Editor’s Message

Dear Readers:

[1] Welcome to Volume 27 of Music Theory Online. The editorial team is pleased to present eight articles and two reviews for your edification and enjoyment! As in so many issues of MTO in the past, several articles in the current issue call for music theorists to widen our perspectives on what music theory can be and what music theorists can study. Richard Beaudoin, in “Gould’s Creaking Chair, Schoenberg’s Metric Clarity,” advances Glenn Gould’s chair, “a sound-making device,” as an expressive agent in Gould’s recordings of Schoenberg, one that captures the trace of the performer’s moving body. Edwin K. C. Li’s “Cantopop and the Speech-Melody Complex” interrogates our frequent distinctions between speech and song, documenting a complex that “embraces native Cantonese speakers’ experience of the potentialities of speech and melody before they come into being.” And Anabel Maler and Robert Komaniecki’s “Rhythmic Techniques in Deaf Hip Hop” demonstrates an alignment of rhythm, meter, and communication in signed rap, clarifying distinctions and congruities among non-signed rap, dip hop, and ASL poetry.

[2] Continuing the thread of cross-modal analysis, Orit Hilewicz’s “Schoenberg’s Cinematographic Blueprint: A Programmatic Analysis of Begleitungsmusik zu einer Lichtspielscene (1929–1930)” presents a method, informed by various analytical strategies, to interpret Schoenberg’s work as a blueprint for a film. This blueprint has been realized through a collaboration with the artist and filmmaker Stephen Sewell, and we are pleased to invite readers to view the film in Hilewicz’s companion publication in SMT-V. Schoenberg’s music is also the wellspring for Keith Salley’s “Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Schoenberg’s Klavierstücke, op. 33a” which integrates music analysis with the consideration of two psycholinguistic phenomena: semantic satiation, whereby the semantic meaning of a word is lost in repeated hearings, and the verbal transformation effect, whereby one confronting semantic satiation searches for meaning in the phonemes of the word. In roughly contemporary music, Jennifer P. Beavers also considers how sound can highlight and conceal meaning in her “Ravel’s Sound: Timbre and Orchestration in his Late Works,” which shows the composer creating “imaginary, transformative, or illusory” sound objects through orchestrational choices related to musical structure.

[3]The issue also furthers the burgeoning interest in studies of metal music with two articles. Jose Garza’s “Transcending Time (Feels): Riff Types, Timekeeping Cymbals, and Time Feels in Contemporary Metal Music” takes as its departure the many recent studies of the roles of kick and snare in the metric organization of rock and rock-adjacent genres, but turns its attention to how other instruments in the texture (e.g., guitar, bass, cymbals, etc.) can “reinforce, clarify, or contradict” the time feel established by the kick and snare. Stephen S. Hudson’s “Compound AABA Form and Style Distinction in Heavy Metal” adds to the growing work on form in popular music, documenting a normative form in a corpus of twenty heavy metal albums and thereby connecting form in heavy metal to broader genres of post-1960s rock and pop.

[4] Thanks to the efforts of our two Review Editors, David Heetderks and Bryan Parkhurst, we are excited to publish two reviews in this issue. The first is a large, collaborative review of an even larger, collaborative publication. Antares Boyle, Rebecca Leydon, Paul Sherrill, and Jeffrey Swinkin review The Oxford Handbook of Critical Concepts in Music Theory (Oxford University Press, 2019), a nearly thirty-chapter volume edited by Alexander Rehding and Steven Rings that presents perhaps the most comprehensive reconsideration of topics in the field since Nicholas Cook and Mark Everist’s Rethinking Music> in 1999. In their review, the authors put forward the many essays of the handbook as “primarily valuable not as disciplinary barometers but as self-standing, intrinsically edifying studies whose careful reading and rereading will pay ample dividends.” In our second review, Orit Hilewicz reviews another edited collection, Sumanth Gopinath and Pwyll ap Siôn’s Rethinking Reich (Oxford University Press, 2019). Both the book and Hilewicz’s review provide valuable contributions on the composer’s ideology, and both these reviews form substantial contributions to scholarship in their own rights.

[5] As this is the first issue of Volume 27, I’d like to welcome and thank those joining our efforts. Brent Auerbach, Inessa Bazayev, and Jenine Brown have begun terms as Associate Editors of MTO, joining Brad Osborn who continues in this role. We also welcome our new Editorial Board members, Richard Ashley, Alexandra Kieffer, Benjamin Levy, Maryam Moshaver, Janna Saslaw, Peter Schubert, and Chris Stover, and thank them, along with our continuing board members, for their efforts in reviewing, proofreading, and oversight. In turn, I thank Pat Hall as the SMT President and Jack Boss as the Publications Committee Chair for their continued guidance, support, and good cheer. Lastly, on a personal note, I am so grateful for the mentorship and support of the Past Editor René Rusch, who departed as Editor with the last issue of Volume 26 after many, many years of service to this journal.

[6] All MTO volumes dating back to our first issue in 1993 can be accessed from our contents page. There you’ll find, as of this issue, 470 articles, 200 reviews, 80 commentaries, 70 essays, and 33 reports, an invaluable archive of nearly three decades of open-access, no-cost music theory scholarship.

[7] Thank you, as always, for your support of Music Theory Online—a journal of the Society for Music Theory.