September 14-15, 2017

This symposium explores strategies for externalizing and regulating an entraining agent: first the invention of clocks, later the metronome, and now click tracks in recordings and live concerts. The symposium supports a research project that builds on recent cognitive studies, exploring the historical and technological motivations for "playing in time," and assessing their impact on our collective engagement with music as a temporal art. Initially the project will focus on musicians and studio producers, but then on the experiences of average listeners and their awareness and appreciation of the human-technology interface.



Thursday, September 14, 2017

Lecture: “The Numerical Mediation of Tempo” (Download the event summary)

Roger Mathew Grant

Assistant Professor of Music, Wesleyan University

3:30-5:00 PM, Dodson Room, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (FREE)

This talk narrates the many vexed efforts to find a universal numeric language for tempo during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Composers, theorists, and performing musicians during this period began to express a deep anxiety about their ability to communicate and record the phenomenon of musical tempo. They also endeavored to distinguish tempo from the concept of meter, with which it had once been tightly associated. This talk elaborates the fate of tempo notation after its conceptual divorce from meter during a period that saw a great expansion in the distribution of printed music. It establishes how—through a novel use of numerical measure and machinery—a device associated with Johann Maelzel was able to capture the attention of the entire European musical world. Using number to regulate and generate musical tempo and feeling, the metronome occupied a curious place in the artistic imaginary—one it continues to hold in the present day. The talk will close with a consideration of the aesthetic afterlife of the metronome, a device that continues to intrigue and haunt us.

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About Dr. Roger Grant

Dr. Grant is an expert in eighteenth-century music, the history of music theory, Enlightenment aesthetics, early modern science, and theories of the affects and the passions. His journal articles have appeared in Critical InquiryMusic Theory SpectrumEighteenth-Century Music, and the Journal of Music Theory. His first book, Beating Time and Measuring Music in the Early Modern Era, was published in the Oxford Studies in Music Theory series by Oxford University Press (2014) and won the Emerging Scholar Award from the Society for Music Theory. Dr. Grant is a former junior fellow of the University of Michigan Society of Fellows, and earned his PhD in music from the University of Pennsylvania.


Friday, September 15, 2017

Lecture-Demonstration: “Who Grooves to What? Differences in Guitarists’ and Drummers’ Metric Entrainment”

Dr. Brad Osborn

Assistant Professor of Music Theory, University of Kansas

3:30-5:00 PM, Gessler Hall, Room 116, Music Building (FREE)

Long considered the rhythmic backbone of the group, the drummer often has less flexibility in metric interpretation than other players. Because of standard rock drumming practice, which entails playing the fastest subdivision on the hi-hat or ride cymbal, drummers are virtually forced to entrain with the fastest metric level available. This is, however, unnecessary for guitarists, who usually provide slower melodic or harmonic layers. To test this difference in levels, a guitarist and I recorded a metrically complex groove (Radiohead’s “15 Step”) several times while entraining to various metronome settings. These five distinct metronomic stimuli emphasized either the quickest subdivision, the slower odd-cardinality beats, the maximally even hyperbeats, or some combination of these. In this presentation, I will share the video footage from these performances and reflect on how the various metronome settings affected rhythmic accuracy for both the drummer and the guitarist. I will also discuss some implications for metric theory that follow from these observations. 

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About Dr. Brad Osborn

Brad Osborn is Assistant Professor of music theory at the University of Kansas. He is the author of the monograph Everything in its Right Place: Analyzing Radiohead (Oxford University Press, 2016). Adapting a psychology-based approach known as ecological perception, the book demonstrates how Radiohead’s music means what it does to listeners with varying degrees of prior experiences in common practice tonal music and post-millennial rock. Dr. Osborn has also published articles on Radiohead and other recent rock music in Music Theory SpectrumPerspectives of New MusicMusic AnalysisMusic Theory OnlineGamut, and in several edited collections. He writes and records atmospheric rock music under the artist moniker, D’Archipelago.


Lecture-Demonstration by DJ Miss M (Download the event summary)

7:30-9:30 PM, Barnett Hall, Music Building (FREE)

Audience members will be granted hands-on access to various DJ technologies (LP, CD, computer software), followed by a short set by DJ Miss M.


About DJ Miss M

DJ Miss M has proven to be one of the busiest open-format female DJ’s in the world. NYC’s 2012 Global Spin Awards Winner for International DJ of the Year, she beat out other DJs in her category including world renowned Deadmau5; World 3Style Redbull Champ, Hedspin; and World DMC Champ, Vekked. She is also a Dinah Shore Battle DJ Winner, as well as a three-time Toronto Stylus Award Nominee for “Central DJ of the Year” and “Best Female DJ of the Year.”

Miss M is also a world famous Monster DJ with members including Chris Brown’s official DJ BabeyDrew, QBert, Paul Mendez, Skribbles, Big Tigger, and many more. She is heard in 100+ countries with her “Beeps in Your Jeep” mixshow playing daily on a variety of different FM and online stations. Whether it is in the club, on the radio, or online, Miss M can rock a crowd in any genre of music.



SYMPOSIUM 3: "Microtiming"

March 5-9, 2018

A perennial challenge facing scholars of performance analysis is to find ways to conceptualize and analyze the rich reality of a skilled listener's embodied experience. This symposium explores the relationship among microtiming (millisecond-level variations in the duration of conceptually equal rhythmic units), the embodied experience of musical motion, and the representation of rhythmic experience through verbal and visual abstractions. Dodson brings ideas from recent phenomenological and empirical theories of meter to bear on the interpretation of microtiming data and is developing a new type of analytical animation. This work will benefit from engagement with the ethnographic, cognitive, and historical perspectives explored in the other two symposia, and a close encounter with the work of scholars at the leading edge of computational performance analysis and performance science.


To be announced. Confirmed speakers:

Dr. Werner Goebl (Associate Professor, Music Acoustics, University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna) leads a project on rhythmic coordination in ensemble performance, partnering with the Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence. The project uses motion-capture and eye-tracking technology to examine how musicians coordinate when playing rhythmically ambiguous passages. In earlier projects he developed the "performance worm," a novel analytical animation that represents microtiming and loudness as a succession of overlapping discs moving in a two-dimensional plane.

Dr. Olivier Senn (Professor, Musicology, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, and Director of the Music Performance Studies Research Group) helped develop the most sophisticated tool currently available for microtiming analysis, the Lucerne Audio Recording Analyzer (LARA). His recent analytical projects have included empirical and perceptual studies on both classical and jazz recordings.
Dr. Richard Beaudoin (Visiting Research Fellow, Composition, Royal Academy of Music, London) has developed, in collaboration with Senn, a new compositional method that uses microtiming analyses generated by LARA as a resource for his composition, which have been performed at prestigious venues including London's Royal Festival Hall. He has taught music theory at Harvard University among other institutions, and published in leading scholarly journals. As a composer, Beaudoin offers a unique, artistic perspective on the relationship between microtiming and musical experience.