I was born in Montréal, Canada, and was educated in that city, studying piano at the Conservatoire de musique et d'art dramatique du Québec, and obtaining a Mus. Bac. in composition from McGill University in 1965, when I was 20.My goal at that time was to be a composer, and I pursued it through graduate studies at Princeton University, where I obtained a M.F.A. in1968 and a Ph.D. in 1976. I began my teaching career in the U.S., at Wellesley College (1970-72) and the University of Michigan (1972-78). With all my teaching assignments being in theory, I found my interests shifting to that burgeoning field, and have made my principal public contribution, over the years, as a theorist. I came to the University of British Columbia in 1978 as an Associate Professor and was promoted to Professor in 1983. From 1984 to 1991 I served as Director of the School of Music, from 1991-96, and as Graduate Advisor in Music. Over the past decade, my research interests (see below) have shifted to music aesthetics, regarded from a cognitivist perspective.
I have taught just about every recurring music theory course at the School of Music at one time or another. In recent years my courses have included:
* Music 411/500—Analysis of tonal music
* Music 412/500—Analytical studies in the development of musical modernism
* Music 414—Eighteenth-century counterpoint
* Music 430—The music of Schumann
* Music 450—The symphonies of Beethoven
* Music 501—Readings in Schenkerian Theory
* Music 532—Special topic: The pleasures of memory in the practices of music
In 2008-09 I will teach Music 414 again and, for the first time, will offer a sequel course in the analysis and composition of fugues (as Music 403). In 2009-10, I hope to offer a course on the music of Bartók.
I have supervised the thesis and post-doctoral work of 25 individuals: seven MA's, three M.Mus.'s, seven DMA's, seven Ph.D.'s (one of whom also did her MA with me), and two post-docs. My students since 2000 have completed or are completing the following projects:
1. Gordon Paslawski. An analysis of Bartók's First Sonata for Violin and Piano, Movement I. 2007.
2. Rebecca Simpson. Harmony and voice-leading in music by Philippe Gaubert: innovation in a traditional context. 2003.
3. Patty Wu. Span structure in Robert Schumann's late works. 2002.
4. Reza Mansoori-Dara. Divine and sublime creativity: a comparision of Schenkerian and Ciceronian principles. 2001.
1. Katarzyna Marczak. Balancing music and mimetic gesture in a performance of Stockhausen's Harlekin for solo Clarinet. In progress.
2. Carolina Plata-Ballesteros. Form in the song collection Con Antonio Machado by Joaquin Rodrigo. In Progress
3. Erika Crinó. A performing analysis of Béla Bartók's Three Burlesques, Op. 8c. 2006.
4. Janina Kuzmas. Unifying elements of John Corigliano's Etude-Fantasy. 2002
1. Linda Kaastra. Empirical frameworks for the study of music cognition: a performer's perspective. 2008.
2. Rebecca Simpson. Transformational, tonal, and rhythmic perspectives on Messiaen's technique of composing with modes of limited transposition. Completion expected, 2008.
3. Yvonne Gillespie. Thesis will deal with the functions of triads in the string quartets of Shostakovich. Under development, 2008.
4. Ross Braes. An investigation of the jeux de timbres in Claude Vivier's instrumental works of 1979-80. 2003.
Over the years I have written papers in the theory of harmony, analysis of late-Romantic chromaticism, analysis of early atonality from the standpoint of chromatic harmony, theory of meter, analytical methodology, and many other subjects.
My current research deals with ordinary musical memory (OMM), the capacity most of us have to remember significant amounts of music, in invariant representations of considerable richness that persist over long periods of time. I am interested in the formal structures and sonic contents of these representations, in their relationships to individuals' musical experiences, in the attitudes of individuals toward them, in what kinds of music they permit us to imagine, and in the roles they play in our lives as musical beings. I have a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to collect empirical and other data relevant to studying OMM, and I am writing a book that will argue that musicality is rooted in the reproduction of the music that we've heard, more than in our ability to understand music in the structural senses that interest music theorists, and also more than in our ability to respond emotionally; and that our involvement in and appreciation of music depends, first and foremost, on our ability to reproduce it in silence (imagine it) after experiencing it sufficiently. This project bridges the fields of music theory, music aesthetics, music cognition, musical anthropology, and the study of music from an evolutionary perspective. I am employing several graduate students as research assistants on this project. A paper analyzing a questionnaire on musical imagery that I distributed, to which I have over 250 responses, is now in preparation.
For the 2008 calendar year, I have been appointed a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, at UBC. If you want to hear a talk I recently gave on the subject of my current research, you can access the web site of the PWIAS to hear a podcast. To do so, click here.
I continue to engage in research activities of a more traditional kind as a music theorist. These continue my work in analysis of music of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. One paper I wrote recently updates a theory of meter I first wrote about in 1984, and applies it to some late compositions by Robert Schumann. I am currently writing a paper on tonal structure in passages from several Bartók quartets, and another paper dealing with a recent work by the Canadian composer, Istvan Anhalt, about whom I have written extensively. A third paper, which I am preparing for a conference in December 2008, deals with the relationship between imagining music and analyzing it.
To survey my publications and other writings, consult the copy of my c.v., which you can access on my Google home page. click here.
Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 17, K. 453, movement I: an analysis. In Analytical Studies in World Music (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006): 332-376.
Music through a narrow aperture: a qualified defense of concatenationism. Revue Internationale de Philosophie, 6/4 (2006): 515-522.
Ordinary musical memory as a determinant of musical value. In Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, Evanston, IL, 2004. Eds. Lipscomb, S.D., Ashley, R., Gjerdingen, R.O., Webster, P. Causal Productions, CD-ROM.
Distinctive and Original Features of the Pitch Structures of Wolpe's Later Chamber Music. In On the Music of Stefan Wolpe: Essays and Recollections (New York: Pendragon Press, 2003), 270-288.
Alternatives of Voice: Anhalt's Odyssey from Personalized Style to Symbolic Expression. In Istvan Anhalt: Pathways and Memory (Montreal and Kingston: Queen's University Press, 2001), 164-307.