Graduate Student Workshop Program (GSWP)

The SMT offers educational workshops for graduate students, emphasizing instruction, participation, and discussion. It was founded by Wayne Alpern, who acted as Administrative Director of the Program from 2006–2011, and whose efforts, innovative ideas, and financial contributions supported the Program during its initial years. The workshops, each of which is led by a prominent scholar in the field, take place during the SMT Annual Meeting, this year on Friday, November 7, 2014. To encourage interaction, each workshop is limited to 10–12 participants. Since its inception, 210 graduate students have participated in the GSWP.


All full-time students registered in a graduate program in music theory, or in a graduate program in musicology or composition with a substantial theory component, and who have not received their Ph.D. as of April 1, 2014, are eligible to apply. Participants are selected by a random draw from the pool of applicants. The GSWP is intended to provide students with the opportunity to study with a professor not at their home institution; therefore, students affiliated with the institution of the instructor are not eligible for that instructor’s workshop. Prior GSWP participants are permitted to apply, but preference will be given to first-time applicants.


To apply for the 2014 workshop program, please send your name, e-mail, and school affiliation to John Roeder at Please be sure to indicate which workshop(s) you are applying for—you may apply for one or more. Also, you must have a professor at your institution email a message confirming that you meet the requirements for participation, stated above.

Be aware that these workshops require many hours of preparation in advance, including both reading and writing assignments. You are not expected to be an expert in the subject matter of the workshop(s) for which you apply, but you should have a serious interest in it and a commitment to it.

Applications were due by April 1, 2014; the application period has passed.


There is no fee to participate in the program. Participants are responsible, however, for the cost of SMT membership and conference registration (but not at the time of application), as well as for other expenses of attendance, including transportation, housing, and meals. The GSWP provides a reception on the evening before the workshops and a modest brown-bag lunch after the workshops.

2014 Workshops

  • Elizabeth West Marvin (Eastman School of Music): Exploring Pitch Memory and Melody Perception: Empirical Approaches

    Fundamental to our understanding of tonal music is the question of how frequencies, perceived as pitch, are represented and stored in memory. This seminar will explore empirical research on pitch perception‹including both absolute- and relative-pitch representations‹in hierarchical melodic and implied harmonic contexts. Initial readings will acquaint participants with basic issues of experimental design and a "reading knowledge" of statistical methods typically used in this discipline. In advance of the workshop, participants will be divided into collaborative-learning teams that will develop short literature reviews on assigned topics, to be presented in the seminar as a poster with handouts/bibliographies for sharing with others. Participants will work online with the workshop leader to refine these topics and select key literature to include. During the workshop itself, we will experience some hands-on replications of selected empirical studies (read by participants in advance) and conclude with the poster presentations and discussion.

  • Jocelyn Neal (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill): Finding Narratives in Formal Analysis of Popular Music

    (Description coming soon.)

  • Peter Schubert (McGill University): Renaissance Instrumental Music

    This repertoire (including dances, fantasias, ricercars, canzonas, keyboard masses, versets and toccatas) has been largely neglected by present-day analysts. Yet it offers a unique window into the compositional practice of the Renaissance. In this workshop the analyst, freed from the distraction of verbal text, can investigate the purely musical laws that govern tonality (in the broadest sense) and form in music composed between 1520 and 1620 by such composers as Gibbons, Byrd, Lassus, Willaert, Sweelinck, Frescobaldi, Gabrieli, Cabezón, and Praetorius.

  • Previous Workshops

    • 2013: The Idea of Musical Form as Process, from Analytic and Performance Perspectives Instructor: Janet Schmalfeldt (Tufts University); What is Metric Well Formedness? Instructor: Justin London (Carleton College)
    • 2012: Harmony and Voice Leading in Rock and Pop Music Instructor: Walt Everett (University of Michigan); A Corpus-Based Approach to Tonal Theory Instructor: Ian Quinn (Yale University)
    • 2011: Exploring Musical Spaces Instructor: Julian Hook (Indiana University)
    • 2010: Stravinsky Instructor: Gretchen Horlacher (Indiana University); Musical Narrative Instructor: Michael Klein (Temple University)
    • 2009: Music Pedagogy Instructor: Brian Alegant (Oberlin College); Schenkerian Analysis Instructor: Poundie Burstein (City University of New York)
    • 2008: Musical Meaning in Beethoven Instructor: Robert Hatten (Indiana University); Analyzing Contemporary Music Instructor: John Roeder (University of British Columbia)
    • 2007: Sonata Theory Instructors: James Hepokoski (Yale University) and Warren Darcy (Oberlin College); Analyzing Early Music Instructor: Cristle Collins Judd (Bowdoin College)
    • 2006: Voice Leading in Atonal Music Instructor: Joseph Straus (City University of New York)


    For additional information, please contact John Roeder, Chair of the Committee on Workshop Programs, at 
The 2014 Committee on Workshop Programs also includes Julian Hook (Indiana University) and Robin Attas (Elon University).

    Workshop opportunities are also available to those who have completed a Ph.D.