Music theory

Teenage Dream, Toddler-Imposed Nightmare

I want to start writing regularly about songs (or parts of songs) that have intrigued me, inspired me, or that have driven me crazy. The first song I’d like to discuss, as you might’ve guessed, is Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” Our daughter Trudy was born in 2013. As academics are wont to do, we thoroughly prepared and researched our impending project (parenthood), only to find out that things were entirely different in the real world.

In Defense of Music Theory

A few weeks ago, one of my graduate students emailed me a link to an article published on Slate.com. “How Can Traditional Music Theory Mesh With Modern Pop Music?” purports that music theory, as it’s taught in university music programs across North America, “serves practicing musicians pretty poorly.” The author, NYU graduate student Ethan Hein, proposes that music theory pedagogy should recast its mission and objectives to better suit the needs of today’s musicians, who are more interested in popular music than repertoire drawn from the common practice.