leave us feeling more disillusioned. We remember the advice offered by the late John Lewis (1940–2020)—that we “have to be optimistic in order to continue to move forward” (Ifill 2013)—and we wish you peace and hope during these troubled times.


Ifill, Gwen. 2013. Interview with John Lewis. PBS NewsHour, PBS, April 27, 2013.