Editor’s Message

Dear Readers:

[1] Welcome to Music Theory Online 26.4. In this final issue of volume 26, we are pleased to present nine articles and three book reviews. Three articles identify and explore the significance of musical patterns in select repertoire. In “A ‘Proto-Theme’ in Some of J. S. Bach’s Fugal Works,” John Reef suggests that select fugal expositions may be conceived as elaborations of the same underlying structural model, or “proto-theme.” Nicholas Stoia, in “Blues Lyric Formulas in Early Country Music, Rhythm and Blues, and Rock and Roll,” compares lyric formulas in pre- and postwar popular music, and relates them to American communities’ evolving social and economic concerns. Karen Desmond, Emily Hopkins, Samuel Howes, and Julie E. Cumming also engage with questions about similarity and change in “Computer-aided Analysis of Sonority in the French Motet Repertory, ca. 1300–1350,” examining sonority types in three- and four-voice motets that were composed before and during the emergence of the ars nova.

[2] Two articles focus on the historical context of select works by Ravel and Schoenberg, respectively, and one article reexamines the reception history of J. S. Bach’s music in 1920s Germany. Kyle Fyr traces the diminishing significance of bells in nineteenth-century French culture and discusses Ravel’s nostalgic and innovative auditory landscape in “Mapping Ravel’s ‘La Vallée des Cloches.’” Joon Park reassesses Schoenberg’s dissimilar responses to fascism in “Analyzing Schoenberg’s War Compositions as Satire and Sincerity: A Comparative Analysis of Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte and A Survivor from Warsaw.” In “Pen, Paper, Steel: Visualizing Bach’s Polyphony at the Bauhaus,” Stephanie Probst shows how Henrik Neugeboren’s and Paul Klee’s visual art offers us a unique lens for viewing the controversial reception history of Bach’s music in early twentieth-century music theory discourse.

[3] Three other articles discuss the relationship between performance-related issues and analysis. In “Shaping Form: Performances as Analyses of Cyclic Macroform in Arnold Schoenberg’s Sechs kleine Klavierstücke, op. 19 (1911), in the Recordings of Eduard Steuermann and Other Pianists,” Christian Utz and Thomas Glaser examine the interdependency between macro- and microformal pianistic strategies in forty-six recordings of op. 19, and discuss how these strategies help convey cyclic cohesion among the work’s six pieces. Toru Momii and Jonathan De Souza, in their respective articles “A Transformational Approach to Gesture in Shō Performance” and “Instrumental Transformations in Heinrich Biber’s Mystery Sonatas,” each explore the notion of an embodied music theory through transformational voice-leading theory. Altogether, the nine articles featured in this issue offer a wondrous constellation of topics, approaches, and repertoire.

[4] Thanks to the outstanding work of our two reviews editors David Heetderks and Bryan Parkhurst, we are also delighted to share with you three book reviews. In her review of Hungry Listening: Resonant Theory for Indigenous Sound Studies (2020), Robin Attas discusses Dylan Robinson’s conception of listening positionality and its implications for the field of music theory. Leah Frederick considers Jason Yust’s theoretical framework for exploring the temporal intersection of tonal music’s three modalities in Organized Time: Rhythm, Tonality, and Form (2018), which won the Society for Music Theory’s Wallace Berry Award in 2019. Finally, Marc Hannaford reflects on Leslie A. Tilley’s analyses of two improvisatory Balinese practices reyong norot and kendang arja in Making It Up Together: The Art of Collective Improvisation in Balinese Music and Beyond (2019).

[5] We would like to congratulate Mark Spicer, who is this year’s recipient of the Society for Music Theory’s Outstanding Publication Award for his article “Fragile, Emergent, and Absent Tonics in Pop and Rock Songs,” which was published in MTO in issue 23.2 (June 2017).

[6] We are also thrilled to welcome seven new members to our editorial board—Richard Ashley, Alexandra Kieffer, Benjamin Levy, Maryam Moshaver, Janna Saslaw, Peter Schubert, and Chris Stover—and Inessa Bazayev and Jenine Brown, who will join Brad Osborn and Jonathan Guez as associate editors, as Mitch Ohriner steps into the role of editor-in-chief for our forthcoming issue 27.1 (March 2021). As my last issue serving as editor, I would like to express my deep gratitude to everyone at MTO, Publications Committee Chair Jack Boss, and SMT President Pat Hall for their guidance, camaraderie, and tremendous support during this very difficult year. On behalf of all of us at MTO, I would also like to sincerely thank external reviewers for their valuable contributions to our review processes. MTO is a much stronger journal because of you, and your expertise and advice are greatly appreciated.

[7] Thank you, as always, for your support of MTO—a journal of the Society for Music Theory. We wish you a restful holiday, and hope the new year brings you peace and better days ahead.