‘Let’s kick that racist Schenker out of musicology’main
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:
- 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 (R√©pertoire International de Litt√©rature 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 P√©rez Ben√≠tez, 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 D√ºsseldorf, Germany
Nicolas Bizub, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
Damian Bl√§ttler, 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‚Äôs 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 (R√©pertoire International de Litt√©rature 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 Kr√§mer, 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‚Äôs 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
√àve 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 G√∂ttingen, 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 P√©rez 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
The world is indeed fortunate to have so many musicologists. What do they actually do?
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.
More like a bunch of bored, sexless, self-hating antagonists.
They all need a good shag and a cocktail.
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.
Musicology is like maybe proctology, except for music.
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
Jews need to treat others better around the world without their “chosen” complex for a start.
Go on, DeShaun, we are counting: anti-Semite #1 – DeShaun Peters
You’re just a RACIST Nick!!!!!
No need to ENSLAVE the words of more black men.
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.
You seem to have forgotten that American Jews established and funded organizations such as the NAACP and the United Negro College Fund!
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.
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?
Didn’t Grafton Thomas sign this letter as well? He’s an anti-Schenkerian too, that’s for sure!
I singed it too and I am a Schenkerian. Ewell’s comments are welcome and timely.
This must be the most boring and most esoteric entry I have ever seen on the site.
The swamp fox from Goodwill, La. would be a better man to study at UNT. Let’s have a journal of Tony Joe White studies. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2Yt1khnbKI
It’s not boring for those whose livelihoods are being threatened in the name of social justice.
-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.
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?
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.
“…-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!!
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.
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.
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?
Congrats, greatest comment, so far
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!
I assume these signatories have quit the SMT?
Completely idiotic… God help us in preserving our cultural heritage.
I am especially honoured to inform you that I have never heard of a single one of these signatories, Norman.
Kudos, Stanley. I’m thoroughly ashamed to say I have (heard of). But only two of them.
Relegated to the shadows by Jewish conspiracy, perhaps . . .
Come back in 10 years and check the list again. You’ll find that you still haven’t heard of anyone.
you’re right, willy!!
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?
Quite. ‘Don’t blame a clown for acting like a clown. Blame yourself for going to the circus!’
“Les cons, ça ose tout. C’est même à ça qu’on les reconnaît.”
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.
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?
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.
I guess all the signatories were told “sign this or face the consequences of being ‘cancelled’”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Interesting you named music of black origin educators as not real musicologists. It’s almost like Ewell was right.
KH – what an excellent idea, or perhaps to finance scholarships for talented black students to study music at the university…
Why do you feel that it is a zero-sum issue?
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.
The signatories are largely graduate students, actually, whether from University of Chicago or elsewhere. Some of are even undergrads.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
If you’re in the business, then you should recognize at least several of those names.
Disturbing. I’m just going to cling to my Bible and guns then go out and vote for Trump.
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.
Everything is connected. If you look hard enough.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Well I have never heard of any of these people. Who are they? What do they do actually?
they have done, and will do, nothing.
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.
Surely the offending Schenkerians should be shipped off to re-education camps! /s
After all these years of analysis and research, it’s still called Music “Theory.”
Behold, ladies and gentlemen; the rot.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Brain-dead, cowardly sheep- all of them. We are truly in the dark ages.
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.
I wonder if they all individually signed on to this woke garbage.
They are musicologists so who really gives a shit?
Nobody who has any real involvement with music.
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.
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).
A tool for what, exactly? How are YOU using it?
In the middle of a pandemic what else is there to do? Sigh.
I wonder if Theodore Adorno will be the next target?
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.
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.
Complete and utter twaddle.
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.
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.
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.
I prefer song without words to words without song.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Interesting. I call out people for attacking others instead of discussing the issues, and your response is to attack me.
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….
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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…
Yet again the muddle-headed horde of the worthless college professors is laboring under the tragic misapprehension that someone cares about its/their opinions …
Sorry, Schenker (autocorrector was drank!)
How long will it take before these people wish to remove Richard Wagner’s music from being performed?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.”
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!
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.
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…?
An exhaustive list of contrabuffoons.
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!
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.
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?
So many words and no specific examples of Schenker’s “charlatanism”. Very unconvincing, bud.
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
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.
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.
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.