MTSMA 2024 Schedule

All meetings and presentations will take place in the Mary M. Torggler Fine Arts Center at Christopher Newport University (Room 102: Art History Lecture Hall). There is free parking in the visitor lot in front of the library (Lot B), right next door. Please see the campus map here:

This conference is sponsored in part by the Department of Performing Arts and the ORCA Office (Office of Student Research and Creative Activity).

Friday, March 15

12:00pm Welcome

Jenine Brown (Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University)

Welcome Remarks by Dr. Jana Adamitis, Dean, College of Arts and Humanities (Christopher Newport University)

12:15–1:45pm Narrative Analysis

Chair: William O’Hara (Gettysburg College)

The Role of Genre in Conveying Narrative Conflict in Anime Openings
Abi Seguin (University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music)

The Speechless Narrator: Focalization in Musical Narrative
Ian Gerg (Southeastern Oklahoma State University)

Considering Ethics in Music Theory and Analysis through Narrative Interpretation
Kristi Hardman (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)

1:45–2:00pm Coffee Break

Torggler Atrium

2:00–3:30pm Phrase and Timing

Chair: Dan Zimmerman (University of Maryland, College Park)

Theorizing Phrase Structure in Guqin Music*
Ruixue Hu (Eastman School of Music)

Asynchronous Interactivity and Kendrick Lamar’s “For Free?”*
Mark Micchelli (University of Pittsburgh)

The skeleton, flesh and skin of time: Temporal processes in Grisey’s Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil*
Jia Yi Lee (Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University)

3:45–5:00pm Professional Development Workshop

New Instruments to Theorize With
Alexander Rehding (Harvard University)

5:00–6:00pm Reception

Torggler Atrium

Welcome Remarks by Dr. Quintin Kidd, Provost (Christopher Newport University)

6:30pm Conference Dinner

This optional dinner will take place on at Aago Restaurant ( The restaurant is within walking distance from CNU: 12368 Warwick Blvd A107, Newport News, VA 23606

Please RSVP for dinner upon registration. We’ll each pay individually for dinner at the restaurant.

Saturday, March 16

8:00–9:00am Executive Board Meeting

9:10–10:10am Strauss and Mahler

Chair: Judith Ofcarcik (James Madison University)

Intertextual Tonic References in Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen*
N. Jennings White (University of Minnesota)

From Explicit to Implicit: A Semiotic Interpretation of the Sonata Formal Prototype in the First Two Movements of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony*
Zhuo Zhao (Rutgers University)

10:20–11:20am Pitch and Beyond

Chair: Rosa Abrahams (Ursinus College)

Probing minor-mode scale pedagogy
Jenine Brown and Yeonju Lee (Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University)

Sonic Crunches and Harmonic Hunches: An Evaluation of the Perceptual Boundaries of Timbre and Harmony*
Richard Drehoff Jr. (Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University)

11:30am–12:30pm Post-Tonal Structures

Chair: Matthew Kiple (University of Delaware)

Topical Necker Cubes in Post-Tonal Music: Ambiguous Topics in George Crumb’s “Amazing Grace!”*
Ryan H. Jones (Eastman School of Music)

Pattern of Influence: Schillinger’s Fibonacci Mapping Reflected in Compositional Thought
Joe R. Argentino (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

12:30–1:30pm Lunch

There are many close options for lunch. Next door to the conference room is the Torggler café, which includes a pizzeria, sushi, and burgers. Other on-campus options include a Chick-fil-A and the library cafe. Walkable off-campus options include Panera Bread and Subway.

1:30–2:00pm Business Meeting

2:15–3:15pm Keynote Address

Music Theory and the Crisis of Sound 1820–1860
Alexander Rehding (Harvard University)

The nineteenth century was a time of progress but also of crisis – and the study of musical sound was no exception. While around 1800 a sense prevailed that scientists like E.F.F. Chladni and Thomas Young had lifted the secret of sound, this was just the calm before the storm. The presentation of the mechanical siren in 1819 sounded an alarm—literally and metaphorically: the new mechanism threatened to overturn the foundations of the old theories and threw the very conception of sound into a profound crisis.

But this crisis was also a time of great creativity: music theorists like Friedrich Opelt and Jean-Georges Kastner came up with innovative approaches, adapting their ideas around the new ideas about sound that the siren unleashed, which turned the study of music theory in new and unexpected directions. These figures may no longer be household names in music theory—but I hope they will be soon.

What is more, the important scientist Hermann von Helmholtz managed to put a damper on this crisis in the 1860s with some wise and conciliatory pronouncements. But the benefits for music remained and continued to be developed—in compositions by Berlioz, Saint-Saëns, and far beyond.

3:15–3:30pm Coffee Break

Torggler Atrium

3:30–4:30pm Harmony

Chair: Jenine Brown (Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University)

Harmonizing Uncertainty: Ambiguous Tonicizations in The Music of Summer Walker 
Richard Desinord (Michigan State University)

A Supervised Learning Approach to the Behavior of “Soul Dominants” in the McGill Billboard Corpus 
Stanley Ralph Fink (Drake University)

* denotes eligibility for the Dorothy Payne Award for Best Student Paper

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