News

July 29, 2018: We are pleased to announce that our featured speaker at the SMT Interest Group Meeting with be Prof. Suzie Clark (Harvard), as well as the program for our AMS round table on “Women in the History of music Theory.” The SMT IG Meeting is scheduled for Friday early evening at 5:45-7:45, and the AMS special session is scheduled immediately after from 8:00-11pm. Join us for what promises to be a fun HoT marathon!

Women in the History of Music Theory: Two Round-Table Discussions
Sponsored by the AMS History of Theory Study Group
Elina G. Hamilton (Boston Conservatory) and Karen Cook (University of Hartford), Chairs

Round-Table One: “Glyn, Kinkel, Lee, and Newmarch at Work”

Rachel Lumsden (Florida State University), “Who gets to write music theory? Margaret Glyn’s The Rhythmic Conception of Music (1907): A Case Study of Gender, Class, and Authorship”
Daniel Walden (Harvard University), “Johanna Kinkel (1810–58): Microtonalism
and Mother’s Milk”
Kristin Franseen (McGill University), “Between ‘Excessive Counterpoint’ and ‘Emotional Mysticism’: Form and Musical Meaning for Vernon Lee and Rosa Newmarch”

Round-Table Two: “Where Credit Is Due”

Nancy Yunhwa Rao (Rutgers University), “Crawford: A Theorist of American Ultramodern Music”
August Sheehy (Stony Brook University), “Hidden Lines and Binary Forms: Women’s Labor in the History of Music Theory”
Michael Scott Cuthbert (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), “‘For the Use of Sister Laudomina’: Nuns and the Transmission of Vernacular Music Theory in Fifteenth-Century Italy”


May 1, 2018:  For the 2018 joint AMS/SMT meeting, we are organizing an open round-table discussion on “Women in the History of Music Theory”:

Since (at least) Ptolemais of Cyrene, women have been actively involved in creating and transmitting music theory, often to a hitherto unacknowledged extent, although modern scholarship has recently begun to explore these contributions. This open round-table discussion seeks to identify the  historical and social conditions under which these activities took place, while also examining the ways in which music theoretical work by women was received. Over the course of the discussion, we hope to consider how new historical methodologies combined with an expanded definition of music theory can assist in recovering and highlighting these contributions.

We invite anyone who would like to participate in the panel that will lead the discussion to send a brief proposal (no more than 200 words, please) to historyofmusictheory@gmail.com by May 10; we anticipate that panelists will offer short contributions (ca. 10 min), rather than full 20 min papers, in order to maximize time for open discussion.

Nov. 9, 2017:  Special thanks to everyone who came to our AMS Pre-Conference, “Instruments of Music Theory,”  which exceeded our wildest expectations. Our nearly 80 registered attendees, 11 presenters, and three keynote speakers facilitated some really exciting and interdisciplinary conversations. You can read the conference report on the HoT blog here, and below are some images and videos from the event:

And you can listen to David Catalunya playing the Pythagorean bells here:


August 1, 2017: The AMS History of Theory Study Group and SMT History of Theory Interest Group are delighted to announce that registration is now open for our pre-AMS conference. “Instruments of Music Theory” will feature eleven papers, three keynote speakers (David Catalunya, University of Würzburg; Gabriela Currie, University of Minnesota; and Alexander Rehding, Harvard University), and a Wednesday evening concert by David Catalunya on a newly reconstructed clavisimbalum (with music from the Faenza Codex and other recently discovered manuscript fragments). The program, abstracts, and registration are available on the conference website: https://instrumentsofmusictheoryconference.wordpress.com/

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Central New York Humanities Corridor (from an award by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies, the Journal of Music Theory, the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University, the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columia University, the Eastman School of Music, Cornell University, and the Society for Music Theory.


May 1, 2017: Deadline for abstracts for the Pre-AMS Mini-Conference extended to May 8!


April 24, 2017: Andrew Hicks (Cornell University) and Anna Zayaruznaya (Yale University) are delighted to announce that the second annual Historical Notation Bootcamp will be held August 7–11, 2017 at Yale’s newly renovated Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, with the generous support of Yale University and Cornell University. This four-and-a-half-day seminar offers a primer in the theoretical grounding and practical know-how of medieval musical notations, from neumes to early print sources. Get the basic skills you need to work with musical sources, make sense of source-based analyses, and sing from original notation. The event is open to graduate students in all fields of study, as well as undergraduates headed into graduate studies. No previous knowledge of historical notation will be assumed, but experience with modern music notation is required. The seminar is free of charge (including meals and materials). Support for lodging may be available, though participants will need to arrange their own transportation.

We are now accepting online applications at:
Please note that the application requires a brief statement of intent (no more than 250 words) and a current CV. We will accept applications through June 1 and will get back to applicants shortly thereafter (first or second week of June).

February 15, 2017: We are delighted to announce that the AMS History of Theory Study Group and SMT Interest Group will host a pre-AMS mini-conference, November 8-9, 2017, at the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY). The conference, on the broad theme “Instruments of Music Theory,” will feature keynote speakers Alexander Rehding (Harvard University) and Gabriela Currie (University of Minnesota), a concert by David Catalunya (University of Würzburg) on a newly reconstructed clavisimbalum (with music from the Faenza Codex and other recently discovered manuscript fragments), and an organological workshop on the sensorial perception of music-theoretical precepts featuring (inter alia) reconstructed Pythagorean bells. We will circulate a call for papers at the end of February and will accept proposals through the end of April. Save the dates and stay tuned for more.


January 30, 2017: NYC-area historians of music theory are warmly invited to attend a conference on “Global Histories of Music Theory” at the Heyman Center at Columbia University. Abstracts, schedule, and speaker info are available at the conference website.

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October 28, 2016: There are a number of exciting History of Music Theory sessions planned for the upcoming AMS/SMT at Vancouver. Please join us for the SMT History of Music Theory Interest Group Meeting (Grand Ballroom D) on Friday Evening at 5:00-7:00, and make sure to check out the following panels:

Thursday Afternoon Session: 2:00-5:00
Between Music Theory and Music History: Carl Dahlhaus on the History of Music Theory (SMT) (Junior Ballroom C)
Frank Heidlberger (University of North Texas), Chair
Stephen Hinton (Stanford University), Respondent
Jan Philipp Sprick (Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Rostock), “On the Implicit and Explicit Reception of Dahlhaus’s ‘Was heißt Geschichte der Musiktheorie?’”
Frank Heidlberger (University of North Texas), “‘What is the History of Music Theory?’ Dahlhaus’s Essay and its Relevance for the Current Understanding of the Discipline”
Nathan John Martin (University of Michigan), “Dahlhaus’s ‘Was heißt Geschichte der Musiktheorie?’ Between Kuhn and Weber”
Thomas Christensen (University of Chicago), “Dahlhaus and the Origins of the Origin”
Stefano Mengozzi (University of Michigan), “The History of Music Theory after Dahlhaus’s Studies on the Origin of Harmonic Tonality: On the Relationship between Musical Concepts and Musical Phenomena”
Gesine Schröder (Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien/Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy”), “Theorist and Teacher of Theory: Carl Dahlhaus as a Model for the Classroom Teaching of Music Theory at German Conservatories”

Friday Morning Session: 9:00–12:00
New Perspectives in the History of Music Theory (SMT) (Junior Ballroom C)
Susannah Clark (Harvard University), Chair
Maryam A. Moshaver (University of Alberta), “Rameau, the Subjective Body, and the Forms of Theoretical Representation”
August Sheehy (Stony Brook University), “A. B. Marx and the Politics of Sonata Form”
Rodney Garrison (SUNY Fredonia), “Schenker’s Elucidations on Unfolding Compound Voices from Der Tonwille 6 (1923) to Der freie Satz (1935)”
Áine Heneghan (University of Michigan), “Rethinking Repetition: Schoenberg and the ‘endless reshaping of a basic shape’”

Did we miss anything? Drop us a line if you’re presenting on a history of theory topic next week!


May 15, 2016: Anna Zayaruznaya (Yale University) and Andrew Hicks (Cornell University) are delighted to announce that, with the generous support of Yale University and Cornell University, the first Historical Notation Bootcamp will be held this summer at Yale University, August 9–12. This three-and-a-half-day “bootcamp” offers a primer in the theoretical grounding and practical know-how of medieval musical notations, from neumes to early print sources. Get the basic skills you need to work with musical sources, make sense of source-based analyses, and sing from original notation. The event is open to all graduate students in music history, theory, and medieval studies, as well as undergraduates headed into graduate studies. No previous knowledge of historical notation will be assumed, but experience with modern music notation is required.

We are now accepting online applications at:

NB: the application requires a brief statement of intent (no more than 250 words) and a current CV.
We will accept applications through the end of May and will get back to applicants in the first week of June.
Download flyer:
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