The Red Room • Friday morning, 9:30-12:15 • Add this session to your calendar

Virtual Session Demo

Patricia Hall (University of Michigan), Chair

This session's Zoom discussion will take place at 11:00am EDT. Attendees can join by clicking this link.

An asynchronous discussion is taking placing place on Slack at this link.

Brian Moseley (SUNY Buffalo)

Automatism and Tonal Discombobulation in the Mazurkas of Thomas Adès

Megan Lavengood (George Mason University)

A Timbral Analysis of the Vocalisations of Felis catus

Andrew Gades (The College of Idaho)

Assessing Music Theory: A Rubric-based Approach to Evaluating the Utility of Music Theory for the Undergraduate Student

Abstracts

This session is a demo for a possible online conference platform. Join the Zoom Q&A! Zoom information in the session calendar.

Automatism and Tonal Discombobulation in the Mazurkas of Thomas Adès

Brian Moseley (SUNY Buffalo)

Thomas Adès often suffuses his music with transformations of music past and present. His penchant for producing discombobulated representations of other music—as in the macabre cancan of Lieux retrouvés; the warped “Dies irae” in Totentanz; or the distorted rave of “Ecstasio”—has caused numerous critics to remark on the music’s surrealist qualities (Taruskin 2009; Fox 2004; Massey 2012, Service 2012; Cooper 2017; Venn 2017). These re-makings of specific works, styles, and genres are matched by similar transformations of generic and familiar sounds and patterns, like the discombobulating (016) that follows the tonic and dominant chords that begin the Piano Quintet (Stoecker 2014). Common to each mode of allusion is the underlying presence of defamiliarization. Adès’s music constantly renders familiar sounds strange, uncanny, and, on occasion, bizarre. Drawing primarily from his four recent mazurkas, this paper explores techniques that Adès uses to meld abstract patterns to generic tonal objects like triads and scales, and it situates these techniques alongside two axioms of surrealist art and music from the 1920s and ’30s, defamiliarization and automatism. I show how these fusions fundamentally transform his mazurkas by creating local, large-scale, and structural distortions of familiar musical processes and methods of organization.

A Timbral Analysis of the Vocalisations of Felis catus

Megan Lavengood (George Mason University)

The vocalisations of the rare house Khajiit (species Felis catus) are an important tool for communication with their humans. This paper presents and analysis of timbral differences between individuals of the species and identifies important commonalities. The existence of these commonalities suggests that specific timbral techniques are employed to communicate different ideas, such as hunger or a desire for affection.

Assessing Music Theory: A Rubric-based Approach to Evaluating the Utility of Music Theory for the Undergraduate Student

Andrew Gades (The College of Idaho)

Accreditation is often used as a boogey-man to scare faculty into completing assessment tasks for middle-management administrators. This paper presents a rubric-based methodology for assessing the impact of music theory on the proficiency attained in the general education outcomes. Given the small sample size of students who complete a music theory class to the overall student population, the results are not meaningful or duplicable.