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GSIM Conference and the Brook Center

27th Annual Graduate Students in Music Conference (GSIM) held April 12 and 13, 2024. Conference information, including the program and registration information, can be found on the GSIM website at

Some members of the faculty and researchers at the Brook Center are participating in the events, including Antoni Pizà, director of the Foundation for Iberian Music.

See below or click here for the full program.

GSIM 2024 Program – April 8


Professor Kristi Hardman, UNC Charlotte
“Considering Ethics in Music Theory and Analysis:
What, Why, and How.”
Keynote Speaker
Sponsored by
The 27th Annual
April 12, Virtual | April 13, Hybrid
Rooms 5414 & 5409
GSIM 2024 Conference Co-Chairs
Rebecca Moranis and Joseph Vaz
GSIM 2024 Committee
Annie Beliveau
Juliana Catinin
Sophie Delphis
Vlad Praskurnin
Maurice Restrepo
Madison Schindele
Benjamin Schweitzer
Ji Yeoung Sim
Jong Song
Alice (Bai) Xue
The GSIM Committee would like to thank the Doctoral and
Graduate Students’ Council (DGSC) and the Graduate Center Music
Department for their generous financial support of this event. Special
thanks go to Professor Kristi Hardman for accepting our invitation
to be the keynote speaker and to Professors Poundie Burstein,
Agustina Checa, Yayoi Uno Everett, Antoni Pizá, Stephen Spencer,
Mark Spicer, and Joseph Straus for serving as session chairs. Finally,
we would like to extend great thanks to the music department,
including Executive Officer, Norman Carey, Assistant Program
Officer, Tonisha Alexander, and College Assistants, Patrice Eaton
and Michael Degregoria, for their assistance and support.
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
Friday, April 12, 2024
All times are in Eastern Daylight Time.
1:30–3:00 Cultural Landscapes
Chair: Prof. Antoni Pizá
“From Folk to Art Music (and Back Again):
Ideological Shift and Identity (Re)Construction
in Yoruba Art Music”
Sunday Ukaewen (Harvard University)
“Asian and ‘Extraordinary’: Young Concert
Artists (YCA), Concert Artists Guild (CAG), and
the Claim to Classical Music”
Audrey Chen (CUNY Graduate Center)
“Laughter Through Tears: The Uncanny in The
Government Inspector”
Piper Foulon (University of Michigan)
3:00–3:15 Break
3:15–4:45 The Hidden and Overt in Rock and
Chair: Prof. Mark Spicer
“Backward Masking and Eerie Intentionality in
1980s Anti-Rock Discourse”
Philip Bixby (Yale University)
“The Glass Closet: Emotional Hardcore, Social
Stereotypes, and ‘Hidden’ Queerness”
Edward Stewart (University of Ottawa)
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
“Biting Through It: Maximalism as
Heaviness—Car Bomb & Oneohtrix Point
Varun Kishore (University of Virginia)
4:45–5:00 Break
5:00–6:00 Analysis of Vocal Music
Chair: Prof. Joseph Straus
“Wistful Remembrance Amidst Wartime: Poetic
and Musical Syncretism in Huang Zi’s 黄自
‘Homesickness 乡思’ (1932)”
Michelle Lin (Harvard University)
“The Elektra Chord…Resolves? Understanding
Richard Strauss’s Chromaticism through
Half-Step Voice Leading and Schoenberg’s
Vagrant Chords”
Reed Mullican (Indiana University)
6:00–7:00 Dinner Break
7:00–8:00 Music Theory: Past and Future
Chair: Prof. L. Poundie Burstein
“Alfabeto, punto, and diapasón: The Guitar as an
Instrument of Music Theory in 17th century
Juan Saenz (McGill University)
“Practice What You Teach: Implementing a
SOTL-Informed Music Theory Curriculum”
Brendan McEvoy (Michigan State University)
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
Saturday, April 13, 2024
10:00–10:30 Breakfast and Registration (Room 5409,
5th Floor)
10:30–12:00 Social and Environmental Justice
Chair: Prof. Augustina Checa
“Sounding Silence: Acoustic Ecology and the
Ontological Turn”
Mark Mahoney (Cornell University)
“Reframing the Avant-Garde(n): An Examination
into Arts for Art’s InGardens Festival”
Elizabeth Frickey (New York University)
“Defying Patriarchal Lutherie: The Impact of
Women/Enby Collectives and Higher Public
Education in South America”
Rubens de la Corte (CUNY Graduate Center)
12:00–12:30 Lunch (Room 5409, 5th Floor)
12:30–2:00 Views on Analysis
Chair: Prof. Yayoi Uno Everett
“Doming Lam’s Innovation in 20th century
Chinese Orchestral Music – A case study of
‘Autumn Execution 秋決(1978)’”
Hippocrates Cheng (Indiana University)
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
“Form and Structure in Bushmen Music”
Alice (Bai) Xue (CUNY Graduate Center)
“Dialogues of Sound from Three Different
Worlds: Timbral Analysis of Zhou Long, The
Yani Tan (CUNY Graduate Center)
2:00–2:15 Break
2:15–3:45 Memory, Topic, and Trope
Chair: Prof. Stephen Spencer
“‘Treasured Memories’: The Re-Imagined Past
in Video Game Music”
Pamela Mason-Nguyen (University of California,
Santa Barbara)
“Inversional axes and embodiment of historical
memory in ‘Figlia’ from Suzanne Farrin’s Dolce la
Jacob Wilkinson (Indiana University)
“The Beyhive, Orientalism, and ‘Arabic Scales’”
Lee Thomas Richardson (University of Massachusetts
3:45–4:00 Break
4:00–5:00 Keynote Presentation
“Considering Ethics in Music Theory and
Analysis: What, Why, and How”
Prof. Kristi Hardman (The University of North
Carolina at Charlotte)
5:00–5:45 Reception (Room 5409, 5th Floor)
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
Cultural Landscapes
Chair: Dr. Antoni Pizá
Friday, April 12, 1:30–3:00 PM
“From Folk to Art Music (and Back Again): Ideological Shift
and Identity (Re)Construction in Yoruba Art Music”
Sunday Ukaewen (Harvard University)
In this paper, I examine the identity construction process of Yoruba art
music composers. While scholarship has extensively explored identity within
the music itself, the strategies employed by individual composers to navigate
the tension between artistic vision and cultural affiliation remain
understudied. Through Akin Euba’s (2001) concept of “signification,” I
analyze the works of composers like Ayo Bankole, Bode Omojola, and
Euba himself, who utilize text or textual elements as a tool for
meaning-making. Informed by existing literature (Frith, 1996; Omojola,
2012; Agawu, 2023), I define identity construction in music as the act of
composers inscribing their lived experiences within their compositions. My
central argument is that the disparity between Western notions of individual
artistic vision and the more communal nature of Yoruba cultural identity
presents a challenge for composers seeking self-expression while
simultaneously creating music with an aura familiar to their local audience.
To substantiate this argument, I trace the historical shift from Yoruba folk
music to art forms, focusing on the period before, during, and after
European missionary and colonial encounters in Yorubaland. This analysis
highlights the lasting influence of European hymns on Yoruba musical
thought. Following this, I delve into the negotiation process employed by
composers to (re)construct their identities within the context of Yoruba art
music. In conclusion, I propose that these composers’ negotiations do not
represent a simple return to a pre-colonial past. Instead, they carve a novel
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
space that acknowledges both Western and Yoruba artistic ideologies,
remaining open to ongoing engagement with external influences.
“‘Asian and ‘Extraordinary’: Young Concert Artists (YCA),
Concert Artists Guild (CAG), and the Claim to Classical Music”
Audrey Chen (CUNY Graduate Center)
Despite increasing Asian representation in the classical music field, Asians
musicians continue to face a myriad of negative stereotypes about their
playing and personality. In this paper, I pose the following question: how do
young musicians of Asian descent construct their musical identities and
careers within these influences? I focus my inquiry on two pillars of young
artist management in classical music, Young Concert Artists (YCA) and
Concert Artists Guild (CAG), two organizations that handpick
“extraordinary young musicians” for their roster and provide them with
concerts and career guidance. Through close readings of their website
materials and interviews with young musicians on their rosters, I argue that
YCA and CAG steer musicians of Asian descent to construct their musical
identities in differing ways, both with problematic consequences. YCA
upholds a meritocracy and presents Asian musicians as unique and
compelling performers despite their racialized backgrounds, but they often
fail to acknowledge how race influences musical self-presentation, which
makes tackling issues of representation and racism within the field difficult.
On the other hand, CAG views artists holistically, but their over-emphasis
on identity and marketing contribute to “race-making” and
“creativity-signaling,” pushing artists of color to play into their ethnic
backgrounds or engage in cross-genre collaborations to achieve similar
levels of distinction to other CAG artists and within the field at large.
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
“Laughter Through Tears: The Uncanny in The Government
Piper Foulon (University of Michigan)
In 1926, Vsevelod Meyerhold staged Nikolai Gogol’s The Government
Inspector at his eponymous theatre in Moscow. Gogol’s farce of provincial
intrigue was thoroughly reimagined by Meyerhold and his company: the
staging employed major redactions and rearrangements and Gogol’s five-act
structure was dispensed of in favor of fifteen episodes. The final scene
featured mannequins which seamlessly replaced the living actors, suggesting
unnerving questions about identity and sentience. The composer for the
production, Mikhail Gnesin, hoped to elicit “laughter through tears” with
his score, a comment that suggests that the creative team sought a decidedly
ambivalent reception to their deliverance of a beloved classic.
My paper analyzes this production through the lens of the uncanny and
defamiliarization. The uncanny is defined in this context as the
uncomfortable and sometimes humorous collision of the familiar and
unfamiliar, as theorized by Sigmund Freud, Martin Heidegger, and
Katherine Withy. I further situate the sonic uncanny in this historical
moment and place through the work of Viktor Shklovsky, a
contemporaneous Russian critic and theorist, who wrote on the process of
defamiliarization in literature and art and attended a performance of the
play himself. In particular, I analyze the suite that Mikhail Gnesin wrote for
the final episode of the play, which features parodic imitations of
cosmopolitan dance music and introduces Klezmer elements as a so-called
“alienating” element.
This production of The Government Inspector, and its accompanying score, is a
symptom of a larger aesthetic trend in Russia in the 1920s, catalyzed by the
upheaval and cultural anxieties of bloody revolution and rapid
industrialization. Exploring this work, consequently, induces broader
revelations about the cultural landscape of revolutionary Russia, as well as
uncanniness in music in general.
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
The Hidden and Overt in Rock and Hardcore
Chair: Prof. Mark Spicer
Friday, April 12, 3:15–4:45 PM
“Backward Masking and Eerie Intentionality in 1980s
Anti-Rock Discourse”
Philip Bixby (Yale University)
Several years before the Parents’ Music Resource Center shined a national
spotlight on the apparent dangers of rock lyrics, California politician Phillip
Wyman proposed a bill targeting one of the newer bugbears of the anti-rock
movement: backward masking. A backmask is an ostensible linguistic
message on a recording that can only be consciously perceived when that
recording is played in reverse. Wyman and his supporters argued that the
musician was responsible for backmasked messages, secretly placing them
on albums in order to subliminally influence listeners. But in conservative
evangelical anti-rock discourses, an alternative theory was emerging.
Evangelical writers such as Jacob Aranza, Jeff Godwin, and the Peters
brothers contended that musicians’ intentions had little to do with
backmasked messages, because backmasks were actually the sonic traces of
demonic forces working outside of the musicians’ awareness.
Through a discourse analysis of several evangelical anti-rock texts from the
1980s, I argue that this spiritualization of the backmask partially develops in
response to the historical issue of Christian rock’s emergence as a
mainstream phenomenon in the 1970s. I then explore how theories of
backmasking lay bare a broader philosophical issue: the contentious role of
the artist’s intention in the beholder’s formulation of aesthetic judgments.
Backmasks certainly resemble language, but they seem to require the
ascription of intention in order to be rendered meaningful. In my readings
of philosophers such as Monroe Beardsley and Stanley Cavell, I show how
the evangelical account of backmasking provides one of the best contexts
for working through the problematic concept of intentionless meaning.
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
“The Glass Closet: Emotional Hardcore, Social Stereotypes,
and ‘Hidden’ Queerness”
Edward Stewart (University of Ottawa)
Although lyrics of emotional expression and acceptance are thematic to this
genre, Emotional Hardcore (colloquially known as Emo) notably has queer
artists hiding their true self due to societal customs. Artists of Third Wave
Emo (1999-2008), such as Pete Wentz and Gerard Way, hid their queerness
in plain sight through heteronormative presentation; creating a “glass
closet” to provide deniable plausibility to their lyrical content. They adopted
this “hidden” strategy because of societal pushback against queerness by
outsiders, such as the hyper-masculine Hardcore genre and
conservative-leaning members in the media (Payne, 2022). Due to such
pressures, the societal idea of Emo is surface-level, which undermines the
complexity of Emo and its ideologies. These expectations have continued
throughout media, as well as scholarship (Ryalls 2013; Peters 2010), leading
to a narrowed mindset of what Emo is and whom it represents. In this
work, I aim to disprove the stereotype of Emo; that being it is only for and
about “straight, white, middle-class, cis-men.”
To do so, I explore the “hidden” queerness within the lyrical content of two
of the largest Emo bands of the 2000s: My Chemical Romance and Fall Out
Boy. I analyze the lyrics to demonstrate how the artists draw upon and
develop common Emo themes, such as body issues, relationship heartaches,
and a desire for social acceptance in order to present a queer narrative
without explicitly declaring their own identity as such. Through my analysis
and contextualization of the songs “G.I.N.A.S.F.S.,” “Mama,” and “The
End,” I illuminate how the lyrics display queer expression and resist against
societal expectations presented by the media. This study thus adopts a queer
perspective in relation to previous scholarship in Emo music and gender
expression (de Boise 2014; Carillo-Vincent 2013) for this significant popular
music genre.
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
“Biting Through It: Maximalism as Heaviness—Car Bomb &
Oneohtrix Point Never”
Varun Kishore (University of Virginia)
Through an analysis of Car Bomb’s “Dissect Yourself ” and Daniel Lopatin
aka Oneohtrix Point Never’s “I Bite Through It”, I approach two vastly
different (on the surface) genres of music through the lenses of maximalism
and heaviness, with the goal of highlighting maximalist tendencies in the
composition, performance, and production of these musics as a
contributing factor to their perceived “heaviness”. Can non-metal music be
considered “heavy”? What exactly are “maximalist tendencies”? I propose
that in this particular interaction between metal and experimental electronic
music, it is possible to read maximalism as heaviness.
Pioaru notes that while the term “maximalism” has been used freely “ to
describe certain cultural productions characterized by an aesthetic of
excess”, there has been little rigorous study of maximalism as an aesthetic
category, leaving one to simply infer meaning from context. This refrain
exists in writing about maximalism in literature, architecture, and music,
resulting in a diffuse web of attributes that are ascribed to maximalist works
in these fields. Heaviness (like maximalism) is a term that is often
generalized, and employed diffusely. While it is assumed that fans and
scholars of metal music know what it signifies, Herbst and Mynett point out
that “no comprehensive definition or systematic understanding of musical
heaviness exists”, proposing that heaviness derives from the relationships
between its constituent compositional, performance, and production
In this paper, I explore these ephemeral attributes as an overlapping set of
extremes—of amplitude, spectral information, density of musical
information in time, time itself, production techniques, compositional
devices, detail—that collectively contribute to the overall
“maximalism”—and therefore “heaviness”—of the work.
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
Analysis of Vocal Music
Chair: Prof. Joseph Straus
Friday, April 12, 5:00–6:00 PM
“Wistful Remembrance Amidst Wartime: Poetic and Musical
Syncretism in Huang Zi’s 黄自‘Homesickness 乡思’ (1932)”
Michelle Lin (Harvard University)
Written in 1932 and set to poetry by compatriot Wei Hanzhang 韦瀚章,
Huang Zi’s “Homesickness 思乡” (sī xiàng) is a lyrical and longing ballade
for voice and piano, in which the poet and speaker yearns to return to his
hometown during Japan’s invasion of China. Though composed in the style
of a nineteenth-century Viennese art song, “Homesickness” is not only rife
with allusions to traditional Chinese imagery and culture, but also expresses
his longing for peace and nostalgia for his hometown.
This paper will provide a culturally informed analysis to “Homesickness” by
1) not only analyzing the literary and poetic devices utilized in Wei
Hanzhang’s poem; and 2) drawing attention to the allusions and imagery
incorporated into this art song, which utilizes predominantly Western
tonality. Firstly, I will demonstrate how the four Mandarin tones influence
the poem’s metrical structure and, in turn, shape the melodic and harmonic
rhythm of the art song. Secondly, I analyze the rhyme scheme of
“Homesickness” to show how poetic devices such as adnomination,
onomatopoeia, and internal rhyme in Mandarin Chinese offer both poetic
cohesion, enriched imagery, and deeper artistic meaning to the art song.
Finally, I will address the musical parameters of Huang’s art song by
offering insights into the cultural significance of music devices such as
motifs, word painting, and cadential endings used in “Homesickness.”
Even though Huang’s early art songs, including “Homesickness,” model
those of Schubert’s nineteenth-century Viennese art songs in terms of
structure and in its expressive melodic contour and harmonies, Huang Zi’s
musical setting of Wei Hanzhang’s poetic text incorporates a wealth of
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
traditional Chinese imagery, allusions, and both historical and cultural
contexts, resulting in a masterful art song.
“The Elektra Chord…Resolves? Understanding Richard
Strauss’s Chromaticism through Half-Step Voice Leading and
Schoenberg’s Vagrant Chords”
Reed Mullican (Indiana University)
At the turn of the century, several chords appear in the repertoire that are
given an auspicious name – the “Augurs Chord,” the “Mystic Chord,” and
many others – indicating that it has an unusual structure that defies typical
tonal description. Strauss’s “Elektra Chord” is one such chord. It can be
described as an eleventh chord, a bitonal combination of E major and Db
major, a chord with a nonharmonic bass, and Forte number 5-32; yet what
is missing from these attempts at labelling the chord is an explanation of its
Fortunately, there already exists a framework for understanding chords like
this: Schoenberg’s “vagrant chords” as described in his Harmonielehre.
According to Schoenberg, vagrant chords (including fully diminished
seventh chords, half-diminished seventh chords, augmented triads, chords
from the whole-tone scale, and quartal chords, among others) can lead to a
variety of different keys. Specifically, Schoenberg indicates that these chords
move mostly by half-steps and common tones to either resolve to a key or
move to another vagrant chord.
I propose that we can apply the same logic of vagrant chords to the Elektra
chord: specifically, I argue that the Elektra chord “resolves” by half steps to
tonally classified chords, whether they be tonal triads or one of the more
familiar vagrant chords. Drawing from my own research into half-step voice
leading, some of these progressions can be analyzed as “displaced” half
steps, or half steps simply moved to a different register.
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
With this framework, I will analyze each instance of the Elektra chord in the
first scene (“Wo bleibt Elektra?”) of Strauss’s opera, as well the first Elektra
chord in Elektra’s monologue (“Allein! Weh, ganz allein”). I will also
compare my approach to observations by Richard Andrew Kaplan. Seth
Monahan, and Kenneth Smith on Elektra and chromatic voice leading.
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
Music Theory: Past and Future
Chair: Prof. L. Poundie Burstein
Friday, April 12, 7:00–8:00 PM
“Alfabeto, punto, and diapasón: The Guitar as an Instrument of
Music Theory in 17th century Iberia”
Juan Saenz (McGill University)
In this paper I explain how the five-course guitar functioned as an
“instrument of music theory” (Rehding 2016) in 16th and 17th century
Iberia. During this period, Iberian music theory was characterized by a great
“theoretical rift” separating the writings produced by church musicians
from those produced by secular musicians who were predominantly guitar
players (Gallardo 2012). While the former group’s treatises emphasize
“conservative” topics such as plainchant and modal theory, the latter group
produced “progressive” works including some of the earliest theoretical
conceptions of the triad as an independent entity, and some rules for the
accompaniment of melodies anticipating some of the principles of bajo
continuo. Through the study of pedagogical texts by Amat (1596), Velasco
(1640), Sanz (1674), and De Huete (1702) I explore their original theoretical
ideas including the tenets of alfabeto (alphabet) notation, the theoretical
emancipation of the triad in the punto concept, a rule-of-thumb system for
the harmonic realization of a bassline, and highly refined understandings of
tonal space and chordal inversion condensed in Velasco’s musical circles and
Sanz’s laberinto. Furthermore, their sophisticated topographical
representations of tonal space using figures of circles—possibly influenced
by Cartesian rationalism—contain explicit references to theoretical
constructs such as the notion of transposition and intervallic cycles,
anticipating Johann David Heinichen’s and Johann Mattheson’s more
celebrated circular representations by several decades and arguably
interacting with canonical ideas of harmonic syntax in a rarely discussed
form of transnational intellectual dialogue between the Iberian peninsula
and other European powers.
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
“Practice What You Teach: Implementing a SOTL-Informed
Music Theory Curriculum”
Brendan McEvoy (Michigan State University)
As music theory is reckoning with exclusionary pedagogical canons and
entrenched teaching practices, perspectives from curricular theory and
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) can help us increase student
engagement and curriculum relevance. In my paper, I use examples from a
music theory class for non-music majors I am teaching this semester, as well
as possible implementations of interdisciplinary STEM concepts and
curricula. SOTL concepts are critical in these contexts, as music students
may not have backgrounds in interdisciplinary studies and SOTL
implementations ensure that all students learn at desirable levels of
Metacognition—being aware of one’s own thought processes—spacing,
—adding delays before recalling learned information—and retrieval
practice—frequent formative testing intended to teach rather than
evaluate—are techniques from SOTL research (McGuire, McGuire 2023;
Brown et al. 2014; Lang 2021, among others) that promote effective
learning. Before- and after- questionnaires activate prior knowledge students
have about concepts from reading assignments and prime them for
engagement. Cumulative quizzes function as spaced, effortful retrieval.
Larger scale conceptual synthesis is generated through a final project,
scaffolded throughout the semester, allowing students to pursue more
in-depth exploration and giving them practice with relevant stylistic and
mechanical considerations.
This presentation will include student surveys of their self-perceptions of
their experiences in the class, my observations of student progress, and
samples of student assignments and projects from my class in progress this
spring. Attendees will leave with resources for integrating SOTL and
interdisciplinary perspectives into their classrooms, and concrete examples
of such integrations. I aim to spark conversation around further possibilities
for undergraduate curricula and the opportunities afforded by them to
ensure better outcomes for our students.
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
Social and Environmental Justice
Chair: Prof. Augustina Checa
Saturday, April 13, 10:30 AM–12:00 PM
“Sounding Silence: Acoustic Ecology and the Ontological
Mark Mahoney (Cornell University)
With the acceleration of academic and artistic interest in the environmental
impacts of music and sound in recent years, acoustic ecology has emerged
as an important and, in some cases, prescient historical antecedent. Acoustic
ecology explores sonic environments and the relationship of humans to
their surroundings, anchored in the concept of the ‘soundscape.’ The
establishment of the World Soundscape Project (WSP) in 1971 and the
World Forum for Acoustic Ecology in 1993 have helped to institutionalize
the field and facilitate the establishment of a far-reaching artistic and
scholarly lineage. Positioned at the interstices of artistic, ethnographic, and
scientific practice, many of its practitioners have addressed pressing
contemporary issues such as anthropogenic climate change, indigenous
dispossession, and environmental racism.
More recently, acoustic ecology has also come under sustained critique: for
its historic and ongoing failures to reckon with settler-colonialism, its
romantic view of nature, and its investments in universalist and organicist
New Age ideologies. I contend that it is precisely because acoustic ecology
so emphasizes discourses of land, voicedness and place that it has become a
central site for thinking through these issues. The foregrounding of these
questions within acoustic ecology also offers the possibility of enacting an
against-the-grain ‘decolonial’ approach to its practices, as artists such as
Raven Chacon have done. In this regard, Chacon joins a number of artists
and scholars who have worked within and against acoustic ecology to
reconstitute some of its basic assumptions about community, nature and
being. Though acoustic ecology’s appeals to nature as an indisputable ‘good’
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
have historically allowed it to mask and thoroughly naturalize its
settler-colonial ideologies, the manifestly ontological character of its claims
have also made it ripe for rethinking. My paper explores these
contradictions, critically probing the limits of environmental activism within
the field and the academy more generally.
“Reframing the Avant-Garde(n): An Examination into Arts for
Art’s InGardens Festival”
Elizabeth Frickey (New York University)
Within existing historiography of New York City’s rich “experimental”
music scenes, it is increasingly apparent that musicians both directly shape
and are shaped by broader processes of urbanization (Rifkin 2023, Bradley
2023). While these less commercial scenes have historically relied upon
inexpensive real-estate for performances, the flourishing of unique arts
scenes also generates mainstream interest in previously “undesirable”
neighborhoods, generating a cycle of constant migration as artists both
participate in and are negatively impacted by gentrification. There are,
however, organizations which have sought to provide solutions to this
existential problem. Founded in 1996, Arts for Art (AFA) is a nonprofit
organization dedicated explicitly to “the promotion and advancement of
FreeJazz — an African American indigenous art form in which
improvisation is principle.” As a part of this ongoing mission, AFA hosts
the annual InGardens Festival: a series of free concerts held from
September to October in a variety of Lower East Side community gardens.
Community gardens, and especially those contained within the Lower East
Side, have long been the sites of their own existential activist struggles
(Schmelzkopf 1995, von Hassell 2002, Martinez 2010, Strombeck 2020,
Schrader 2020). This paper narrows in on this often overlooked intersection
between New York City’s avant-garde music scenes and its community
gardens. I identify in both spaces a mutual activist struggle not only for
recognition and real-estate, but community justice in a more expansive
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
sense. Here, I take AFA’s InGardens Festival as a case study through which
to consider the interdependence of sonic forms of activism and gardens
themselves – the ways in which gardens have historically relied on
sound-based activist movements but also the extent to which these forms
of often explicitly activist music-making have been reliant on gardens as
accessible venues.
“Defying Patriarchal Lutherie: The Impact of Women/Enby
Collectives and Higher Public Education in South America”
Rubens de la Corte (CUNY Graduate Center)
Classical guitar making has been a predominantly cis-masculine and white
occupation under patriarchal control for centuries. Most existing women
guitar makers are either wives or daughters of other makers. Based on
archival findings, the first women guitar builders to break this paradigm
emerged in Germany, France, Canada, and the United States in the early
1980s. Nowadays, they are present on all continents, especially in Europe
and Latin America, as a novel and innovative workforce, but still
significantly outnumbered by cis-male luthiers. South America and Europe
have also been shown as two distinct global areas where the field of lutherie
is also taught and learned in public institutions with a significant presence
of women. This paper focuses on South America’s women, enby, and
queer-identified luthiers, emphasizing their scenes and milieu in Argentina
and Brazil. More specifically, it investigates Red lutherística, a luthier network
and community comprising women, non-binary, queer professionals, and
those in training. Red lutherística strengthens the exchange and solidarity
between luthiers from Latin American countries and beyond. Furthermore,
this paper examines a few public universities and institutions offering
degrees in lutherie in South America, emphasizing gender equality, diversity,
innovation, and their influence and contribution to guitar-making
environments. Public universities and vocational courses are some outlets
and channels where gender equality opportunities in lutherie can be
achieved more successfully, in opposition to conservative and patriarchal
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
guilds and family line traditions. Moreover, this paper advocates for
diversity in lutherie by encouraging more women, enby, and ethnic
minorities to participate and attain opportunities to establish themselves as
professionals in the industry. It explores their inspirations, challenges, and
contributions to the field, stressing the importance of recognizing their
expertise, innovative ideas, identity, sense of community, and gender issues
related to lutherie.
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
Views on Analysis
Chair: Prof. Yayoi Uno Everett
Saturday, April 13, 12:30–2:00 PM
“Doming Lam’s Innovation in 20th century Chinese Orchestral
Music – A case study of ‘Autumn Execution 秋決(1978)’”
Hippocrates Cheng (Indiana University)
Chinese orchestral music developed quickly in the 1950s because of the
establishment of modern Chinese orchestras initiated by the People’s
Republic of China (PRC). Modern Chinese orchestras followed the form
and principles of Western symphony orchestras. The goal of forming
Chinese orchestras is to promote and broadcast traditional Chinese music.
Doming Lam (1926 – 2023), the “Father of New Music in Hong Kong,”
passed away at 96 in January 2023. Lam dedicated himself to modernizing
Chinese music from the early 1950s. He was well-known for his motto,
“Search for roots in tradition, find ways in the avant-garde.” He was one of
the few Chinese musicians who was recognized in the “New Grove
Dictionary of Music and Musicians.”
Before he returned to Hong Kong in the early 60s, he studied composition
at The Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Southern
California. His primary teacher was Oscar-winning film composer Miklós
Rózsa and he also interned in Hollywood for a few years. After his return to
Hong Kong, he directed and wrote new music for the Hong Kong Chinese
Orchestra which was founded in 1977.
This paper explores the innovative contributions of composer Doming Lam
to 20th century Chinese orchestral music, focusing on his work “Autumn
Execution” from 1978. Lam’s unique approach blended Western classical
and traditional Chinese music, marking a significant development in
modern Chinese orchestral composition. The paper provides an in-depth
analysis of Lam’s techniques, such as his adaptation of Chinese orchestral
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
music from Western classical traditions, “symphonization,” orchestration,
and his exploration of melody, timbre, and idioms in Chinese music and
ensemble performance.
It also discusses Lam’s use of Western notation, composition inspirations
from Richard Strauss, Igor Stravinsky, Krzysztof Penderecki, Witold
Lutosławski and film music writing techniques, and elements of Chinese
Opera in his compositions. By examining these aspects, the paper highlights
Lam’s role in modernizing Chinese music and his impact on the innovation
of Chinese orchestral music.
“Form and Structure in Bushmen Music”
Alice (Bai) Xue (CUNY Graduate Center)
In the studies of African music, form remains an understudied, neglected
subject. In fact, the common assumption is that due to the nature of oral
tradition which characterizes much of African music, the compositions are
predominantly products of spontaneous improvisation; this belief
overshadows the possibility of structured and deliberate compositional
techniques in African music.
In my presentation, I will discuss the music of the Bushmen of the Kalahari
in southern Africa, a musical culture that remains relatively underexplored
within African music studies. My research is based on my own
transcriptions and analysis of various recordings of Bushmen music. I will
present a series of identifiable, recurring forms found within these
compositions, arguing that form and system are the essence of Bushmen
music. I propose the possibility that these recurring forms play a crucial role
in the memorization and oral transmission of Bushmen music.
Furthermore, I suggest a similar presence of structured forms in other
musical traditions across the African continent.
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
Through the course of my research, I aim to bridge a gap in the scholar
study of both the Bushmen music, as well as form within African music
overall, enhancing our appreciation of its underlying rationale and
systematic approach.
“Dialogues of Sound from Three Different Worlds: Timbral
Analysis of Zhou Long, The Ineffable”
Yani Tan (CUNY Graduate Center)
Zhou Long’s sextet The Ineffable, which was first performed in 1994,
combines Western instruments with traditional Chinese instruments.
Previous discussion of this piece, and similar pieces by Zhou Long and
others, have emphasized the East-West timbral contrast, and have been
mainly concerned to find evidence of conflict, co-existence, and possible
harmonious reconciliation, all under the banner of “interculturality.” In this
presentation, I take a different approach. I will show how the Chinese and
Western instruments jointly navigate a timbral space characterized by three
different sound worlds, which I designate the Natural, the Mechanical, and
the Human.
My presentation is divided into two parts. In the first part, I introduce the
characteristics of the three sound worlds through the use of verbal
description and spectrographic analysis. In the second part, I show how
these sounds interact with each other to promote a sense of development as
the instruments co-operatively move from a relatively simple, pure state,
through a violent and antagonistic state, to a final reconciliation.
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
Memory, Topic, and Trope
Chair: Prof. Stephen Spencer
Saturday, April 13, 2:15–3:45 PM
“‘Treasured Memories’: The Re-Imagined Past in Video Game
Pamela Mason-Nguyen (University of California, Santa Barbara)
To what extent can music in multimedia convey a musical history? When
setting a video game in the past (either a literal or imagined one), music can
add a texture of what Stephanie Lind (2023) calls “pastness” to the visual
experience. Composers musically exploit the player’s approximation of what
the “past” sounds like through timbre and allusions to compositional
techniques to communicate aspects of the setting.
By addressing allusions to historical musical traditions in Yoko Shimomura’s
music for Kingdom Hearts (2002) and Peter McConnell’s soundtrack for Sly
Cooper: Thieves in Time (2012), I argue that these soundtracks present a
predominantly Westernized approach to “pastness.” Their employment of
voice-leading allusions (schemata) and stylistic references (topics) rely on
associations with genres, styles, or music-making and are thought to be
implicitly understood by certain people in a certain cultural—and
historical—context. My analysis will demonstrate the power of these
conventions and tropes to focalize a perceived history through the lens of
the composer and intended player. In Kingdom Hearts, Shimomura engages
with the Western classical tradition and Disney film soundtracks to appeal
to a shared nostalgia amongst players. McConnell’s soundtrack for Thieves in
Time symbolizes the protagonist’s ancestry by fusing styles from the past
and present. Both make use of musical-cultural tropes and stereotypes to
convey this relationship between space, time, and story. These musical
mediations encourage us to think about not only whose “pastness” these
composers write but also through whose “pastness” the players listen.
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
“Inversional axes and embodiment of historical memory in
‘Figlia’ from Suzanne Farrin’s Dolce la Morte”
Jacob Wilkinson (Indiana University)
In her essay “Composing in (a) Place,” Suzanne Farrin discusses the
phenomenon of historical memory as an aesthetic category in new music.
Farrin describes two works by American composers, Aur by Robert Phillips
and her own opera based on poetry of Michelangelo Dolce la Morte, that
engage in some way with material that is historically, culturally, or
linguistically distant. Her purpose in doing so is to investigate ways in which
American composers can respond meaningfully to the unique problems
posed by their own history and forge an artistic identity “with the
confidence and sincerity to believe in oneself.” Central to Farrin’s discussion
is the concept of historical memory presented by Walter Benjamin in his
essay “On the Concept of History.” The purpose of the present essay will
be to show, through an in-depth analysis of the pitch, formal, and textual
relationships of the movement “Figlia” from Dolce la Morte, how Farrin
expresses Benjamin’s understanding of historical memory. It will be revealed
that this expression is achieved by means of a “constellation” of inversional
axes that, like the thinking of the historical materialist in Benjamin’s essay,
crystallizes into a literal and figurative “monad” at the point of greatest
tension before breaking the bounds it originally set for itself. This
procedure is similar to the one described by Joseph Straus in his analysis of
the “Unico Spirto” movement of the same work and one that will be shown
to be expressive of Farrin’s ideas about the importance and persistence of
historical memory in contemporary art.
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
“The Beyhive, Orientalism, and ‘Arabic Scales’”
Lee Thomas Richardson (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
Despite musicology’s overwhelming focus on professional musical actors
such as composers, performers, and theorists, the rise of commercial music
industries over the last century has led to an increasingly important role in
the musical consumer and audience that demands scholarly attention and
consideration. In this paper, I center a particularly unique phenomenon
arising from the commercial musical audience: music fandom. Specifically, I
focus on the fandom of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter—the infamous
Beyhive—in the space of Stan Twitter. I look to musical moments that have
often been described as containing “Arabic scales,” a description that has
been almost entirely conceived of and disseminated by fans on social media.
I first situate this “Arabic scales” discourse within a history of Beyoncé’s
career, particularly within an idealized and mythologized narrative
constructed by fans. I argue that the uses of such music-theoretical labels
construct bits of social capital within the space of digital music fandom for
all parties involved: the individual fan, the gestalt of the Beyhive, and
Beyoncé herself. I then analyze two musical examples that are perhaps most
subject to “Arabic scales” descriptions: select performances of the songs
“Dangerously in Love” and “Drunk in Love.” Through these analyses, I
largely situate the label of “Arabic scales” as a product of musical exoticism,
suggesting fandom communities as spaces that can perpetuate and reinforce
reductive (and often, harmful) stereotypes with little critical engagement.
However, these case studies also highlight the rather sophisticated music
analysis and discourse occurring within the milieu of digital music
fandom—a public space formed almost entirely apart from the academy—as
well as the unique dynamics of music audiencing and popular musical
culture in the 21st century.
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
Saturday, April 13, 4:00–5:00 PM
“Considering Ethics in Music Theory and Analysis:
What, Why, and How”
Prof. Kristi Hardman
The field of music theory has demonstrated a widespread goal of expanding
the analytical canon, but there is a need to also diversify analytical
approaches (Agawu 2003, Attas 2019, and Ewell 2020). Music theory tends
to practice Robinson’s concept of “hungry listening” (2020), which “takes
part in content-locating practices that orient the ear toward identifying
standardized features and types” (50). In analyzing a piece of music, settler
music theorists, such as myself, orient listening habits toward recognition of
formal structures and the categorization of musical features, however this is
not an ethical practice for all types of music. In this keynote paper, I
consider the ethics of music analysis, proposing an analytical approach that
addresses ethical concerns in analysis by engaging with Indigenous research
methodologies (Kovach 2021, Rigney 1999, Smith 1999, and Wilson 2008)
and inspired by the work of Indigenous music scholars Avery (2012),
Browner (2000), and Robinson (2020). To demonstrate this analytical
approach, I provide fictional stories as a means to communicate my
interpretation of Tanya Tagaq’s “Sivulivinivut” (2016). This analytical
approach allows for multiple interpretations of the same song, reliance on
sound rather than notated musical examples, and is grounded in context. By
allowing storytelling to serve as analysis, we decenter Western
music-theoretical traditions, forgoing the hunger to know and understand
with certainty as the receiver or the creator of an analysis.
GSIM 2024 – Program and Abstracts
Kristi Hardman is an Assistant Professor of Music Theory at the
University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She received her Ph.D. in Music
Theory from the Graduate Center, CUNY in 2022. Kristi also holds
degrees in music and education from the University of Manitoba and a
master’s in music theory from UBC. Her work centers on using
computer-assisted methods of analysis to develop a greater understanding
of the intersections between changing sound qualities and our experiences
of rhythm, meter, and form. Other research interests include text/music
relations, issues of transcription, the ethics of analysis, and music theory
pedagogy as these topics pertain to Indigenous and popular music made in
North America. Kristi has presented research in these areas at regional,
national, and international conferences, including the Society for
Ethnomusicology, Society for Music Theory, Analytical Approaches to
World Music, MUSCAN, and the International Association for the Study of
Popular Music. Her most recent publication, “The Continua of Sound
Qualities for Tanya Tagaq’s Katajjaq Sounds,” was published in the edited
volume Trends in World Music Analysis (2022). Kristi is also engaged with
the broad discipline of music scholarship, serving as a co-chair of the SMT
Analysis of World Musics Interest Group and as a member of Engaged
Music Theory.

Mariano Parra: An Obituary

Estela Zatania has published the following obituary in Spanish of dancer Mario Parra.  Ninotchka Bennahum & K. Meira Goldberg contributed to the article.

Mariano Parra, maestro norteamericano de flamenco y danza española, fallece a los 91 años

Una autoridad respetada en todos los géneros de la danza española, Mariano Parra asesoró y coreografió para varias compañías importantes con sede en Nueva York, como la American Bolero Dance Company de Gabriela Granados y Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana. Se echará de menos su gran sabiduría.

Nacido en 1933 de padre andaluz y madre rusa, Mariano Parra fue criado en los Estados Unidos cerca de Pittsburgh entre trabajadores inmigrantes de fábricas y acerías. Después de ver un anuncio en el periódico local, su padre, un trabajador del acero, metió a la familia en el coche y condujo a Pittsburgh para ver a José Greco. Esa noche, Parra decidió convertirse en bailarín español.


Después de la escuela secundaria, su profesor de baile clásico, Karl Heinrich, lo recomendó para una beca de verano en Jacob’s Pillow. Allí, mientras estudiaba con Ted Shawn y Joseph Pilates, conoció a Russell Meriweather Hughes La Meri, la famosa defensora de la “danza étnica”, quien se convertiría en su mentora. Ella era una modernista como Antonia Mercé La Argentina, quien encarnaba sus representaciones en la línea de la columna vertebral y de la cabeza, llevando así técnicas de danza moderna a formas no occidentales.

Mariano absorbió todo lo que pudo en Jacob’s Pillow, pero la forma que más profundamente lo llamaba era la danza española. De vuelta a casa, mientras trabajaba en el ferrocarril de Pennsylvania, practicaba castañuelas y pasos de baile en los vagones vacíos durante su descanso para almorzar. Ahorró para el viaje y finalmente se mudó a Nueva York, comenzando un curso de estudio de cuatro años con La Meri en el estudio que había tomado de Isadora Duncan y luego Ruth St. Denis en la calle 59. También estudió baile clásico con Tudor, danza moderna con Martha Graham y danza española con Juan Martínez. Al igual que Carmen Amaya, Antonio Triana, Encarnación López, La Argentinita, su hermana Pilar López, Florence Pérez Padilla y Antonio Ruiz SolerRosario y Antonio, y muchos otros intérpretes de menor renombre, Juan Martínez fue un emigrante que huía de la Guerra Civil Española.

«A finales de los años 60, Mariano viajó a España para estudiar con Francisca González La Quica, la esposa del gran bailarín de principios de siglo Francisco León Frasquillo, quien también enseñó a Antonio Ruiz Soler. Mientras estaba en Madrid, Mariano comenzó un estudio intensivo con Luisa Pericet, matriarca de una renombrada familia de bailarines de la escuela bolera, la escuela española de danza clásica»

Mariano Parra, en el Lincoln Center, 2013. Foto: Angelica Escoto

Mariano Parra, en el Lincoln Center, 2013. Foto: Angelica Escoto

Mariano tenía solo 26 años cuando fundó su propia compañía, junto con sus hermanas, las bailarinas Mariana e Inés, y su hermano Juan, guitarrista. Con su pareja Jerane Michel, debutó en el Carnegie Hall de Nueva York en 1957. Siguiendo los principios de los grandes ballets españoles de la época, Mariano presentó un amplio espectro de danza española, que incluía bailes folclóricos de diversas regiones, danzas neoclásicas a los grandes compositores españoles como Nin, Turina, Granados, Albéniz y Falla, y, por supuesto, flamenco. En 1964, Parra alquiló un estudio en la calle West 20th, donde el bailarín moderno Jeff Duncan también tenía un estudio. Estaban sin dinero, pero Parra y Duncan organizaron una serie de conciertos informales, “Lunes a las 9”.

A finales de los años 60, Mariano viajó a España para estudiar con Francisca González La Quica, la esposa del gran bailarín de principios de siglo Francisco León Frasquillo, quien también enseñó a Antonio Ruiz Soler. Mientras estaba en Madrid, Mariano comenzó un estudio intensivo con Luisa Pericet, matriarca de una renombrada familia de bailarines de la escuela bolera, la escuela española de danza clásica. Con su técnica de ballet, Mariano aprendía rápidamente. Con su humildad y pasión, pudo absorber los matices estilísticos de esta forma exquisita. Luisa le pidió que se quedara y enseñara en su estudio, pero Mariano regresó a Nueva York a principios de los años 70, introduciendo a una nueva generación de bailarines españoles en la escuela, incluyendo a Matteo Marcellus Vittuci, Mateo (quien ya trabajaba como dúo con Carol Weller, Carola Goya), y Roberto Bobby Lorca, cofundador de Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana. Mariano realizó giras hasta principios de los años 80, y luego se dedicó a la enseñanza. Una autoridad respetada en todos los géneros de la danza española, Mariano asesoró y coreografió para varias compañías importantes con sede en Nueva York, como la American Bolero Dance Company de Gabriela Granados y Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana. Se echará de menos su gran sabiduría.

* Ninotchka Bennahum, K. Meira Goldberg y Estela Zatania colaboraron en la preparación de este artículo.


Imagen superior: Mariano Parra. Foto: Archivo de familia



Mariano Parra. Foto: Archivo de familia

Mariano Parra. Foto: Archivo de familia


In Conversation with Antoni Pizà

In Conversation is a series of interviews and dialogues between Antoni Pizà and a selected group of artists and intellectuals.  Mostly centered around music and the experience of listening, the series explores broader concerns including history, memory, and identity.  Guests include:  Allegra Giagiu, Ángel Gil-Ordóñez; Eliot Bates; Hayk Arsenyan; Marc Migó; Daniel Jordan; and others.

You may watch these conversations here:

International Symposium: Paco de Lucía and The Americas

International Symposium: Paco de Lucía and The Americas



An international symposium dedicated to exploring the indelible sway of the Americas on Paco de Lucía and, conversely, the impact of Paco de Lucía on the music and the musicians of the Americas.

To mark the tenth anniversary of Paco de Lucía’s passing this conference will investigate the transformative influence of Paco de Lucía (Francisco Sánchez Gómez, 1947-2014) on the global concert stage. Paco de Lucía was undoubtedly one of the most important contributors to the history of the guitar. His music transcended and transformed the genres of classical, jazz, and flamenco guitar, and his virtuosity as an instrumentalist, encompassing his unique fusions of Spanish musical idioms with North American, Caribbean, and Latin American genres, continues to influence classical, flamenco, jazz, pop, and world music today by drawing together the musical legacies of Africa, the Americas, and Europe.

Join acclaimed musicians and prestigious scholars from around the world to honor and celebrate the antecedents and the legacy of this remarkable artist.


Thursday, March 7, 2024 ― 9:30 am-6:00 pm

The Segal Theater, CUNY Graduate Center

365 Fifth Avenue @ 34th St

Free Admission ― Registration is required.



Organizing directors:  Antoni Pizà & K. Meira Goldberg

Presented by:

The Foundation for Iberian Music at Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation

The CUNY Graduate Center

This event has already received some attention from some media outlets.  K. Meira Goldberg is interviewed here.

For the full program click here:


This symposium is part of the Flamenco Festival NY 2024. Click here for the Festival’s full program:


Conference on Iberian Historical Male Voices and the Press


The Sociedad Española de Musicología has just announced this conference to be held in Palma de Mallorca (March 20, 21, and 22 2024) and Antoni Pizà (Foundation for Iberian Music) is a member of the Scientific Committee.

Read the full information here:



Congreso internacional 

La comisión de trabajo de la Sociedad Española de Musicología“Música y prensa” (MUSPRES), en colaboración con el grupo de investigación “Musurba“, de la Universidad Internacional de Valencia (VIU) y el grupo de investigación del “Institut de Musicologia Pau Villalonga” se complacen en organizar el Congreso internacional  “Divos: las voces masculinas de ópera y la prensa”, en memoria del gran bajo mallorquín Francisco Uetam. 
Este es el duodécimo encuentro científico impulsado por la mencionada comisión de trabajo de la SEdeM. Desde el año 2013, el grupo “Música y prensa” ha sido el anfitrión de congresos anuales con el objetivo de fomentar y compartir investigaciones musicológicas basadas en fuentes hemerográficas. Esta convocatoria se centra en la ópera y, de forma más específica, en los cantantes varones que han representado en escena personajes inolvidables, desde el emperador Carlos a Lohengrin, pasando por Figaro, Fausto o Werther.
En el XII MUSPRES, exploraremos el legado dejado por los cantantes de ópera desde nuevas perspectivas y contextos actuales, pero siempre a partir de la prensa. ¡Esperamos contar con vuestra participación!


Comité científico 

Dr. Francesc Cortès i Mir (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
Dra. Bàrbara Durán (Institut de musicologia Pau Villalonga)
Dr. Enrique Encabo (Universidad de Murcia)
Dra. María Ordiñana (Universidad Internacional de Valencia)
Dr. Antoni Pizà (Foundation for Iberian Music)
Dr. Alberto José Vieira Pacheco (Universidad Nova de Lisboa)
Dirección del congreso 
Dra. Eugenia Gallego Cañellas (Universidad Internacional de Valencia)

Sociedad Española de Musicología – Música y Prensa (MUSPRESS)


Antoni Pizà, Foundation for Iberian Music, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York, will present the following paper:

“Cómo eliminar casi todas las claves del solfeo y morir en el intento: Los intentos frustrados de Francisco Frontera de Valldemosa reflejados en la prensa española y europea”

En 1837, el cantante, compositor, pedagogo y gestor musical Francisco Frontera de Valldemosa (Palma, 22 de septiembre de 1807 — Palma, 7 de octubre de 1891) publicó en París un peculiar tratado de solfeo encaminado a eliminar o, al menos, reducir las claves del solfeo.  En ediciones sucesivas, el libro acabaría llamándose Equinotación ó Nuevo sistema musical de llaves. El breve volumen consta de dos partes. La primera detalla la reducción de todas las claves a sólo tres. La mayoría de las claves —arguye el autor— son innecesarias y, además, retrasan o incluso pueden llegar a abortar la creatividad musical del joven estudiante. La segunda parte es una curiosa antología de música que incluye en la página izquierda fragmentos musicales en su notación original, y en la página opuesta, a la derecha, en su transcripción al nuevo sistema de equinotación, o sea sin claves “innecesarias”. A pesar de que el sistema de Frontera no logró imponerse, la prensa española y europea reflejaron la originalidad del método y la posible necesidad de un sistema así: en Francia, la Revue et gazette musicale, L’Orphéon, La presse teatrale; en España, El león español, La España, La Libertad, El Artista, Revista y gaceta musical, La Correspondencia de España; en Italia, Bocherini, Il Pirata, Gazzetta musicale di Napoli, etc.  A pesar del éxito entre muchos críticos y profesores, Hippolyte-Raymond Colet (Uzès, 5 de diciembre de 1808 – París, 21 de abril de 1851) denunció el tratado por plagio e inició una polémica en la prensa denominada la querelle des cléfs en la que participaron varios críticos, profesores y teóricos musicales. Inquebrantable en sus convicciones y sin una resolución clara del posible plagio, Frontera publicó tres ediciones más de su tratado, una de ellas poco antes de morir.

New Conference on the Transatlantic Circulation of Knowledge

After the a very successful series of conferences and publications on the circulation of music and ideas across the Atlantic, including Celebrating Flamenco’s Tangled Roots: The Body Questions (2022); “Natives, Africans, Roma, and Europeans: Transatlantic Rhythms in Music, Song, and Dance” (published in Música Oral del Sur 2020); “Spaniards, Indians, Africans and Gypsies: The Global Reach of the Fandango in Music, Song, and Dance” (also in Música Oral del Sur 2015); Transatlantic Malagueñas and Zapateados in Music, Song and Dance: Spaniards, Natives, Africans, Roma (2019); and The Global Reach of the Fandango in Music, Song and Dance: Spaniards, Indians, Africans and Gypsies (2017), now the Societat Catalana de Musicologia has issued a call for papers.

Music, Migration, and the Exchange of Knowledge

Spain – North America – Latin America

A bicontinental symposium at the Institut d’Estudis Catalans, Barcelona, 28–29 November 2024, and at the Barry S. Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation, CUNY, Graduate Center, New York, 22–23 April 2025

Convenors & Coordination:
Tina Frühauf (The CUNY Graduate Center, New York / RILM)
Andrea Puentes-Blanco (IMF-CSIC, Barcelona & Societat Catalana de Musicologia)

Barcelona symposium: November 28–29, 2024
New York symposium: April 22–23, 2025

Abstracts should be sent through this form by 15 March 2024 in English or Spanish. Participants must indicate whether they want to participate in the Barcelona symposium in 2024 or in the New York symposium in 2025. For individual papers: abstracts of c. 350 words; for panels: abstracts of c. 300 words of the proposal as a whole and c. 200 words on the contribution of each participant. Applicants will be notified by 1 June 2024.

For more information visit the symposium website:

Publications by Antoni Pizà in The News

The Way of the Moderns (Brepols, 2022) by Antoni Pizà was prominently featured at the American Musicological meeting in Denver in November 2023.  Additionally, the literary podcast Ciutat Maragda dedicated an extensive segment to La dansa de l’arquitecte (Ensiola, 2012).  You may want to hear to the whole podcast here.




For an excerpt only, click here (in Catalan):



Additionally, the volume THE BODY QUESTIONS (Cambridge, 2022) has been reviewed and recommended the prestigious journal Revista de Investigación sobre flamenco “La Madrugá.”  You may download the article here: BodyQuestions_Uribe

Andrea Puentes at The Foundation for Iberian Music (Brook Center)

Andrea Puentes-Blanco was a Visiting Scholar at the Foundation for Iberian Music (The Brook Center, The City University of New York) from April to July 2023. Puentes-Blanco is Tenured Researcher at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas [CSIC, Spanish National Research Council], Institución Milá y Fontanals de Investigación en Humanidades (Barcelona, Spain). During her stay at the Brook Center, Puentes-Blanco worked on her research project entitled ‘Exploring Spanish Traditional Music Holdings in US Libraries’ whose aim is to research Spanish traditional music holdings in US libraries and archives that were collected in Spain, mostly by American ethnomusicologists or anthropologists, and Spanish-speaking folk music in the United States collected from Spanish immigrants or from people of Spanish origin. A case in point is Puentes’ research on the legacy of our late colleague and mentor Henrietta Yurchenco (1916-2007). This research is part of a broader current research project entitled “Digital development of the Fondo de Música Tradicional IMF-CSIC” [Desarrollo digital del Fondo de Música Tradicional IMF-CSIC] funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation from 2022 to 2024. Puentes is currently planning an international conference to be held in Barcelona (CSIC, 2024) and NY (Foundation for Iberian Music at the Brook Center, 2025.)

Paulino Capdeón’s Researches on Iberian Music

Many of our colleagues are able to keep a prolific scholarly activity, but just a few do so maintaining the highest possible scientific standards.  A case in point is Professor Paulino Capdeón, catedrático of musicology at the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha and Director of the Centro de Investigación y Documentación Musical de Castilla-La Mancha. Dr. Capdeon has had and continues to have, a distinguished career as a teacher and researcher with more than forty books and two hundred scholarly papers.  His publications frequently focus on eighteenth-century Spanish music, see for example his recent and very rigorous edition of Antonio Soler’s music and also the much commented influence of Italian music on Spanish repertories.  His interests, though, often veer also towards the mainstream musical repertoire that is usual at the concert hall, see for example his study of Beethoven’s reception in Spain. Very often, many of his scholarly interests have centered on extending this same mainstream concert hall repertoire.  Thus he has researched lesser-known composers bringing their life and works to the attention of scholars, musicians, students, and, ultimately, the general public.  A good example of these endevors are his studies on Ramón Garay (1761-1823) and music theorist Tomás Vicente Tosca (1651-1723), as well as his research on important centers of musical life such as the Colegiata de Santa María la Mayor de Talavera de la Reina.  In sum, we celebrate the many scholarly achievements of Professor Paulino Capdeón as a an example of intellectual scrupulousness and scientific rigor.