My research specializations are in timbre and popular music. My dissertation establishes a new approach to the analysis of timbre, which blends spectrogram analysis and cultural studies and ethnographies. I focus on 1980s popular music and the Yamaha DX7 synthesizer.
I am beginning to expand this project to study other important 1980s instruments, such as the LinnDrum and the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer. I will also explore the latest ’80s revival genres, such as vaporwave, and their interactions with music from the 1980s.
I am interested in the interactions between timbre, aesthetics, and “bad music.” Some old music is “classic,” while other old music is “dated.” What makes these distinctions? I believe the distinctions are based on timbre. I am investigating this in 1980s popular music, and also early 2000s popular music, such as the music composed by producer Max Martin (who wrote for *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, and Britney Spears).
I am also passionate about Schenkerian analysis. I am interested in stretching the boundaries of what music is “Schenkable,” because no other theory imposes such deep communion between the analyst and the tones of the piece.
“Analyzing Sound, Analyzing Timbre.” Presented at the 19th Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. Kassel, Hesse, Germany, June 26–30, 2017.
“A New Approach to the Analysis of Timbre.” Presented at the 26th Annual Meeting of Music Theory Southeast. Fort Myers, Florida, March 3, 2017. Winner, Best Student Paper Award.
“‘Everything’s Synth!’: The Problem, or the Charm, of the ’80s Sound.” Presented at ›Klang‹: Wundertüte oder Stiefkind der Musiktheorie (16th Annual Meeting of the Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie). Hanover, Lower Saxony, Germany, October 1, 2016.
“Following Schenker’s Lead in the Analysis of Stravinsky.” Presented at the Music Theory Society of New York State 45th Annual Meeting, New York, NY, April 3, 2016; 5th Biennial Student Conference of the Music Theory & Musicology Society of University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Cincinnati, OH, March 29, 2014.
“‘Oops!… I Did It Again’: Max Martin’s Complement Chorus.” Presented at the Society for Music Theory 38th Annual Meeting, St. Louis, MO, October 30, 2015.
“Begging to Be Seen: Beyonce’s ‘Partition.'” Co-authored with Chris Kattenbeck, Sean Peterson, Holger Schwetter, and Júlia Silveira. Presented at the Methods of Popular Music Analysis Summer School, Osnabrück, Lower Saxony, Germany, September 18, 2015.
“Rhythmic and Timbral Associations in Sufjan Stevens’s ‘Come On, Feel the Illinoise!'” Presented at the Society for Music Theory 36th Annual Meeting. Charlotte, NC, November 1, 2013. Music Theory Society of New York State 42nd Annual Meeting, Stonybrook, NY, April 6, 2013; Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic 11th Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, March 15, 2013; Music Theory Forum at Florida State University 29th Annual Meeting, Tallahassee, FL, January 19, 2013.