Inaugural Conference

The Peabody Conservatory
of The Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

April 4-5, 2003


Select from the following:

Michael Berry, "A Modular Space Approach to Voice Leading in Atonal Music"

Ieda Bispo, "A Japanese Garden? Western Confluences in Toru Takemitsu's In An Autumn Garden for Gagaku"

John Buccheri (Featured Guest), Roundtable Discussion on Teaching Music Theory in the 21st Century

Norman Carey, "The Diminished Seventh Chord as Prolongational Agent in Bach, Chopin and Jobim"

Ellon D. Carpenter, "Scriabin's Octatonic Ur-Motives: Genesis, Context and Process"

Ellen R. Flint, "Compositional Prototypes in the Piano Music of Ellsworth Milburn"

Robert Gauldin (Keynote Speaker), "Tchaikovsky and Desirée: A Possible Secret Program for the Bb minor Concerto"

Taylor Greer, "Prelude to a New Music: The Principle of Opposition in Charles Griffes's Final Works"

J. Daniel Jenkins, "Voice-Leading Constraints in the Music of Elliott Carter"

Edward D. Latham, "Six Degrees of Confirmation: Deception, Evasion and Abandonment in Korngold's Die tote Stadt"

Eric McKee, "Schönberg on Mahler: Op. 19, No. 6"

Richard S. Parks, "Conventional Conceptual Metaphors and Music Theory Iconic Models"

Jonathan Saggau, "Textual and Musical Analysis of Stravinsky's Full Fadom Five"

Steven Strunk, "Tonnetz Chains and Clusters in Post-Bebop Jazz"

Matthew M. Werley, "From Alienation to Abnegation: Jenufa and the Metaphysics of Dramatic and Musical Discourse at the Turn of Century"


"A Modular Space Approach to Voice Leading in Atonal Music"

Michael Berry
Graduate Center of the City University of New York
Winner of the Award for the Best Graduate Student Paper 

Several recent discussions of voice leading in atonal music have taken David Lewin's transformational approach as a point of departure. These studies rely mainly on transpositional (T) and inversional (I) operators to motivate the voice leadings. When the sets are not T- or I- related, theorists have proposed a number of ad hoc operators that "fuzzify" or otherwise complicate the T/I operators. By combining this transformational approach with current conceptions of non-mod 12 pitch spaces proposed by Andrew Mead, Matthew Santa, and others, "crisp" T and I operators can be retained within and across different pitch spaces. Examples from the music of Stravinsky, Stockhausen, Messiaen, Hába, and Debussy illustrate the approach.

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"A Japanese Garden? Western Confluences in Toru Takemitsu's In An Autumn Garden for Gagaku"

Ieda Bispo
Joetsu University, Japan

Toru Takemitsu's work In an Autumn Garden (1973) for gagaku Japanese court music offers a unique perspective of the influences on his music. Scholars traditionally suggest that, compared to his works written for Western instruments, this piece is Takemitsu's most extreme incursion into his own cultural background. However, a close analysis of the work shows the reappearance of compositional techniques of Takemitsu's previous works, not always related to Japanese aesthetics. In this essay, I intend to demonstrate that, although expressed in a traditionally Eastern musical idiom, In an Autumn Garden is structurally organized according to a Western musical conception. 

On the surface, it seems that Takemitsu struggled to impose his own musical language in gagaku. However, while deliberately maintaining some of the performing techniques of gagaku instruments, he expressed his own individual style on a deeper level, in the structure of the composition. His approach to the texture is one example. Although In an Autumn Garden highlights occasional melodic lines, it can be considered as essentially a study of nuances of tone color. Tone color is also a concern in traditional Japanese music, but in gagaku it is not expressed through texture. Traditionally, the texture in a gagaku ensemble consists of layers of sound in which specific instruments, assigned to specific functions, sound within a fixed register. There is no mobility between these layers and the resulting static character is one of the most striking features of gagaku. Takemitsu ruptures gagaku's stratified structure using Debussy's conception of continuous shifting textural colors between the instrumental forces and Messiaen's conception of harmony functioning as timbre.

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Roundtable Discussion on Teaching Music Theory in the 21st Century 

Featured Guest: John Buccheri
Charles Deering McCormick Professor ofTeaching Excellence, Northwestern University 
Immediate Past President of The College Music Society 

Three questions to consider:

1. Many students, even those who enjoy their study of music theory, do not incorporate what they have learned in theory class into the way they learn, interpret, and understand music. Why is this so? What can be done about it?

2. What approaches might be taken to integrate music theory into other aspects of a student's music study; in particular, their performance experiences?

3. Is rhythm given enough time in the traditional two- or three-year core curriculum? What more is there to study in this area, and what aspect of study might be trimmed to make time for rhythm study?

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"The Diminished Seventh Chord as Prolongational Agent in Bach, Chopin and Jobim"

Norman Carey
Eastman School of Music

Descending diminished seventh chords serve in a variety of harmonic settings. Most typically, diminished seventh chords behave as surrogate dominant sevenths, as pointed out by Rameau. Although dissonant, these chords, through their surrogate status, may control local events in unexpected ways, as the works under investigation demonstrate. The paper explores the question of compositional modeling. The coda of Bach's Chromatic Fantasy, shares a significant number of features with the E-minor Prelude of Chopin, and the song "How Insensitive," by Antonio Carlos Jobim is consciously based upon Chopin's Prelude. 

The complex harmony in the coda of the Fantasy is explained by a diatonic descending fifths sequence. Such a sequence inevitably moves through the tritone, which will explain the seemingly anomalous resolution of two diminished seventh chords. The E-minor Prelude shares many features with Bach's coda, including the diminished seventh cascade and a series of 7-6 suspensions. These features serve to offer support for a new reading of the Prelude. Previous readings are discussed, including those that propose a "gapped" Urlinie.

Jobim modeled "How Insensitive" (Insensatez) on the Prelude, but as he pays homage, he simultaneously subverts Chopin's elegiac opus.

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"Scriabin's Octatonic Ur-Motives: Genesis, Context and Process"

Ellon D. Carpenter
Arizona State University 

Scriabin, in many of his later works, from Op. 52 through Op. 74 (his last opus), used several "octatonic ur-motives" that may be traced to his pre-octatonic pieces, such as Op. 32 and Op. 45. The evolving tonal context of the most frequently used of these motives and related sets reflects Scriabin's progressive refinement of his harmonic language chronologically from a tonal, seventh-chord-based foundation to a more octatonic context and, lastly, to a nearly atonal basis in his last works.

Although initially located on specific upper pitches in the higher tertian major-minor-type sonorities that Scriabin favored (ultimately to the exclusion of triads), in Scriabin's final opus these motives are used independently. Such a successive attenuation of the functional capabilities of the tonal language and the relative strengthening of the non-functional motivic content result in a pre-serial composition in which the vertical and horizontal aspects are in close agreement.

Analysis of several of Scriabin's short piano pieces, with emphasis on the Prelude, Op. 74, No. 4 (1914), reveals this evolution and investigates not only serial and melodic processes as development of these motives, but also as an expression of the form.

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"Compositional Prototypes in the Piano Music of Ellsworth Milburn"

Ellen R. Flint
Wilkes University 

Ellsworth Milburn's music has been described by critics as "craggy, colorful, romantic, aggressive, . . . brilliant, raging, and engaging." Among his many compositions stand two short but powerful works for solo piano, "Scherzo" and "The Stone Forest." Although he regularly includes piano in his chamber and orchestral works, these two pieces, commissioned by pianist John Hendrickson, are Milburn's only works for solo piano. Armed with Hendrickson's direction to write "something that is harder than anything I've ever played before," Milburn completed the works while in residence at the MacDowell Colony in 1989.

One might also add "witty" to the adjectives used to describe his music, for, in "Scherzo" and "The Stone Forest," Milburn pays homage, directly and indirectly, to two earlier standards of the repertoire. Analysis of these two works reveals the eloquence with which Milburn extracts the very essence of two well-known works of the nineteenth century, one each by Johannes Brahms and Ludwig van Beethoven Trio and the first movement of Beethoven's Sonata No. 21 in C Major, Op.53 material into two virtuosic works for solo piano. This presentation explores, by way of performance and discussion, the conditions under which "Scherzo" and "The Stone Forest" were composed and the materials and devices that are the foundation of their structures.

Additional commentary will be offered by the composer.

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"Tchaikovsky and Desirée: A Possible Secret Program for the Bb minor Concerto"

Keynote Speaker: Robert Gauldin, Eastman School of Music

Despite its great popularity with concert audiences, Tchaikovsky's Bb minor Piano Concerto (1874) exhibits a number of unusual features which have been duly singled out by critics since its premiere. The key to unlocking these idiosyncratic characteristics may lie in an further expansion of David Brown's investigation into possible acronyms relating the composer to Désirée Artôt, the Belgian singer with whom he had previously fallen in love about 1868. This paper will attempt to demonstrate that an even more elaborate network of acronyms and harmonic/key relations, some of which date back to Romeo and Juliet (1869), exists in the concerto, and that their presence and positioning in certain passages strongly suggest biographical episodes of a programmatic nature pertaining directly to the relationship between Tchaikovsky and Artôt. 

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"Prelude to a New Music: The Principle of Opposition in Charles Griffes's Final Works"

Taylor Greer
Pennsylvania State University

During the final years of his life the American composer Charles T. Griffes developed a highly experimental style, especially in his works for solo piano such as the Piano Sonata, "Clouds" from Roman Sketches, Op. 7, and the Three Preludes. Composed in 1919 and published in 1967, the preludes were the last works he completed before his death. Previous studies of Griffes's late style have concentrated on the Piano Sonata, exploring his use of various synthetic scales. Although the preludes also exhibit alternative approaches to pitch organization, what is more striking is Griffes's tendency to juxtapose opposites in the same work, dissonant scales and chords appearing side by side of traditional triads.

My presentation consists of two parts: (1) a historical overview of Griffes's late style, focusing on his interest in contemporary French and Russian composers; (2) a detailed analysis of the formal, motivic, and harmonic organization of Prelude #3. The late preludes reveal a new expressive language in the process of being born. It is a pity that Griffes died before this process was complete.

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"Voice-Leading Constraints in the Music of Elliott Carter"
J. Daniel Jenkins

Eastman School of Music

There is evidence to suggest that Elliott Carter has developed a compositional language that includes some voice-leading constraints. Carter explains that,"very often, I would take a certain chord and use that as a basis of a composition." The chords that Carter uses have what Robert Morris calls the Complement Union Property. CUP states that the combination of two nonintersecting members of different set-classes will always result in the same third set-class. In moving from chord to chord, Carter uses, "one note [or] two notes as a pivot from one chord to the next; sometimes three [or more]."

The pitches that are invariant from one statement of the chord to the next can simply be considered common tones. The voice leading of the other pitches is guided both by a pre-compositional set of allowable intervals (not interval classes) for each instrument or instrument group and by the rhythmic language. The interval-patterns change from piece to piece, while Carter's penchant for disallowing simultaneous attacks between instruments and instrument groups is pervasive in his music. In combination, these factors provide constraints on the voice leading.

Lento espressivo, the fourth movement of the Fifth String Quartet (1995), serves as a case study. The analysis, which begins with an investigation of CUP relations, also includes networks that model not only the motion between two chords, but also the large-scale motion that spans the movement. Thus, the analysis suggests that similar voice-leading procedures operate on both local and global levels. 

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"Six Degrees of Confirmation: Deception, Evasion and Abandonment in Korngold's Die tote Stadt"

Edward D. Latham
Temple University

The purpose of the present study is to refine the notion of cadential disruption for use in the analysis of late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century operatic repertoire, clarifying the differences between deceptive, evaded and abandoned cadences as defined by Janet Schmalfeldt (1992) and William Caplin (1998). Three cadential progressions, in particular the abandoned cadence in which a dominant-preparatory chord leads to a non-resolving cadential six-four, the evaded cadence in which [V7]-IV is substituted for the tonic, and the deceptive cadence resolving to root-position IV are examined in detail, with reference to the works of Janacek, Weill and Korngold, among others, and an argument for harmonic stability or instability (i.e. the use of a dominant seventh or diminished seventh-type chord as a cadential substitution) as a primary determinant of cadential function is presented.

Paul's aria, "Du weißt, daß ich in Brügge blieb," from Act I of Korngold's Die tote Stadt, is used to illustrate all six types of cadential confirmation, and the results of a formal-harmonic analysis are composed with a Schenkerian graph of the aria, revealing points of both correlation and disjunction. Conclusions drawn from the analytical section of the paper are then applied to the interpretation of the aria, with regard both to musical and dramatic choices made by the performer and the director, and the results are demonstrated in a live performance.

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"Schönberg on Mahler: Op. 19, No. 6"

Eric McKee
Pennsylvania State University

Op. 19, No. 6 is arguably Schoenberg's most profound utterance of musical brevity. Because of its short length and musical substance, Op. 19, No. 6 has assumed the role as the atonal counterpart to Mozart's A-major variation theme, Op. 331. David Lewin notes that "the ability of this little piece to sustain (and withstand) indefinite analysis of all kinds is remarkable" (Lewin 1982-83, 369). With only one exception, though, these analytic commentaries take an ultra-formalist stance. Only passing reference, if at all, is made to the piece's genesis, extramusical associations and expressive contents.

My reading takes as its starting point the historical context of Op. 19, No. 6 and attempts to show how extramusical factors and, specifically, the death of Mahler, served as compositional motivation in guiding Schoenberg's conception of the piece. Two basic questions underlie the study: In what way(s) does the piece speak of Mahler the composer and in what way(s) does it speak of Mahler's death? My central conclusions are that this piece can be read as Schoenberg's tribute to Mahler's contribution to "modern" music and that through the strategic use of the pitches E and Ab Schoenberg captures both spiritual and physical aspects of Mahler's death.

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"Conventional Conceptual Metaphors and Music Theory Iconic Models"

Richard S. Parks
The University of Western Ontario

Lakoff's and Johnson's Metaphors We Live By (1980) broke new ground in linguistics and philosophy by challenging the prevailing view that the function of metaphor is chiefly decorative, an artifice of speech and literature. They argued instead that metaphors are fundamental to human conceptualization, serving the essential purpose of helping us understand abstract concepts and phenomena by reference to correspondences with visceral bodily experiences. Their theory has gained wide acceptance and found application in many fields, including music theorists Arnie Cox (2000), Janna Saslaw (1996) and Lawrence Zbikowski (1997). In different ways each has taken aspects of Lakoff's work as a point of departure to demonstrate ways in which deeply rooted (even subliminal) metaphorical conceptualizations underlie our own understanding of aspects of music. 

In this paper I explore the relevance of the theory of conventional conceptual metaphor for understanding iconic models used in music theory (part of a much larger project that explores relationships between visual models, and the theoretical concepts and musical structures they serve to elucidate).

I begin by identifying two conventional conceptual metaphors embodied in a model of parsimonious voice leading relations among 4-27 chords derived from an octatonic universe: CHORDS ARE OBJECTS (occupying locations on a cubic space), and VOICE LEADING RELATIONS ARE JOURNEYS ALONG PATHS. From them, I extrapolate two archetypal conventional conceptual metaphors employed by music theorists: MUSICAL ENTITIES ARE SPATIAL OBJECTS, and MUSICAL ENTITIES ARE CONTAINERS. I then present several specific metaphors drawn from these archetypes, demonstrating how they are embedded in the ways in which we illustrate-i.e., model-music theoretical entities in our discourse.

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"Textual and Musical Analysis of Stravinsky's Full Fadom Five"

Jonathan Saggau
New England Conservatory of Music 

The name Stravinsky in the context of vocal music is often equated with an almost obsessive faithfulness to the sound of language. Stravinsky "insisted on the primacy of language sounds for composers" (Cogan, 7) and remains historically one of the most sonically sensitive composers linking linguistic sound to musical design. The second of Stravinsky's Three Songs from William Shakespeare which I propose to discuss provides us with a perfect example of this. We will discuss how Stravinsky fuses the sounds of Shakespeare's poetic language with musical language into a cohesive sonic design. This paper discusses the use of linguistic analysis, spectrographic (fast Fourier transform - FFT) imaging, statistical analysis, and pitch class analysis in the linguistic sound of the text as well as the overall structure of the piece. Stravinsky marries the multiple large and small scale dimensions of his music's sonic and formal structure to the sound of the poetry itself. He accomplishes this, among other methods, by placing sung pitches in registral space relative to the high and low spectra of vowel formants and by marrying ensemble articulation to the sound of consonants within Shakespeare's poetry while mirroring overall formal divisions of the poem through the large scale divisions of the piece as well as through the distribution and opposition of pitches from two partitions of the cycle of fifths. We will consider the overall sound of the text from a structural and sonic point of view using the International Phonetic Alphabet and spectrographic images to illustrate both coherent overall poetic and musical design as well as consonant and vowel spectral oppositions within Stravinsky's setting of Shakespeare's poetry. 

Work Cited:
Cogan, Robert. The Sounds of Song. Cambridge, MA: Publication Contact International, 1999.

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"Tonnetz Chains and Clusters in Post-Bebop Jazz"

Steven Strunk
The Catholic University of America 

Many post-bebop jazz compositions include nondiatonic, nonfunctional successions of four or more chords of the same structure, which, when graphed on the Tonnetz, form chains or contiguous clusters of geometric figures. Chains have been the subject of previous work focused on the group structure of the neo-Riemannian and twelve-tone operations that generate them. In addition to chains, isomorphic clusters of chords appear frequently among compositions by various jazz composers. These formations may all be thought of as a kind of compositional space which is realized in different ways at each occurrence.

The P, R, and L operations on triads are extended to accommodate the major and minor seventh chords of jazz so that the invariant dyads and geometric relations of the original operations are maintained. The paper then examines the realizations of Tonnetz chains and clusters and the relationships among them in nine jazz compositions. A group table is given for a chain of minor seventh chords shared by "Red Clay" (Freddie Hubbard) and "Speak No Evil" (Wayne Shorter), and a chain of
major seventh chords in "Hold Out Your Hand" (Paul Bley) is related by PLR to that of "Red Clay."

Relations among isomorphic clusters of major sevenths in "Steps" and "Tones for Joan's Bones" (Chick Corea) and "Unity Village" (Pat Metheny) are examined and their individual realizations contrasted. Other compositions studied in a similar manner are "Tell Me a Bedtime Story" and "Butterfly" (Herbie Hancock) and "Forest Flower" (Charles Lloyd).

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"From Alienation to Abnegation: Jenufa and the Metaphysics of Dramatic and Musical Discourse at the Turn of Century"

Matthew M. Werley
Temple University

Historical discussions of Leos Janácek's Jenufa (1903) have primarily drawn attention to issues of realism and nationalism at the turn of century. The tight musical discourse between its speech-melody style and orchestral apparatus represents the composer's ingenious solution to several aesthetic problems remaining in the wake of the Wagnerian legacy (Tyrrell, 1968). Furthermore, the coupling of late nineteenth-century harmonic practice with its provincial subject matter also orients Jenufa toward the larger European movements of realism and an emerging musical modernism (Dahlhaus, 1985). But how do these aesthetic observations condition an analysis of the work? 

This paper seeks to address, from this premise, several dramatic and musical techniques that Janácek deploys throughout Jenufa. By focusing on the character Laca who bears great structural significance for the opera through an accompanying Stanislavskian (dramatic) and Schenkerian (musical) analysis (Marcozzi, 1992; Latham, 2000), we can observe how traditional operatic conventions are negotiated within Janácek's own brand of modernism. A closer look at a pivotal scene in Act II further illuminates the collision of dramatic forces which situate Laca in a long-range trajectory from a position of social alienation to one of abnegation.  

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