‘Let’s kick that racist Schenker out of musicology’

‘Let’s kick that racist Schenker out of musicology’


norman lebrecht

July 31, 2020

The analytical methodology of the Viennese scholar Heinrich Schenker (1868-1935) has dominated academic musicology for so long that it is hardly possible to open a Beethoven score without thinking of his theories. Schenker, a decendant of Talmudists, is a powerful mind, always good to challenge. But the storm that has grippped US musicology this month has very little to do with his ideas.

It started with a lecture by the inflammatory Philip Ewell, a New York campaigner for ‘decolonising’ the music curriculum. Ewell gave a talk titled ‘Music Theory’s White Racial Frame‘ at the Society for Music Theory (SMT) Annual Meeting in November 2019 and debate has exploded since then with 100 pages of responses to Ewell’s lecture in the Journal of Schenkerian Studies.

All this would be worth little more than a raised eyebrow were it not for the odious undercurrents. Schenker was unarguably a supremacist when discussing European music. He was also xenophobe. These views are integral to the history and evolutuon of musicology and have been thoroughly exposed in many serious investigations such as….

There was nothing new in Ewell’s attempted assassination, but his tone struck a different chord, provoking one of the journal’s editors, Timothy Jackson of the University of North Texas, to accuse Ewell of having an antisemitic agenda. ‘Ewell’s denunciation of Schenker and Schenkerians may be seen as part and parcel of the much broader current of Black anti-Semitism… including the pattern of violence against Jews, the obnoxious lyrics of some hip hop songs, etc.’

Ewell’s supporters rallied with this letter of support to the SMT: … The journal’s violation of academic standards of peer review, its singling out of Prof. Ewell while denying him a chance to respond, and the language of many of its essays constitute anti-Black racism. These actions provide further evidence of the structural force of white supremacy in our discipline. While this episode is the most recent, and perhaps the most illustrative, the treatment Prof. Ewell received from the Journal of Schenkerian Studies is only the latest instance of systemic racism that marginalized Society members have faced for many years.

We applaud the recent statement of the Executive Board of the Society for Music Theory. To aid the Executive Board in their aim to “determine further actions,” we the undersigned advocate for the following:

  1. A public statement from the President, authorized by the Executive Board and in accordance with the Policy on Public Statements, that SMT acknowledges the following three points: (a) that American music theory is historically rooted in white supremacy, the racist idea that whites are superior to nonwhites, (b) that these white supremacist roots have resulted in racist policies that have benefitted whites and whiteness while disadvantaging nonwhites and nonwhiteness, and (c) that these racist policies have resulted in injustices suffered by BIPOC at all stages of their careers. Further, we call upon the President, with the authorization of the Executive Board, to apologize to all BIPOC who have suffered such injustices, without equivocation.

Not since Stalin’s time have we seen such an orgy of self-criticism. I append the list of signatories from all over the world, practically the entire discipline of music theory, signing like sheep to self-slaughter. Here goes:

Rosa Abrahams, Ursinus College

Ruard Absaroka, University of Salzburg

Stefanie Acevedo, University of Dayton

Byron Adams, UC Riverside

George Adams, University of Chicago

Kyle Adams, Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University

Aisha Ahmad-Post, Colorado Springs, CO

Brian Alegant, Oberlin College Conservatory

Makulumy Alexander-Hills, Columbia University

Michael Allemana, University of Chicago

Emily Ruth Allen, Florida State University

Penrose Allphin, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Andreas R. Amado, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Matt Ambrosio, Lawrence University

Drake Andersen, Vassar College

Clovis de Andre, Faculdade Cantareira (S√£o Paulo, Brazil)

Christopher Antila, RILM (Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale)

Spencer Arias, Michigan State University

Sean Atkinson, Texas Christian University

Robin Attas, Queen’s University

Jacqueline Avila, University of Tennessee

William R. Ayers, University of Central Florida

Andrew Aziz, San Diego State University

Ben Baker, Eastman School of Music

David John Baker, London, UK

Michael Baker, University of Kentucky

Sara Bakker, Utah State University

Twila Bakker, Edmonton, Alberta

Ellen Bakulina, University of North Texas

Lara Safinaz Balikci, McGill University

Marcos Balter, University of California, San Diego

Alyssa Barna, University of Minnesota

Jessica Barnett, SUNY Fredonia

Matthew Barnson, SUNY Stony Brook

Daniel Barolsky, Beloit College

Christopher Bartlette, Binghamton University

Samantha Bassler, New York University, Steinhardt Dept of Music and Performing Arts Professions

Eliot Bates, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Inessa Bazayev, Louisiana State University

Melinda Beasi, Easthampton, MA

Richard Beaudoin, Dartmouth College

Jennifer Beavers, University of Texas at San Antonio

Adam Behan, University of Cambridge

Owen Belcher, University of Missouri Kansas City

Matthew Bell, Tallahassee, FL

Vincent Pérez Benítez, Penn State University

Lauren Bennati, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Michael Bennett, Graduate student, Stony Brook University

William Bennett, Harvard University

Zachary Bernstein, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester

David Carson Berry, University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music

Michael Berry, University of Washington

Nilanjana Bhattacharjya, Arizona State University

Nicole Biamonte, McGill University

Ian Biddle, Newcastle University, UK

Benjamin Bierman, John Jay College, CUNY

Stefanie Bilidas, University of Texas at Austin

Sebastian Bisciglia, University of Toronto

Wendelin Bitzan, Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf, Germany

Nicolas Bizub, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music

Damian Blättler, Rice University

Andrew Blake, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester

Chandler Blount, Florida State University

Michael S. Boerner, Stony Brook University

Breighan Boeskool, Granger, IN

Jacob Bohan, Charlotte, North Carolina

Christine Boone, University of North Carolina Asheville

David Borgo, UC San Diego

Mauro Botelho, Davidson College

Beau Bothwell, Kalamazoo College

Janet Bourne, University of California, Santa Barbara

Sara Bowden, Northwestern University

Lynette Bowring, Yale University

Douglas Boyce, George Washington University

Clifton Boyd, Yale University

Michael Boyd, Chatham University

Antares Boyle, Portland State University

Matthew Boyle, University of Alabama

Andre Bregegere, William Paterson University

David Bretherton, University of Southampton

Amelia Brey, The Juilliard School

Seth Brodsky, University of Chicago

Christopher Brody, University of Louisville

Per Broman, Bowling Green State University

Erin M. Brooks, State University of New York-Potsdam

Eliza Brown, DePauw University

Jenine Brown, Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins Univ.

Matthew Brown, Eastman School of Music

Michael Bruschi, Yale University

Michael Buchler, Florida State University

Carl Burdick, University of Cincinnati

Samantha Burgess, Ohio State University

Geoffrey Burleson, Hunter College-CUNY

L. Poundie Burstein, CUNY

Patricia Burt, University of Delaware

Mark J. Butler, Northwestern University

David Byrne, University of Manitoba

Thomas Cabaniss, The Juilliard School, New York, NY

Ian Calhoun, University of North Texas

Andrea Calilhanna, Western Sydney University, MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development

Michael Callahan, Michigan State University

Lee Cannon-Brown, Harvard University

Ellon D Carpenter, Arizona State University, Emerita

Daphne GA Carr, NYU FAS Music

Carolyn Carrier, Philadelphia, PA

James Carroll, Springfield, MA

Rebecca Carroll, Rutgers University

Daniel Carsello, Temple University

Antonio Cascelli, Maynooth University

James P Cassaro, University of Pittsburgh

Zosha Di Castri, Columbia University

Devin Chaloux, New Hampshire

Samuel Chan, New York University

Varun Chandrasekhar, The University of Minnesota

Dustin Chau, University of Chicago

Damian Cheek, University of Arkansas – Fort Smith

Timothy K. Chenette, Utah State University

William Cheng, Dartmouth College

Adrian P. Childs, University of Georgia

Matt Chiu, Eastman School of Music

Hiroaki Cho, Brown University

Andrew Chung, University of North Texas

Amy Cimini, UC San Diego

Alice Clark, Loyola University New Orleans

Timothy Clarkson, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Sydney University DMA candidate

Seth Cluett, Columbia University

Jacob A. Cohen, Oberlin College

Christa Cole, Indiana University

Carla Colletti, Webster University

Adam Collins, University of Montana

Henri Colombat, McGill University

John Combs, Florida State University

Jade Conlee, Yale University

Corrina Connor, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Karen M. Cook, University of Hartford

Robert C. Cook, Louisville CO (University of Iowa, emeritus)

Margaret Cormier, McGill University

Evan Cortens, Mount Royal University

Nicole Cosme, Yale University

Alyssa Cottle, Harvard University

Benjamin Court, UCLA

Alexander Cowan, Harvard University

Arnie Cox, Oberlin College & Conservatory

Maxe Crandall, Stanford University

Stephen A. Crist, Emory University

Alejandro Cueto, University of Texas at Austin

Nick Curry, Harvard Law School

David Damschroder, University of Minnesota

Joe Davies, University of Oxford

Angharad Davis, Yale University

Stacey Davis, University of Texas at San Antonio

Hannah Davis-Abraham, University of Toronto

Laina Dawes, Columbia University

Greg Decker, Bowling Green State University (Ohio)

Kyle DeCoste, Columbia University

Rob Deemer, State University of New York at Fredonia

Galen DeGraf, Columbia University

Tomoko Deguchi, Winthrop University

Jay Derderian, Composer – Portland, Oregon

Johanna Devaney, Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center

Dana DeVlieger, University of Delaware

David Dewar, University of Bristol, UK

Emily DeWoolfson, Temple University

Thomas Dickinson, South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities

Brittni Leigh Dixon, Florida State University

Benjamin Dobbs, Furman University

Julia Doe, Columbia University

James Donaldson, McGill University

Sahara Donna, University of North Texas

Luka Douridas, RILM (Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale)

Eric Drott, University of Texas at Austin

Aleksandra (Sasha) Drozzina, Toronto, ON

Daniel Nicolae Dubei, New York City, NY

Michéle Duguay, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Ben Duinker, University of Toronto

Philip Duker, University of Delaware

Melissa Dunphy, Rutgers University

Jonathan Dunsby, Eastman School of Music

Jacques Dupuis, Brandeis University

Michael Ebie, Michigan State University

Ryan Ebright, Bowling Green State University

Lindsey Eckenroth, Brooklyn College, CUNY

Ethan Edl, Yale University

Laura Emmery, Emory University

Neal Endicott, Michigan State University

Christopher Endrinal, Florida Gulf Coast University

Clare Sher Ling Eng, Belmont University

Nora Engebretsen, Bowling Green State University

Tom Erbe, UC San Diego

Walter Everett, University of Michigan

Sara Everson, Florida State University

Philip Ewell, Hunter College

Samuel Falotico, University of Colorado Boulder

David Falterman, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester

Tobias Fasshauer, Berlin University of the Arts

Brent Ferguson, Washburn University and MidAmerica Nazarene University

Matthew Ferrandino, University of Kansas

Stanley Ralph Fink, Florida State University

Aaron Flagg, The Juilliard School

Amy Fleming, Baylor University

Nathan Fleshner, University of Tennessee

J. Wesley Flinn, University of Minnesota Morris

Rebecca Flore, University of Chicago

David Walter Floyd, Champaign, IL

Gretchen Foley, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Mike Ford, Columbia University

Jane Forner, Columbia University

Karen Fournier, University of Michigan @ Ann Arbor

Aaron Andrew Fox, Dept. of Music, Columbia University

Elizabeth Fox, University of Toronto

Kelly Francis, Kennesaw State University

Kristin M. Franseen, Carleton University and University of Ottawa

Walter Frisch, Columbia University

Louise Fristensky, The University of North Texas

Johanna Frymoyer, University of Notre Dame

Anna Fulton, Grand Valley State University

Alison Furlong, Columbus, OH

Joshua Gailey, Seattle, WA

Rachel Gain, University of North Texas

Michael Gallope, University of Minnesota

Sarah Gates, Northwestern University

Leslie Gay, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

David Geary, Wake Forest University

William van Geest, University of Michigan

Ian Gerg, Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Sarah Gerk, Binghamton University

Emily Gertsch, University of Georgia

Elaine Fitz Gibbon, Harvard University

Jeffrey L. Gillespie, Butler University

Mylene Gioffredo, Universite de Metz

Jon-Tomas Godin, Brandon University

Keir GoGwilt, UC San Diego

Daniel Goldberg, University of Connecticut

Halina Goldberg, Indiana University Bloomington

Rachel May Golden, University of Tennessee

K. E. Goldschmitt, Wellesley College

Grace Gollmar, University of Texas at Austin

Stephen Gomez-Peck, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Juan Gonzalez, Alumni

Sumanth Gopinath, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Stephen Gosden, University of North Florida

Gillian L. Gower, University of Denver/University of Edinburgh

Naomi Graber, University of Georgia

Thomas Gracy, Boston University

Benjamin Graf, University of North Texas

Aaron Grant, Missouri Western State University

Roger Mathew Grant, Wesleyan University

Julianne Grasso, University of Texas at Austin

Ashley A. Greathouse, PhD Candidate, University of Cincinnati

Andrew Green, University of Glasgow

Stefan Greenfield-Casas, Northwestern University

phillip greenlief, composer, improviser, teacher – oakland, ca

Jess Griggs, Austin, TX

Robert Gross, Board Certified Music Therapist, Denton, TX

Michelle L Grosser, University of Toronto

Bree Kathleen Guerra, University of Texas at Austin

Jeannie Ma. Guerrero, Rochester, NY

Massimo Guida, Toronto

Stephanie Gunst, independent scholar, Charlottesville, VA

Sara Haefeli, Ithaca College, Editor of the Journal of Music History Pedagogy

Zaki Hagins, Conservatorium Maastricht

Lauren Halsey, University of Washington

Elizabeth Hambleton, UCSB

Chelsey Hamm, Christopher Newport University

Scott Hanenberg, Virginia Tech

Mena Mark Hanna, Barenboim-Said Akademie, Berlin

Calder Hannan, Columbia University

Kristi Hardman, The Graduate Center, CUNY

J. Tanner Harrod, Graduate Student, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Lauren Hartburg, Florida State University

Robert Hasegawa, McGill University

Amy Hatch, University of North Texas/University of Texas at Arlington

Stan Hawkins, University of Oslo and University of Agder, Norway

Midavi Hayden, Independent Artist-Scholar; Cincinnati, OH

Martin Hebel, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music

Garrett Hecker, Santa Fe College (Gainesville, FL)

Nicola Leonard Hein, Columbia University New York

David Heinsen, University of Texas at Austin

Bill Heinze, University of Minnesota

Matthias Heyman, University of Antwerp, Belgium

Andrew Hicks, Cornell University

Orit Hilewicz, Eastman School of Music

Ann Hiloski-Fowler, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Hubert Ho, Northeastern University

Jocelyn Ho, UCLA

Kevin Holm-Hudson, University of Kentucky

Julian Bennett Holmes, Manhattan School of Music; Columbia University

Heather Holmquest, Nazareth College

Knut Holtstraeter, University of Freiburg, Germany

Tanya Honerman, University of Kansas

Erika Supria Honisch, Stony Brook University

Jason Hooper, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Fred Hosken, Northwestern University

Rachel Hottle, McGill University

Blake Howe, Louisiana State University

Alison Howell, Rutgers University

Amanda Hsieh, University of Toronto

Daniel Huang, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music

Stephen S. Hudson, University of Richmond

Bryn Hughes, The University of Lethbridge

Tim Hughes, The London College of Music

Kyle Hutchinson, NA

Liam Hynes-Tawa, Yale University

Sarah Iker, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Mark Inchoco, University of California, Riverside

Tom Ingram, Winnipeg, MB

Lauren Irschick, Eastman School of Music

Eric Isaacson, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

Velia Ivanova, Columbia University

Roman Ivanovitch, Indiana University

Jennifer Iverson, University of Chicago

Joseph Jakubowski, Harvard University

Donald James, Boston College

Mark Janello, Peabody Conservatory, Johns Hopkins University

Freya Jarman, University of Liverpool, UK

J. Daniel Jenkins, University of South Carolina

Stephanie Jensen-Moulton, Brooklyn College, CUNY

Emily John, Special Music School, NYC, Queens College – CUNY

James A. John, Professor of Music, Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College-CUNY

Lindsay Johnson, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Tom Johnson, contingent faculty

Erin Johnson-Williams, Durham University

Blair Johnston, Indiana University

Erin Johnston, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Evan Jones, Florida State University

Alexandrea Jonker, McGill University

Patricia Julien, University of Vermont

Sylvia Kahan, College of Staten Island and Graduate Center, CUNY

Elyse Kahler, University of Texas at Arlington

Noah Kahrs, Eastman School of Music

Peter Kaminsky, University of Connecticut – Storrs

Robert T. Kelley, Lander University

Laura L. Kelly, University of Texas at San Antonio

Colin Kennedy, Washington, DC

Matthew Kennedy, University of South Florida

Emily Kenyon, South Country Central School District

Marissa Kerbel, University of Cincinnati

Linda Kernohan, DMA Composition student, The Ohio State University; Adjunct Professor, Otterbein University

Daniel Ketter, Daniel Ketter

Dr. Ildar D. Khannanov, Peabody Institute, Johns Hopkins University

Wes Khurana, University of Toronto

Marianne Kielian-Gilbert, Indiana University

Jesse Kinne, Louisiana Tech University

Jesse Kiser, University at Buffalo

Michael L. Klein, Temple University

Joshua Klopfenstein, University of Chicago

Edward Klorman, McGill University

Andrew J Kluth, Case Western Reserve University

Douglas Knehans, College-Conservatory of Music, Cincinnati, OH

Andrew Knight-Hill, University of Greenwich, UK

Kristina Knowles, Arizona State University

Jon Kochavi, Swarthmore College

Tatiana Koike, Yale University

Robert Komaniecki, University of Iowa

Ryan Kosseff-Jones, Geneva, NY

Stephen M. Kovaciny, Madison, WI

Mariusz Kozak, Columbia University

Reiner Krämer, University of Northern Colorado

Joseph Kraus, Florida State University

Hanisha Kulothparan, Michigan State University

Jonathan Kulp, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Anita Kumar, Georgia State University

Jaclyn Noel Kurtz, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

Eduardo Lopez-Dabdoub, Florida State University

Darren A. LaCour, Lindenwood University

Eric Lai, Baylor University

Hei-Yeung John Lai, University of British Columbia

steven laitz, the Juilliard School

George Tsz-Kwan Lam, Hong Kong Baptist University

Nathan Lam, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Heather Laurel, Independent Scholar (Mannes/CUNY Alum)

Justin Lavacek, University of North Texas

Megan Lavengood, George Mason University

TJ Laws-Nicola, University of Kansas

Kara Yoo Leaman, Oberlin College & Conservatory

Dickie Lee, University of Georgia

Gavin Lee, Soochow University

Frank Lehman, Tufts University

Marc LeMay, Georgia State University

Jordan Lenchitz, Florida State University

Rebecca Lentjes, RILM Abstracts of Music Literature

Kendra Preston Leonard, Silent Film Sound and Music Archive

Stephen Lett, University of Saskatchewan

Anne Levitsky, Dixie State University

Tamara Levitz, UCLA

Benjamin R. Levy, University of California, Santa Barbara

Michael Lewanski, Depaul University, School of Music

Edwin Li, Harvard University

Siv B. Lie, University of Maryland

Stephen F. Lilly, Minneapolis, MN

Stephanie Lind, Queen’s University (Canada)

Peng Liu, University of Texas at Austin

Zachary Lloyd, Florida State University

Judy Lochhead, Stony Brook University

James A. Long, Oakland University

Megan Long, Oberlin College

Rebecca J. Long, University of Louisville

Gerardo (Gerry) Lopez, Michigan State University

Sarah Louden, New York University Steinhardt

Gabriel Lubell, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

Ann E Lucas, Associate Professor of Music, Boston College

Olivia R. Lucas, Louisiana State University

Nicholas Luciano, Greensboro, NC

Rachel Lumsden, Florida State University

Justin Lundberg, Chicago

Siriana Lundgren, Harvard University

Vivian Luong, University of Saskatchewan

Matthew Lyons, University of Texas at Austin

Megan Lyons, University of Connecticut

Yiqing Ma, University of Michigan

James MacKay, Loyola University New Orleans

Barbara Dobbs Mackenzie, RILM, Brook Center, CUNY Graduate Center

Alejandro L. Madrid, Cornell University

Andrus Madsen, Newton Baroque

Erin K. Maher, Delaware Valley University

Su Yin Mak, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Victoria Malawey, Macalester College (St. Paul, MN)

Anabel Maler, University of Iowa

Noriko Manabe, Temple University

Kate Mancey, Harvard University

Rachel Mann, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Dr. Nicole Marchesseau, McMaster University

Elizabeth Margulis, Princeton University

Sarah Marlowe, Eastman School of Music

Jennifer Martin, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Caitlin Martinkus, Virginia Tech

David Marvel, University of Oklahoma

William Marvin, Eastman School of Music

Will Mason, Wheaton College

Steven D. Mathews, University of Cincinnati

Fred Everett Maus, Department of Music, University of Virginia

Paula Maust, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Panayotis Mavromatis, New York University

Susan McClary, Case Western Reserve University

Ryan McClelland, University of Toronto

Michael McClimon, Philadelphia, PA

Sarah McConnell, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Stephen McFall, Indiana University

Claire McGinn, University of York

Eric McKee, Penn State University

Elizabeth McLain, Virginia Tech

Andrew Mead, Indiana University

Elizabeth Medina-Gray, Ithaca College

Sarah Mendes, University of Texas at Austin

Sadie Menicanin, University of Toronto

Lila Meretzky, Yale University

Garrett Michaelsen, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Jason Louis Mile, London, ON

Emily Milius, University of Oregon

Natalie Miller, Princeton University

McKensie Miller, Chapman University

Connor Milstead, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Helen Julia Minors, Kingston University, London

Nathaniel Mitchell, Princeton University

Toru Momii, Columbia University

Dayna Mondelli, Independent Proofreader and Copyeditor

Peter Mondelli, University of North Texas

Eugene Montague, George Washington University

Steven Moon, University of Pittsburgh

Alexander Morgan, New York

Kacie Morgan, UCLA

Landon Morrison, Harvard University

Brian Moseley, SUNY Buffalo

Tahirih Motazedian, Vassar College

Andre Mount, Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam

Reinaldo Moya, Augsburg University, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Stephen Muir, University of Leeds, UK

Alana Murphy, CUNY Graduate Center/ RILM

Barbara Murphy, University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Estelle Murphy, Maynooth University, Ireland

Nancy Murphy, University of Houston

Scott Murphy, University of Kansas

Derek J. Myler, Eastman School of Music

Jessica Narum, Baldwin Wallace University

Meghan Naxer, Oregon State University

Jocelyn Neal, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dr. Lisa Neher, Portland, OR

Christoph Neidhöfer, McGill University

Trevor R. Nelson, Eastman School of Music–University of Rochester

Joshua Neumann, University of Florida

Bryce Newcomer, Xavier University

Neil Newton, Los Angeles, CA

Patrick Nickleson, Queen’s University

Demi Nicks, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Maggie Nicks, Florida State University

Jack Haig Nighan, Indiana University

Drew Nobile, University of Oregon

Shaugn O’Donnell, The City College, CUNY

William O’Hara, Gettysburg College

Russell O’Rourke, Columbia University

Jennifer Oates, Queens College, CUNY

Chelsea Oden, University of Oregon

Judith Ofcarcik, Fort Hays State University

Mitch Ohriner, University of Denver

Hideaki Onishi, Singapore

Dani Van Oort, University of North Texas

Jeremy Orosz, University of Memphis

David Orvek, Indiana University

Mariam Osman, Indiana University

Anna-Elena Pääkkölä, Åbo Akademi University, Finland

Kirsten Paige, Stanford University

Cora S. Palfy, Elon University

James Palmer, Vancouver, Canada

Hyeonjin Park, UCLA

Jinny Park, Indiana University

Sarah Parkin, London, UK

Laurel Parsons, University of Alberta

Daniel Partridge, Portland State University

Morgan Patrick, Northwestern University

Andrew Pau, Oberlin College & Conservatory

Robert D. Pearson, Emory University

William Pearson, DePauw University

Jacy Pedersen, University of Cincinnati

Julie Pedneault-Deslauriers, University of Ottawa

Crystal Peebles, Ithaca College

Nathan Pell, The Graduate Center, CUNY, and Mannes College

Rich Pellegrin, University of Florida

Anna C. Peloso, Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music

Naomi Perley, RILM

Becky Perry, Lawrence University

Jeffrey Perry, Louisiana State University

Lukas Perry, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester

Miriam Piilonen, Northwestern University

John R. Pippen, Colorado State University

Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey, University of Oxford

Ève Poudrier, University of British Columbia

Andrew S. Powell, Independent Scholar (University of Kansas alum)

Sarah Pozderac-Chenevey, Independent scholar, Akron, OH

Roxane Prevost, University of Ottawa

Simon Prosser, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Joel Puckett, Peabody Conservatory, Johns Hopkins University

Katherine Pukinskis, Amherst College

Michael Puri, University of Virginia

Steven Rahn, University of Texas at Austin

Richard Randall, Carnegie Mellon University

Jacob Reed, University of Chicago

S. Alexander Reed, Associate Professor, Ithaca College

John S. Reef, Nazareth College

Sam Reenan, Eastman School of Music

Alex Rehding, Harvard University

Molly Reid, Appalachian State University

Anne-Marie Reynolds, Juilliard School

Christopher Reynolds, UC Davis

Mark Richardson, East Carolina University

Melanie Richter-Montpetit, University of Sussex

Deborah Rifkin, Ithaca College

Steven Rings, University of Chicago

Marianna Ritchey, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Blake Ritchie, Rutgers University

S R I Rizvi, Sahibganj College Sahibganj Jharkhand India

Malia Jade Roberson, California State University, Channel Islands

Brian Robison, Northeastern University

Joti Rockwell, Pomona College

Stephen Rodgers, University of Oregon

Jillian C. Rogers, Indiana University

Lynne Rogers, Mannes School of Music at The New School

J. Griffith Rollefson, University College Cork

Jena Root, Youngstown State University (Ohio)

Adam Rosado, Iona College

Joshua Rosner, McGill University

Jade Roth, McGill University

Charles Roush, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Katrina Roush, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Toby W. Rush, University of Dayton

Declan Ryan, DePaul University School of Music

Eron F. S., Eastman School of Music

Olga Sanchez-Kisielewska, University of Chicago

Siavash Sabetrohani, University of Chicago

Alex Sallade, The Ohio State University

Mark Sallmen, University of Toronto

Frank Samarotto, Indiana University Bloomington

Lanier Sammons, California State University, Monterey Bay

Alexander Sanchez-Behar, Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Giorgio Sanguinetti, University of Rome \Tor Vergata\””

Matthew Leslie Santana, UC San Diego

Matthew C. Saunders, Lakeland Community College (Kirtland, Ohio)

Isaac Schankler, Cal Poly Pomona

Alexandria Schneider, University of Kansas

Katherine Schofield, King’s College London

Matthew D. M. Schullman, University of Oklahoma (Norman)

Scott Schumann, Central Michigan University

Emily Schwitzgebel, Northwestern University

Jo Collinson Scott, Reader in Music, University of the West of Scotland

Travis Scott, Xavier University of Louisiana

Tyler M. Secor, University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music

Chris Segall, University of Cincinnati

Marianne Segall, Mississauga, Ontario Canada

Kate Sekula, University of Science and Arts of Education

Ian Sewell, Columbia University

Kayla Shaeffer, Florida State University

Jennifer Shafer, University of Delaware

Daniel Shanahan, The Ohio State University

August A. Sheehy, Stony Brook University

Braxton D. Shelley, Harvard University

Joel T. Shelton, Elon University

Lauren Shepherd, Columbia University

Rachel Short, Shenandoah Conservatory

Tessa Shune, Chapman University

Abigail D. Shupe, Colorado State University

Max Silva, University of Chicago

Rebecca Simpson-Litke, University of Manitoba

Peter Sloan, UC San Diego

Jeremy W. Smith, University of Louisville

Kelli Smith-Biwer, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Sean R. Smither, The Juilliard School

Jennifer Snodgrass, Appalachian State University

Danielle Sofer, LGBTQ+ Music Study Group

Emma Soldaat, University of Toronto

Jason Solomon, Agnes Scott College

Jessica Sommer, Ball State University

Jonathan De Souza, University of Western Ontario

Stephen Spencer, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Mark Spicer, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY

Scott Spiegelberg, DePauw University

Martha Sprigge, University of California, Santa Barbara

Ron Squibbs, University of Connecticut

Jonathan Arthur Stallings, University of California San Diego

Anna Stephan-Robinson, West Liberty University

Bryan Stevens, University of North Texas

Daniel Stevens, University of Delaware

Joseph Stiefel, Indiana University

Philip Stoecker, Hofstra University

Nicholas Stoia, Duke University

Jordan Carmalt Stokes, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Chris Stover, Griffith University

Eva-Maria van Straaten, Georg-August University Göttingen, Germany

Jeremy Strachan, Queen’s University

Joseph Straus, CUNY Graduate Center

Ofir Stroh, Blair School of Music

Cara Stroud, Michigan State University

Greg Stuart, University of South Carolina

Jacob David Sudol, Florida International University

Rina Sugawara, University of Chicago

James Sullivan, Michigan State University

Peter M. Susser, Columbia University

Kaitlyn Swaim, University of North Texas

Kevin Swinden, Wilfrid Laurier University

Kelly Symons, Ottawa

Victor Szabo, Hampden-Sydney College

Lina Sofia Tabak, CUNY Graduate Center

Carlos Pérez Tabares, University of Michigan

Daphne Tan, University of Toronto

Ivan Tan, Brown University

Nicholas Ivan Tapia, St. Mary’s University (Music Education)

Jeremy Tatar, McGill University

Benjamin Tausig, SUNY Stony Brook

Ryan Taycher, Roosevelt University

Blake Taylor, University of Connecticut

Charles Taylor, University of New Orleans

Emma Taylor, The Hartt School at the University of Hartford

Timothy D. Taylor, UCLA

Wilfrido Terrazas, University of California, San Diego

Loretta Terrigno, The Juilliard School

Bryan Terry, McGill University

Florian Thalmann, Kyoto University

Midge Thomas, Connecticut College

Sean Emmett Thompson, Graduate in Music Composition, San Francisco State University

Alexis Millares Thomson, University of Toronto

Emmi Tinajero, University of North Texas

Sylvie Tran, University of Michigan

Emily Lamb Truell, Indiana University

Tobias Tschiedl, McGill University

Cynthia Johnston Turner, University of Georgia

Isabel Tweraser, Florida State University

Kristian Twombly, Chair, St Cloud State University

Elizabeth Randell Upton, UCLA

Steven Vande Moortele, University of Toronto

Stephanie Venturino, Eastman School of Music

Vivek Virani, University of North Texas

Samantha Waddell, Michigan State University

Ben Wadsworth, Kennesaw State University

Steve Waksman, Smith College

Kristen Wallentinsen, Rutgers University

Levi Walls, University of North Texas

Jordan Walsh, University of Texas at Austin

Anna, Yu Wang, Harvard University

Aleisha Ward, National Library of New Zealand

Evan Ware, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Lindsay Warrenburg, Boston, MA

Hannah Waterman, Stony Brook University

Laura Watson, Maynooth University, Ireland

Miriam Brack Webber, Bemidji State University

Katelin Webster, The Ohio State University

Joelle Welling, University of Calgary

Robert Wells, University of Mary Washington

Allison Wente, Elon University

Marianne Wheeldon, University of Texas at Austin

Andrew Malilay White, University of Chicago

Christopher White, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Anya Wilkening, Columbia University

Ann Marie Willer, (formerly) University of North Texas

Dr. Natalie Williams, (formerly) North Park University

Jeff Williams, Harvard University

Justin Williams, University of Bristol (UK)

Matthew Williams, University at Buffalo

Ruthie Williamson, Indiana University Kelley School of Business

Julianna Willson, Eastman School of Music

Lauren Wilson, Eastman School of Music

Elizabeth L. Wollman, Baruch College, CUNY

Chelsea N Wright, University of Oregon

Robert B. Wrigley, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Alice Xue, CUNY

Jessica Findley Yang, University of Tennessee – Knoxville

Rachel Yoder, DigiPen Institute of Technology

Michelle Yom, CUNY Graduate Center

Jeff Yunek, Kennesaw State University

Jason Yust, Boston University

Anna Zayaruznaya, Yale University

Emily Zazulia, University of California, Berkeley

Lawrence Zbikowski, University of Chicago Department of Music

Rosalind Zhang, Toronto

Shelley Zhang, University of Pennsylvania

Xieyi (Abby) Zhang, Georgia State University

Julie Zhu, Stanford University


  • Peter Owen says:

    The world is indeed fortunate to have so many musicologists. What do they actually do?

    • John Borstlap says:

      According to this post and the stunning list of names, many musicologists attempt to prevent understanding of master pieces of Western classical music, to support the struggle of diverse ethnicities for social justice. White people should be ashamed of themselves to have been born white and to descend from people who had the temerity to create great art without taking the suffering of diverse people into account.

      • Juan says:

        More like a bunch of bored, sexless, self-hating antagonists.

        They all need a good shag and a cocktail.

      • Irene says:

        I have sympathy for Mr. Borstlab who is deprived of the sense of beauty. I ‘m sure he would feel better if others had the same problem.

    • Jason Fingers says:

      Musicology is like maybe proctology, except for music.

  • christopher storey says:

    It is quite clear that anti-semitism is rife in the educational sector of the USA . Something will have to be done to weed it out, and dismissing these signatories from their posts would be a start

    • DeShaun Peters says:

      Jews need to treat others better around the world without their “chosen” complex for a start.

      • Nick says:

        Go on, DeShaun, we are counting: anti-Semite #1 – DeShaun Peters

        • #blm says:

          You’re just a RACIST Nick!!!!!

          No need to ENSLAVE the words of more black men.

        • LaShaunna Hope says:

          Jews desperately need to help communities of color (especially Black) with more outreach and be more systemically diverse.

          A good start would be moving into Black neighborhoods instead of being so afraid of your Black brothers and sisters.

          Send your children to schools with a more diverse student body.

          Open JCCs in Black neighborhoods. There ARE Black Jews you know.

          Open a Synagogue in every Black neighborhood to show appreciation and acceptance for people JUST LIKE YOU!

          Adjust hiring standards in order to INCLUDE more Black employees in order to culturally enrich your businesses.

          Be more open my Jewish friends.

          • Richard says:

            You seem to have forgotten that American Jews established and funded organizations such as the NAACP and the United Negro College Fund!

    • Richard Bloesch says:

      To encourage professors to be anti-racist does not mean that one is also encouraging them to be anti-semitic. I fail to understand the meaning of all these posts.

      Richard Bloesch

    • Harrumphrey says:

      If any of them had the slightest modicum of integrity they would all resign their parasitic posts. They are all fair game. Where are the protests calling for their fatuous departments to be defunded and their salaries distributed toward scholarships for the underprivileged?

  • We privatize your value says:

    Didn’t Grafton Thomas sign this letter as well? He’s an anti-Schenkerian too, that’s for sure!

  • Barbara says:

    This must be the most boring and most esoteric entry I have ever seen on the site.

  • annon says:

    -The collective brains of all the signatories couldn’t light a 1 watt bulb.

    -The collective minds of all the signatories couldn’t write a single melody worthy of Mozart.

    -If all the signatories never existed, the course of musical history/scholarship would not have changed one bit.

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      Oh, come on . . . there might be a student out there, somewhere, who is thankful to one of these people. They’re not storm troopers or ax murderers. Is what they do any worse than somebody who sits around and thinks of some new fragrance for your washroom, or annoying lots of people as a telemarketer?

      • MusicStudent1 says:

        I personally am extremely thankful for at least 3 of the people who have signed. One of which is actually a professor who teaches Schenkerian Analysis. (Oh my goodness, crazy right. Get over it.) Also just so people know, Schenkerian Analysis will still be a subject of study and will still be learned by many. Music programs won’t be getting rid of Schenker, or his style of analysis, instead explanding the scope of how it is looked at and taught. It is typically taught that all music he said was good, mainly only German, were masterworks and those that he didn’t weren’t, which is a ridiculous notion. Especially considering he only looked at music and composers through his personal and racial biases. It isn’t erasing Schenker or the pieces he deemed as “masterworks”, it is recognizing that there were myriads of other composers at the time who weren’t German that also created beautiful music.

    • Nick says:

      “…-If all the signatories never existed, the course of musical history/scholarship would not have changed one bit.”
      Sorry, annon, I respectfully disagree: we would have known much more about Music!!

  • Charles Clark-Maxwell says:

    It’s like the “Publish or be Damned” mantra of professors (both with+without tenure) also applies to signing half-baked petitions,

    I’m not the biggest fan of Schenker, but this whole thing is absurd.

  • John Borstlap says:

    I had to read this post twice, rubbing my eyes, believing I entered some ultradimension of reality.

    Of course Schenker was a brilliant musicologist, seeing something in the structure of the European musical tradition which would explain its greatness, or at least: would make the workings of musical structure understandable, much better so than the oldfashioned Rameau tradition of labelling chords and the interrelationships of cadences within the tonal framework. In spite of his limitations, he described the two- or threedimensional space of music, in fore-, middle- and background, an approach which is close to the hearing experience. (For composers, this structural idea is very helpful in case they have any talent.) Schenker thought that Brahms was the last really good composer and that everything following his work was flawed: Mahler, Strauss, Debussy, Stravinsky, etc. – which is nonsense of course. He once analysed the 1st mvt of Stravinsky’s neoclassical concerto for piano and winds, comparing it with ‘real Bach’ and thus ‘demonstrating’ that the Stravinsky piece was made-up mainly of mistakes. (In the process, he unintentionally showed what Stravinsky was actually doing.)

    Schenkerian analysis is a useful tool for musicological research and has nothing to do with ‘white supremacy’ and not even with Schenker’s own limitations. It is open to anybody, and is – like the music for which it was designed – entirely colourless.

    • Just another pesky musicologist says:

      Oh, John, dear John. Don’t you know that C major is the key of white supremacists, and A major is the cool key for all music education-less guitarists? Where have you been?

    • ibraim Soed says:

      Congrats, greatest comment, so far

  • Alviano says:


  • Nick says:

    It’s happening! Marxist fascists are here. All these so called “academe” are begging for slaughter. They are nothing but a herd of stupid sheep. Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Fidel, Lenin, Adorno, Markuse, Alinsky are turning in their graves, laughing their rotten guts out!

  • skrevash says:

    I assume these signatories have quit the SMT?

  • AngloGerman says:

    Completely idiotic… God help us in preserving our cultural heritage.

  • stanley cohen says:

    I am especially honoured to inform you that I have never heard of a single one of these signatories, Norman.

  • Herbie G says:

    Merely posting this garbage is itself inflammatory. Mark Twain said ‘Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.’ Why should sane and sensible contributors to this excellent forum demean themselves and waste their time debating such claptrap when there’s so much else about classical music to share with us?

    • M McAlpine says:

      Quite. ‘Don’t blame a clown for acting like a clown. Blame yourself for going to the circus!’

    • John Borstlap says:

      No, the meaning of this post is that it is signalling something of importance that is happening across the field: it is related to the wider attempt to dislodge classical music as a cultural genre from its position within the fabric of Western society and to push it as far as possible to the margins or, if possible, to make it disappear. Sources: populism, misunderstood multiculturalism and democracy, the pressure of numbers in an egalitarian society, serious flaws of general education, numbing of the senses by what the masses think constitutes of the ‘modern world’, IT, etc. etc. The erosion of literacy combined with the pressures of greater worries like climate change and now, the coronie, give wind to the forces who want to destroy Western culture in a misconceived attempt to improve it.

      It is like destroying the Louvre with its collections because it was paid for by the wrong people.

      • willy says:

        Yup, and it’s even bigger than that. It’s part of the larger effort to ensure that everyone is recognized as having equal abilities, that men and women are basically identical, that all cultures are equal. To hell with the individual or innovation. Participation trophies all around.

  • On a par with his comments about Beethoven. Surely someone is resisting these attacks? It would be interesting to gather opposing essays – or is no one speaking up?

    • John Cagliari says:

      If any artist/music teacher would take this guy seriously, they would speak up, but they obviously don’t. It’s honestly difficult to care about someone so blatant, at most they’ll have a laugh.

    • Minutewaltz says:

      I guess all the signatories were told “sign this or face the consequences of being ‘cancelled’”.

    • willy says:

      He who raises his hand will be next on their cancel list.

    • Thanks, NL, for more recently posting the convincing arguments against Ewell – as in the replies written by Timothy Jackson and Stephen Slottow in the Journal of Schenkerian Studies Volume 12. Good to see resistance at last.

  • KH says:

    It would be a much better use of funds for the universities listed here to support the early music education of black kids in their local communities, instead of employing these “musicologists” and paying for their “research”. University of Chicago (15 musicologists on this list, none of them black), I’m looking at you.

    • mary says:

      What on earth is the University of Chicago doing with 15 musicologists?!

      I suspect there is 1 straight up legit musicologist in the whole department, the rest are too ashamed to call themselves for what they are: jazz teacher, sax teacher, music appreciation adjunct part time lecturer…

      Philip Gosset was a real musicologist and did real work. The signatories here? Never, ever heard of them, never, ever will again. Not if their most read publication is this petition.

      • Stuart says:

        Philip Gossett. Yes, he was the real thing. His work on Verdi and especially Rossini was tremendous, as was his last book. I miss him. I remember being in his office after he returned from a trip to Italy. He had been researching the autograph score and sketches for Stiffelio. He showed me a melody sketched out for Stiffelio that eventually became Caro nome in Rigoletto. Quite a find.

      • Trouvé Laraciste says:

        Interesting you named music of black origin educators as not real musicologists. It’s almost like Ewell was right.

    • Back desk violinist says:

      KH – what an excellent idea, or perhaps to finance scholarships for talented black students to study music at the university…

    • William Safford says:

      Why do you feel that it is a zero-sum issue?

      • Joshua Clement Broyles says:

        Social privilege, in itself, is a zero-sum issue. For someone to be above, someone has to be below. That’s not the only way to look at the larger matter at hand. But persons to whom protecting their own social privilege is the most important aspect should be expected to treat this thing as a zero-sum issue.

    • Benyamin says:

      The signatories are largely graduate students, actually, whether from University of Chicago or elsewhere. Some of are even undergrads.

      • Joshua Clement Broyles says:

        So… largely people that the Schenkerians haven’t yet been able to completely weed out of the system? I guess if Schenkerians hadn’t already added all those undergrads to their secret black list, they’ve probably done that now. If those students do manage to finish their MA’s in spite of this, I can recommend working McDonald’s drive-thru like I did for 5 years after getting my MA. It will at least be much less an abuse of their time and talent than making a bunch of Schenker graphs.

  • John Humphreys says:

    Oh, here we go again – such virtue signalling! I wonder if this merry bunch of mediocrities ever listen to Wagner (and enjoy it) whilst sipping their mineral water or would that be a confession too far?

    • Harrumphrey says:

      Not just Wagner but Schumann and Chopin who were both quite outspoken anti-semites. Perhaps all these musichiatrists can put their pin-heads together and devise a “purity test” for artists. A series of virtue-hoops through which a historical figure must jump before being deemed immaculate and accepted into the woke canon. Everyone else must be canceled!

  • M McAlpine says:

    What worries me is if these people, who appear to have the combined IQ of a common flea, are actually employed in teaching impressionable young people. I would tend to call this abuse of the intellect.

  • E Rand says:

    A long list indeed, of total nobodies. I’m in the “biz” as they say, and I have heard of none of these people. Of course, history won’t even have a chance to remember them; they haven’t written a single word or note worth remembering. If indeed they have actually jobs at all, is because of the minds and life’s work of people they now despise.

    Its to the point where I lack for words anymore.

  • Karl says:

    Disturbing. I’m just going to cling to my Bible and guns then go out and vote for Trump.

    • E Rand says:

      all three would probably do you good in different ways. But, I don’t see the connection between this article and trump. I guess one would need acute TDS to see it.

  • John Porter says:

    Ewell would have been better off arguing for a broadening of analysis approaches at American conservatories. The problem with Schenker is that it was the dominant form of analysis offered for years and in many cases the only form of analysis offered. It does not apply to non-tonal music, thus limiting the repertoire and practice taught and developed in the conservatories, which in turn ignored other approaches that would be helpful, particularly with almost all the schools also having jazz and world music programs. At a minimum, things should be expanded to include the work of great minds like George Russell, not to mention Henry Cowell, Harry Partch, and I could go on with all the theoretical work published but ignored for years. I mean, for Pete’s sake, even the Mannes School has essentially moved away from Schenker and this is the very place that published the Five Graphic Analyses, where Weisse developed the curriculum, Salzer and Schachter wrote the books, and held the international conferences. And by the way, the graph tells you what the most important notes are? This is how Schenker is taught…The average student taking Schenkerian analysis finds it a total waste of time.

    • Alphonse says:

      When I studied at Mannes a decade ago (before they reversed course, overhauled everything, and moved downtown) l had the opportunity to study Schenkerian analysis under Schachter himself for two years (my third and fourth years of undergrad), and I can assure you that I did not find it to be “a total waste of time.” Quite the contrary.

    • Just another pesky musicologist says:

      Yes, as you note, it doesn’t apply to atonal comp. But then, how many AA composers have written atonal music?
      My PhD advisor (long ago) was one of the top-ranked theorists in the world, and he completely ignored Schenker. The method is too subjective, and fails to get at musical architecture and meaning. Another method of analysis is mathematical or computational: none of my students were ever interested in that, either.

  • Alank says:

    Spot on Commentary. The analogy is Stalinist self-criticism is quite apt. Maybe even worse since these idiots are performing cultural suicide in the absence of threat of the NKVD or KGB knocking on their door. Are westerners so decadent and devoid of respect for their own civilization that they will welcome the barbarians to slaughter them without question? It is almost unfathomable.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Interestingly, these ‘musicologists’ don’t need a totalitarian regime to arrive at a totalitarian party line, they are puffictly capable of organising themselves that way.

      When the barbarians from the east were invading the Roman Empire in the 5th century, often they were welcomed by the locals who were completely fed-up with the corruption and decadence of their own regime. It took some 1000 years to partly recover from that catastrophe.

  • patrick G says:

    Well I have never heard of any of these people. Who are they? What do they do actually?

    • E Rand says:

      they have done, and will do, nothing.

    • Harrumphrey says:

      They draw handsome salaries from effete institutions supported by the very alleged supremacy, privilege, and elitism they claim to oppose. Other than that, they mutually masturbate each other.

  • Jon Eiche says:

    Surely the offending Schenkerians should be shipped off to re-education camps! /s

  • Dimsky says:

    After all these years of analysis and research, it’s still called Music “Theory.”

  • Alec Bruegger says:

    Behold, ladies and gentlemen; the rot.

  • Counterpoint says:

    This cabal of signatories reminds me of a stock phrase of my old history teacher about 19th and 20th century intellectuals: ‘The intelligentsia, a nasty name for a nasty thing’.

  • Edgar Self says:

    I thought of Richard Taruskin and Fay denying he truth of Shostakovich’s music, and remembered that Furtwaengler, among others who knew something of music, found relevance in Schenkerian analysis. The rest is another teapot wind gust straining to whistle Dixie.

    Enough good comment to show we’re onto them, but no more clicks from me for this baited lure. Beneath the false tinsel still lies the real tinsel. That shameful litany of “experts” couldn’t analyze a south Indian raga or Cage’s one-part invention, another over-estimate of ability.

    then I recalled a similar yardstick: “All the economists laid end to end couldn’t reach a conclusion.” Or increase the world’s largesse by a bar of music, for this sterile lot.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Here is Cage’s invention:


      A research group of the Music Faculty of the Texas Institute of Technology wanted to dedicate a schenkerian project to this piece in 2008, but after ample quarrels among the musicologists as to which approach would be best – caused by the absence of an ‘Urlinie’ in the work and the ambiguity of the fore-, middle- and background of the empty spaces in the score – they decided, in the end, to take Cage’s 4’33” instead, which did not cause any controversity among the members.

      • DAVID says:

        One of the few instances in which the music in the ads on the YouTube video actually had more substance that the piece itself. I would imagine, though, that it could provide much fodder for a musicology conference. I wonder if these musicologists realize the degree to which they are making absolute fools of themselves within the musical community. The musical world is watching in disbelief the slow decay of a discipline that used to be respectable into a mere hodgepodge of postmodern and deconstructionist theories which, paradoxically, musicologists themselves know very little about, though fashionable it may be to insert them at every opportunity in one of their sterile conferences. Their graduate students, in turn, simply parrot these hackneyed talking points, arguing theories which they actually don’t even understand since they probably haven’t actually read the original sources in depth. This, of course, does not prevent them from arrogating themselves a sense of moral superiority and righteousness, when in fact they are nothing but the postmodern embodiment of the old fashioned mob. It is high time someone write a “hoax” paper à la Sokal Affair in a major musicology journal and denounce it afterwards in the press in order to expose the absolute sham this discipline has now become.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ah yes, Furtwangler, truly a paragon of the non-racist. If even this man, who has never ever ever ever been tied to racism, liked Schenker, then surely that venerates Schenker!


  • Alphonse says:

    Brain-dead, cowardly sheep- all of them. We are truly in the dark ages.

    • Le Křenek du jour says:

      These are not the Dark Ages. This is not even the beginning of the Dark Ages.

      This is merely the waning of the light.
      This is only the first onslaught of obscurity, the first inkling of a darkness which will fall upon us year by year unless, by a supreme recovery of intellectual integrity and moral courage, we arise again and take our stand for rational thought, logic, and critical inquiry.

      ——Duly acknowledging the paraphrase of excerpts from two of Churchill’s speeches, which you surely have recognised.

    • Nathaniel Rosen says:

      I wonder if they all individually signed on to this woke garbage.

  • sabrinensis says:

    They are musicologists so who really gives a shit?

  • BrianB says:

    Not since Stalin? Much closer in time than that. This is much closer to the Maoist Struggle Sessions of the cultural revolution. If Western music is “supremicist” and not inherently and demonstrably superior why is it (Beethoven a prime example) the only music of any culture that has been embraced and become popular and been found necessary to all cultures? It was not “imposed” on them but eagerly welcomed as in Japan when the gramophone society sets (Wolf, Beethoven, Mozart, etc.) woul nve have gotten off the ground without Japanese music lover subscriptions.
    As for Ewell, he is a prime example of Haggin’s Law: you can’t keep a bad man down. He is as much of a fraud and bunco artist as Robin DiAngelo.

  • Alexander Tarak says:

    Schenkerian Analysis is a fascinating tool when used for the “right”music. (Furtwängler himself was an admirer).
    There is, however, an in-built pro-germanic conceit about the system whereby any work that can’t be analysed using the system can’t qualify as a masterpiece.
    Gave up reading the list halfway through (life is too short).
    Sad to see someone from my former college is on the list.
    Glad to see he is someone I have never heard of.
    Ps:are all of these people faculty? (Some may be students enrolled on doctoral programs).

  • Jack says:

    In the middle of a pandemic what else is there to do? Sigh.

  • Joel Lazar says:

    I wonder if Theodore Adorno will be the next target?

  • Grittenhouse says:

    Let’s kick the academics out of music, and let musicians teach it. Schenker should be gotten rid off because his analytical reductions of music are ridiculous. That’s the reason, not his personal views. Everyone engaged in music theory is distorting music to make a point, and destroying it in the process. These are nerds who should be only on the sidelines. Music should only be taught by those who make it.

  • John Humphreys says:

    Structural analysis a waste of time. Serves no purpose other than to deny the spirit a look in and an acceptance of the miraculous and unfathomable. In short, a curse.

  • SVM says:

    There seem to be two distinct facets to the letter. First, the signatories are supporting an existing statement by the Executive Board of the Society for Music Theory, which condemns responses to Ewell in the /Journal of Schenkerian Studies/. Secondly, it proposes that the USA’s Society for Music Theory issue a public statement along certain lines.

    Regarding the existing statement by the Executive Board, it is difficult to evaluate its merit without reading the relevant responses to Ewell that are condemned, so I will refrain from comment (at this moment, I do not have the time to read the “100 pages” involved). But I find some of the Executive Board’s statement very troubling. Specifically, its definition of “professional misconduct” is too crude and too broad.

    One can disagree with a journal’s decision to publish
    “an anonymously authored contribution” and that the journal “did not invite Ewell to respond in a symposium of essays that discussed his own work”. But such actions are *not* “professional misconduct”.

    In fact, anonymity has a long and distinguished tradition in many genres of writing, including scholarly writing. Peer review in academic publishing is almost always done on a blind or double-blind basis, precisely so that reviewers can be candid without fear of reprisal. Use of anonymised data is an established procedure in the social sciences, precisely in order to enable data-subjects to be candid. There is no doubt that many academics in the anglophone world are vulnerable to persecution if they publish ideas that someone else decides to find offensive. Thus, at a time when even academics are vulnerable to being sacked for saying something that becomes controversial, it is perfectly reasonable for a scholarly journal’s editorial board to exercise the option to publish an anonymous contribution. Without reading the anonymous contribution in question, I cannot judge its merit, but I think it absurd to characterise publishing an anonymous article in a scholarly journal as /ipso facto/ “professional misconduct”.

    As for not inviting Ewell to respond to a set of essays criticising his work, that may be bad form, but it is certainly *not* “misconduct”. Many fora and symposia take place without the person whose ideas instigated the discussion, whether because said person was not invited, or because he/she was unable to come (which raises the question: does the Executive Board of the Society for Music Theory think it “misconduct” if a forum were held at a time and place such that the invitee is unlikely to accept? If, for instance, a university were to convene a forum to discuss the ideas of an external academic who lived in a completely different country and time-zone, would that be “misconduct”?). To argue that said person absolutely must be present is to conflate individuals and ideas, although I agree that giving the right of reply is a common courtesy and can help facilitate a balanced discussion.

    As for the second facet, regarding the proposed parameters for the public statement being demanded, I think there is *some* validity in the demand, although I would argue that a learned society should give some citations and reasoned argument to elucidate claims such as “American music theory is historically rooted in white supremacy”, rather than simply state them. But the priority must be to eliminate any racism in academia that persists today. For example, the Society for Music Theory should be considering whether it could play a greater role in supporting whistleblowers.

    • Tom says:

      An academic journal in the XXI century publishing an anonymous article is virtually unheard of. A pretty central principle of modern scholarly debate is the obligation to stand by your own words (and, when you can no longer do so, to disown them). Writing something anonymous indicates an inability to stand by your own words: if you’re not willing to stake your reputation on a statement by attaching your name to it, you ought not to publish it, at least not formally. So it is absolutely professional misconduct for journal editors in music theory to run an anonymous piece with no adequate explanation of why they believe it’s justified. How are we to know, for example, that this anonymous writer exists at all? How are we to know that the anon is not a prominent scholar in the field trying to disseminate an opinion he’s not willing to back up by attaching his name to it?

      Symposia in print very frequently include a final round-up by the person being symposed. At any rate, it is standard practice to invite them to respond–especially in a small field like music theory, and especially when the topic under discussion is one likely to cause controversy. The idea is to avoid even *the appearance* of a sneak-attack, which damages the credibility of the whole process. Publishing an inflammatory response to a widely admired paper without allowing the right of reply hurts the appearance of fairness within the field–and thus is also an act of professional misconduct.

      This is before we even get to the issue of peer review, which appears to have been handled in an extremely irregular manner with this issue. Several of the contributions would never have passed a normal peer review process–one of them is only a paragraph long. If the journal editors (Jackson and Slottow) circumvented ordinary peer review channels to advance their own agenda, while continuing to represent JSS as a peer-reviewed journal, they have harmed the credibility of the entire peer review process. This is a cornerstone of academic research, and any attack on it must be considered professional misconduct.

      • Music Professor says:

        On that contrary, it is very common for journals, book editors, and conference program committees in the field of music theory to provide a platform for scholars without any peer review whatsoever. Journals often publish symposia and editors invite authors to contribute chapters to books of essays without any peer review other than, at most, an editor’s unilateral discretionary oversight, if that. I can well imagine that the 2019 SMT plenary session that included Prof. Ewell’s paper, was not subject to the conference program committee’s anonymous review process but rather was simply assembled by inviting panelists without any peer-review process whatsoever. This sort of thing happens all the time in the field of music theory.

  • Nathaniel Rosen says:

    I prefer song without words to words without song.

  • Old Man in the Midwest says:

    If only Chairman Mao was alive.

    We would hang signs on the sinner, march him into the town square for a round of village taunting, and then send him to the country side to break rocks.

    When rehabilitated he can continue to 3-2-1 or sing Three Blind Mice.

  • Tom says:

    If you people had actually read the letter, you’d see that it’s written in protest of the symposium in the Journal of Schenkerian Studies, which was handled extremely irregularly and included some vile content that has no business appearing in an academic journal. (Not to mention the responses were utterly lacking in substance.) Nothing in the letter is about “kicking Schenker out of musicology.” This is an internal discussion among music theorists about how to treat each other, and it’s clear the majority of the profession agrees that making racist remarks and baselessly accusing people of antisemitism is not appropriate.

  • so you’re not a music theorist, but would rather dabble in white supremacy…good to know. Thanks. I’ll make sure to avoid you from here on out.

  • William Safford says:

    Many of the nattering nabobs of negativism in the Slipped Disc right wing discussion mafia, have showed us their true colors: anti-Black, anti-diversity, anti-anything that makes them think outside the box.

    Unlike many of the people who have posted to this discussion, I am in the process of reading and perusing the relevant documents, to learn more of the facts so that I may have informed opinions based thereon.

    Also, unlike many of the people who have posted to this discussion, as they have made clear by their own words, I actually know several of the people on the list. I studied with at least one of them, I am friends with at least one, and I own and have studied textbooks by at least one of them.

    I note that a number of people attempt to be dismissive of the signatories, while simultaneously acknowledging that they have never met any of them.


    I may post more, once I inform myself in more detail about this topic. I’ll observe that many of the posters have jumped to conclusions, based on their personal biases more than what was actually written.

    • Michael says:

      I just do not support witch-hunting. A person should not be career-attacked for a journal rebuttal. I think the whole mess is a stink bait routine and I see the offended professor featured at a rap conference titled “Friends or Enemies.” In my opinion, that sort of binary territoriality is just a bunch of low crap. It is like prison logic. I think the students at North Texas are being defrauded by this cause-mess invading their place of study. If you think a university is supposed to be an ideology war zone, you have a pretty shallow? concept of what is required for difficult study. Anyway, intellectual diversity is a good thing. This witch hunting is as obnoxious and arrogant as rap-attack lyrics. I might feel differently if the girl who lived across the street from me was not made to kneel and be executed by a drug crazed urban hero. Cut the crap William and figure out something productive to do with yourself instead of harassing “the lives of others.”

      Good riddance. I wouldn’t study with you. Well maybe I would if you published interesting observational scholarship.

      • William Safford says:

        Interesting. I call out people for attacking others instead of discussing the issues, and your response is to attack me.

        Got it.

        Note the words that you use: “prison logic,” “drug-crazed urban hero,” etc. I’m halfway to Dog Whistle Bingo. Do you even realize that you are utilizing such loaded language, or was it intentional?

        FWIW, you won’t study music theory with me, unless you want to study at a high school or college freshman level, because I’m not a music theorist. *shrug*

        N.B. In the abstract, I agree with you that people in academia can be vicious at times in their attacks on others. Think no further than Pierre Boulez for such an offender–albeit not in this context (at least as far as I’m aware).

        That said, I haven’t yet listened to Mr. Ewell’s lecture, but I just skimmed several of Mr. Ewell’s posts to his blog. I do not see any of the vituperation in those writings that has been directed at him by others. Hmmm….

        • Harrumphrey says:

          No, you didn’t get it. You failed to comprehend one word he said. Michael did not attack you; he attacked your sophomoric and empty ideas, but you lack the powers of comprehension to recognize the difference.

          • William Safford says:

            Oh, I saw right through his racist dog whistles to the underlying attack.

            Just as all those dozens of abovelisted professors saw through the dog whistles and worse against Professor Ewell.

    • Tom says:

      The people here claiming never to have heard of any of these signatories are showing their own ignorance. This list is very nearly everybody in the field in North America, including several very prominent, prolific, and respected scholars (including many Schenker experts!).

      By contrast, the two organizers of the JSS symposium are obscure, obviously embittered reactionaries whose contributions to the field thus far have been incredibly narrow in scope. The other contributors to the symposium are half-senile retirees who, evidently, can no longer string together a coherent piece of writing longer than a page or two. It’s embarrassing for anybody genuinely interested in Schenkerian theory and analysis: politics aside, the academic standards of this symposium were insultingly low.

      • Harrumphrey says:

        They are nothing but parasites. If they all disappeared, it would mean little or nothing to most people who actually love music and know what it is.

  • Alla says:

    I used to teach a music literature and piano in the Soviet Union. All Russian famous composers, including Rimskiy-Korsakov, Musorgskiy, Borodin, were Russian nationalists and definitely antisemites. They hated Rubenstein brothers. Everybody knows about it. Do you recommend stop performing Their opuses? Common! Stupid! Stop it!

  • Guest says:

    That all they can comprehend about Schengen! It’s too difficult and you have to be really highly professional but o go with that theory. … time we live in…

  • Mark says:

    Yet again the muddle-headed horde of the worthless college professors is laboring under the tragic misapprehension that someone cares about its/their opinions …

  • Guest says:

    Sorry, Schenker (autocorrector was drank!)

  • Dave says:

    How long will it take before these people wish to remove Richard Wagner’s music from being performed?

  • Michael says:

    What a plague how education and bullying go together.

  • I vowed to never post any comment on this despicable website of yours, Mr Lebrecht, but since you quote my name on the list of signees to the open letter (which is far from complete, mind you), I feel at least inclined to correct your headline—which contains two serious factual errors in just eight words:

    (1) This whole debate is not taking place in musicology, which is a different discipline. Mr Ewell, as well as the respondents to his article, is a music theorist.

    (2) Nobody has demanded to ‘kick Schenker out’ of anything. In fact, Ewell proposed to keep on teaching Schenkerian analysis, but to “present his work in full view of his racist beliefs”. That’s a fundamental difference to what’s being claimed in your misleading headline.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Wendelin Bitzan, 38, ‘teaches music theory at German universities, occasionally performs in public as a pianist, passionately talks and writes about music, and resides in Berlin with his family’. Not too despicable.

      • Harrumphrey says:

        Bitzan sounds like someone who has benefitted greatly his entire career from white privilege and classism at the expense and oppression of those under the thumb of the elite to which he belongs. I say he must be canceled!

  • Clevelander says:

    Wow, using a critical framework to denounce a rationalist one! Impressive. Takes a lot of work, that, given that critical theories base themselves off assuming rationalism and rationalistic frameworks to be inherently hegemonic.

    • Joshua Clement Broyles says:

      Rationalist frameworks at least become hegemonic when they are used anti-empirically, which is how Schenkerian theory is being used. And one need not subscribe to critical theory in order to oppose anti-empiricism.

  • Mintas Lanxor says:

    Let us assume that Albert Einstein was a black racist, as so many Germans and people around the world were in his day. Would his theories be less valuable because of that and should we have “canceled” them for that reason? I’m sure most astrophysicists don’t think so. He had redeemed himself by his epochal findings about the operation of physical laws in the universe and thus made a lasting contribution to mankind as a whole.

    However, I don’t have to go by assumptions about Einstein to prove my point. We can list a number of important artists and philosophers who were true antisemites (i.e., racists) and still continue to recognize their invaluable contributions to the Western and world culture: Wagner, Richard Strauss, Ezra Pound, Kant, Hume, Voltaire, Heidegger, or (possibly) Shakespeare. They too have redeemed themselves by their universally-acclaimed accomplishments. Still, it is advisable to mention their antisemitic or other racists views in the context of their biography and personality so that we don’t idolize these individuals as somehow angelic and superhuman.

    Ewell’s attack on Schenker can be excellently interpreted by the following abstract from Daniel Farber and Suzanna Sherry’s book Is the Radical Critique of Merit Antisemitic?

    “Conventional concepts of merit are under attack by some Critical Legal Scholars, Critical Race Theorists, and radical feminists. These critics contend that “merit” is only a social construct designed to maintain the power of dominant groups. This Article challenges the reductionist view that merit has no meaning except as a tool for those in power to perpetuate the existing social order. The authors observe that certain traditionally oppressed groups, most notably Jews and Asian Americans, are disproportionately represented in some desirable economic and educational positions. They have in that sense “succeeded” beyond the supposedly dominant majority. The economic and educational accomplishments of these groups are hard to reconcile with the notion that “merit” exists solely to perpetuate the power of the dominant majority (white Gentiles). Because the radical critique of merit denies that the accomplishments of these minority groups can be explained by genuine merit, it necessarily implies that these groups have obtained an unfair proportion of desirable social goods. Therefore, the authors suggest, the radical critique of merit has the wholly unintended consequence of being anti-Semitic and possibly racist. The Article concludes that the radical critique equates merit with raw power and approaches moral relativism. The authors call for continued scrutiny and improvement (rather than wholesale repudiation) of current conceptions of merit.”

    • Harrumphrey says:

      We should go back and start with Newton (who was clearly a horrible person) and cancel gravity and thermodynamics. These evil forces continue to oppress millions of people who wish to fly but are chained to the ground because of that abominable man’s theories!

  • Hugh Jardon says:

    Some people are so buttt hurting that “whites” have dominated since the 17th century, get over it and try to dominate. Man-up, try to be dominant. No? You’re too weak and ignorant? Too bad for you.

  • Harrumphrey says:

    Goodness, just look at the sheer number of musichiatrists who enjoy cosy sinecures at all these elitist white institutions, drawing no doubt handsome salaries for their ostensible furtherance of an academic field created and sustained by white European privilege. It is to gasp! Even the “musicology” of rap/hiphop is forcing a plebian entertainment form into an elitist context by elevating it to the realm of academic study, therefore obliterating all pretense of whatever misguided iconoclasm and pedestal-bashing motivates these mooncalves in the first place. Every one of the nimrods on this list needs a remedial course in logic. How many of them, I wonder, have challenged their colleagues in the pseudo-field of musicology to resign their lucrative and parasitic posts which (according to their own rhetoric) are propped up by a pernicious tradition of colonialism, imperialism, white supremacy, exploitation of those they have oppressed, et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam…?

  • Harrumphrey says:

    An exhaustive list of contrabuffoons.

  • Vadim Serebryany says:

    This story, which I have been following for a couple of weeks, made me very sad. The description here isn’t fair minded (I say that as someone who disagrees passionately with Ewell). But the comments on this site are orders of magnitude more depressing than this already depressing story.
    People who clearly know absolutely nothing about music theory, either as subject matter or academic discipline, making snarky comments about the “fame” of the people signing the SMT letter? Seriously? Or suggesting that theory is silly or irrelevant? How embarrassing and pathetic. Shame on all of you.
    There are serious issues here, academic freedom being first and foremost among them.
    Ewell, even though I believe he is wrong, raises some interesting and important questions. Several of the responses to him in the JSS were very thoughtful and interesting. Others were shockingly bad and embarrassing. Get a fucking clue!

    • Mintas Lanxor says:

      I agree with you that “people who clearly know absolutely nothing about music theory, either as subject matter or academic discipline, (should not be) making snarky comments about the “fame” of the people signing the SMT letter”. However, an accusation could also be made that most of the musicologists that signed the letter know very little about the musical heritage of cultures and ethnicities other than Western and thus lack the perspective about the relative value of non-Western music traditions. I also agree with those commenters who believe that the letter was signed by many as a gesture of fashionable symbolic solidarity or even PC pressure rather than as a result of a reasoned and expertise-based conviction.

  • Joshua Clement Broyles says:

    I don’t think Schenker’s theoretical work should be critically dismantled because he was a racist; I think Schenker’s theoretical work should be critically dismantled because Schenker was a charlatan. I also think academic Schenkerism should be shut down because Schenkerians are charlatans, but shutting them down because they are racists also works for me, since they are also racists. If Shenkerians are not racists, then why do they think that anti-racism proposals are an attack on Schenkerism? (Seriously, just think about that for a minute.) As for cancel culture, holding con artists, even con artists who may believe their own con, accountable for their con is not cancel culture; it’s the bare minimum of intellectual rigor. If anything is cancel culture, Schenkerian culture is cancel culture. My Schenker professor canceled me 20 years ago in order to protect Schenkerism from scientific critique. Please feel free to ask William Benjamin why his name appears neither as denouncing Jackson’s statements nor defending them. He won’t explain but I will. The explanation is that he’s a coward. Tell him I said so. What’s he going to do? Cancel me again?

  • Joshua Clement Broyles says:

    The Schenker Archive has now been SANITIZED. “Exterminate” is now translated as “get rid of”. No joke. https://schenkerdocumentsonline.org/documents/correspondence/OJ-5-7a_46.html

  • Vincent Oneppo says:

    50 years ago, introduced to Schenkerian analysis as an undergraduate, I was tempted to devote my career to music theory. But instead, I concentrated on performance. Boy, did I make the right decision. Not because of any faults on The Theory but because of this kind of academic infighting and pressure.

    • Joshua Clement Broyles says:

      The problem isn’t the infighting. The problem is that, until now the infighting has been totally unproductive because it has not been made to seem relevant to society at large. It’s like no one cares whether something is BS until it’s also understood to be racist BS. Fine. That works for me, too. Pick your reason to care.

  • ekati1965 says:

    I don’t care about mad “musicologists”. I love Beethoven and any statement that tries to cancel it are racist themselves! I don’t try to cancel your hip-hop that I don’t find interesting for me. You are those who try to cancel my favorite music.