Season 2, Episode 3
Music theory has long been a space in which white male scholars analyze music by white male composers. But many music theorists are actively trying to change that, and our guest today, Professor Ellie Hisama, is foremost among them. In this conversation, we discuss her pioneering work on women modernist composers; diversifying the music theory classroom; her recent scholarship on gender discrimination in music theory, including sexist and homophobic comments made by Milton Babbitt; and a lot more.
Ellie Hisama is Professor of Music, Music Theory and Historical Musicology at Columbia University.
If you’re interested in learning more about Professor Hisama’s work, check out:
- The 2021 article “Getting to Count,” in Music Theory Spectrum
- The book Gendering Musical Modernism: The Music of Ruth Crawford, Marion Bauer, and Miriam Gideon
- The article “Considering Race and Ethnicity in the Music Theory Classroom”
- The symposium Unsung Stories: Women at Columbia’s Computer Music Center (The symposium is happening online this weekend, April 9–10!). Unsung Stories also has its own podcast.
- The project For the Daughters of Harlem: Working in Sound
- The article “Geri Allen and the ‘Whole Feeling of the Connection,'” in Jazz & Culture
- The article “’Diving into the earth’: the musical worlds of Julius Eastman”
- The article “Postcolonialism on the Make: The Music of John Mellencamp, David Bowie and John Zorn”
Also, for those seeking more information about “Schenkergate” and Philip Ewell’s scholarship on structural racism in music theory, check out:
- Philip Ewell’s 2019 plenary talk at the Society of Music Theory on music theory’s white racial frame
- Ewell’s 2020 article “Music Theory’s White Racial Frame,” in Music Theory Online
- Ewell’s blog and Twitter
- Megan Lavengood’s blogpost on the responses to Ewell’s scholarship
- Jeffrey Arlo Brown and Olivia Giovetti’s overview of the controversy in VAN Magazine
Sound Expertise is hosted by Will Robin (@seatedovation), and produced by D. Edward Davis (@warmsilence). Please subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and/or Spotify. Questions or comments? Email williamlrobin@ gmail
A written transcript of this episode is available here; many thanks to Andrew Dell’Antonio for volunteering to prepare transcripts for the show!