Working Groups

Future Histories of Music Theory

Conveners: Carmel Raz, Nathan Martin, Lester Hu, and Thomas Christensen

The history of music theory bridges between conceptual understanding and hands-on savoir-faire in ways that link current concerns with richly textured investigations of the past. Over the past few years developments ranging from the proliferation of online and digital resources to vastly improved communication technologies have opened new opportunities for innovative scholarship in the field. The “Future Histories of Music Theory” Working Group aims to foster discussion around recent and emerging trends, including global and material histories; cognition, embodiment, and affect; and digital and empirical methods. The group sponsors workshops, seminars, research residencies, and publication projects with the aim of advancing research on historical music theory in the broadest sense.



March 27, 2022: Sources in Historical Music Theory Workshop 

June 17, 2021: Workshop, "Future Histories of Music Theory: Problems and Possibilities"

December 5, 2019: Jean-Philippe Rameau Study Day II, featuring Thomas Christensen & Alexander Jacobidze-Gitman

October 9, 2018: Jean-Philippe Rameau Study Day, featuring Nathan Martin & Ludwig Holtmeier

August 30 — September 21, 2018: Nathan Martin Research Residency and Guest Seminar, "Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Code de musique pratique (1760)"

July 19 — 20, 2018: Workshop, "Future Histories of Music Theory"


Music and Forms of Attention

Conveners: Carmel Raz and Francesca Brittan

In recent years, attention has emerged as a central concern for many scholars across the humanities. Much of this interest stems from the so-called “cognitive turn,” which has led to the development of new interpretative frameworks —including cognitive historicism, cognitive poetics, and cognitive literary theory— based on historical and contemporary sciences of mind. An additional factor may be the overwhelming modern-day concern with attention and its deficits, frequently theorized either as a neural disorder or a consequence of encroaching technological environments. In light of the widespread interdisciplinary interest in the mental states of focus and distraction, the “Music and Forms of Attention” Working Group aims to take stock of current approaches to attention and its histories, and to consider how scholars of music and sound can contribute to related conversations throughout the humanities.



November 13-16, 2022:  "A Long Perspective on Music and Attention: From Liturgical Listening to the Neural Orchestra" Panel at AMS 2022

August  5-6, 2021: Workshop, “Attention, Cognition, and the Auditory Self, 1770-1920”



Histories of Modern Rhythmic Theory

Conveners: Carmel Raz, Roger Mathew Grant, and Richard Cohn

The past several decades have witnessed an efflorescence of research on the temporal aspects of musical experience.  Rhythm and meter, once regarded as merely secondary parameters in comparison to pitch and harmony, are now central to the analysis and theory of music.  Nevertheless, the historical predecessors of our theoretical models remain understudied.  The “Histories of Modern Rhythmic Theory” Working Group aims to redress this imbalance.  Bringing empirical approaches together with historicist and analytical work, the working group cultivates new critical and comparative perspectives on historical rhythmic and metric theory.  Participants workshop new research, present formal papers, contribute to seminar discussions on primary sources, and plan publication projects with the aim of catalyzing new research in this emerging field.     



March 14 —15, 2019: Workshop II, "Histories of Musical and Poetic Meter"

November 19 — 20, 2018: Workshop I, "Histories of Rhythmic Theory, 1600-present"