10 episodes

SMT-V is a peer-reviewed video journal showcasing original research in music theory.

SMT-V SMT-V

    • Music
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

SMT-V is a peer-reviewed video journal showcasing original research in music theory.

    • video
    SMT-V 5.3 Joshua Banks Mailman, "Babbitt’s Beguiling Surfaces, Improvised Inside; Part III: Opportunities"

    SMT-V 5.3 Joshua Banks Mailman, "Babbitt’s Beguiling Surfaces, Improvised Inside; Part III: Opportunities"

    Babbitt’s relatively early composition _Semi-Simple Variations_ (1956) presents intriguing surface patterns that are not determined by its pre-compositional plan, but rather result from subsequent “improvised” decisions that are strategic. This video (the third of a three-part video essay) considers Babbitt’s own conversational pronouncements (in radio interviews) together with some particulars of his life-long musical activities, that together suggest uncanny affiliations to jazz improvisation. As a result of Babbitt’s creative reconceptualizing of planning and spontaneity in music, his pre-compositional structures (partial orderings) fit in an unexpected way into (or reformulate) the ecosystem relating music composition to the physical means of its performance.

    • 16 min
    • video
    SMT-V 5.2 Joshua Banks Mailman, "Babbitt’s Beguiling Surfaces, Improvised Inside; Part II: Diversities"

    SMT-V 5.2 Joshua Banks Mailman, "Babbitt’s Beguiling Surfaces, Improvised Inside; Part II: Diversities"

    Babbitt’s pre-compositional structures (partial orderings) serve as a series of game-like rules affecting the composition of surface details we hear. Especially in Babbitt’s late works (post-1980) these partial ordering rules vary drastically in terms of how much freedom they allow. This variance can be modeled mathematically (a computational formula is explained and visualized). This video (the second of a three-part video essay) reveals, in an excerpt from Babbitt’s 1987 sax and piano work _Whirled Series_, an intricate web of referential details (serial and tonal) that are improvised from the trillions of possibilities enabled by its background structure (partial ordering). The advantages of this peculiar improvisatory compositional situation in which Babbitt places himself are compared to visual art, chord-based bebop jazz improvisation, and to current ethics-infused philosophies of improvisation.

    • 19 min
    • video
    SMT-V 5.1 Joshua Banks Mailman, “Babbitt’s Beguiling Surfaces, Improvised Inside; Part I: Freedoms"

    SMT-V 5.1 Joshua Banks Mailman, “Babbitt’s Beguiling Surfaces, Improvised Inside; Part I: Freedoms"

    Milton Babbitt has been a controversial and iconic figure, which has indirectly led to fallacious assumptions about how his music is made, and therefore to fundamental misconceptions about how it might be heard and appreciated. This video (the first of a three-part video essay) reconsiders his music in light of both his personal traits and a more precise examination of the constraints and freedoms entailed by his unusual and often misunderstood compositional practices, which are based inherently on partial ordering (as well as pitch repetition), which enables a surprising amount of freedom to compose the surface details we hear. The opening of Babbitt’s _Composition for Four Instruments_ (1948) and three recompositions (based on re-ordering of pitches) demonstrate the freedoms intrinsic to partial ordering.

    • 10 min
    • video
    SMT-V 4.3 Carmel Raz, "Anne Young's Introduction to Music (1803)_ Pedagogical, Speculative, and Ludic Music Theory"

    SMT-V 4.3 Carmel Raz, "Anne Young's Introduction to Music (1803)_ Pedagogical, Speculative, and Ludic Music Theory"

    Though ostensibly designed to explain a set of pedagogical games geared toward children, An Introduction to Music (1803)—a treatise by the Scottish music theorist Anne Young (1756-1827)—advances some intriguing ideas that touch on advanced music theoretic concepts. This video explores these concepts, along with impact of the author's gender on the nature and reception of her treatise.

    (Lan Li, filmography; Eva Schulze, harpsichord)

    • 12 min
    • video
    MT-V 4.1- Christopher Doll, “Was it Diegetic, or Just a Dream? Music's Paradoxical Place in the Film Inception"

    MT-V 4.1- Christopher Doll, “Was it Diegetic, or Just a Dream? Music's Paradoxical Place in the Film Inception"

    Between "diegetic" film music (heard by the characters) and "nondiegetic" film music (heard only by the audience) is a paradoxical space called the "fantastical gap." A film such as Inception (2010) makes traversal of this gap into an overt theme, obscuring our sense of place to such a degree that even the literal plot of the movie is open to interpretation, and thus also illustrating the extent to which filmmakers can manipulate an audience's understanding of the filmic world through the blurring of the diegetic/nondiegetic divide.

    • 14 min
    • video
    SMTV 3.3. Stephen Rodgers, "Music, Poetry, and Performance in a Song by Maria Schneider"

    SMTV 3.3. Stephen Rodgers, "Music, Poetry, and Performance in a Song by Maria Schneider"

    In this video I explore the way song composers respond not just to the meanings of words but also to their sounds. Using a song from Maria Schneider’s 2013 song cycle Winter Morning Walks as a case study, I consider how a particular performance of a song and a particular performance of a poem can heighten our awareness of the connections between music and the materiality of poetry.

    • 18 min

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