Interest groups are valued by the SMT for the vital role that they play in stimulating research and dialogue within their sub-disciplines. They are considered to be independent organizations within the Society, free to determine their activities and the content of their meetings as they see fit. The Vice President functions as official liaison between the SMT and interest groups associated with the SMT. Interest group chairs are invited to contact the Vice President with any questions related to their group’s activities. 

Interest groups should be run in a professional manner that adheres to standard practices for a scholarly organization. Interest groups must follow the procedures detailed under Requirements, and are encouraged to follow the listed Best Practices.


  1. Organizers of new interest groups must register with the Vice President by providing the name of the group and contact information for its leadership. Chairs of new interest groups are strongly encouraged to attend the Breakfast Meeting (#3 below) personally if possible.
  2. Interest group chairs must immediately inform the Vice President of any changes in leadership, and contact the web editor to update the information on the group’s SMT page (#6 below).
  3. Interest group chairs (or their representatives) must attend the Interest Group Breakfast Meeting with the Vice President at the Annual Meeting.
  4. Interest group chairs must report on the group’s activities. The chair’s brief annual report should include:
    1. an evaluation of what is going well and challenges or items for improvement
    2. the group’s activities, both at the Annual Meeting and during the year
    3. the number of attendees (including demographic information, where possible) at the group’s meeting during SMT’s Annual Meeting
    4. any other items of interest
  5. This report should be submitted to the Vice President and to the interest group’s members. Chairs should also provide a summary of the group’s Annual Meeting activities and business to their members after the meeting (for the benefit of those unable to attend).
  6. Interest groups must provide the following information on their SMT webpages:

    • Mission Statement
    • Activities
    • Online presence and discussion
    • How to join (usually simply reads “There are no requirements for membership; simply attend our meetings at annual SMT meetings to participate.”)
    • Leadership and contact info

    Interest groups may also provide information on past activities or post important resources relevant to the group. Please try to limit your update requests to once per year. If your group needs a more robust page, the IT/Networking Committee can provide guidance on making a Wordpress site via Humanities Commons.

  7. Interest group chairs must inform the Executive Director about the group's needs for the Annual Meeting. The Executive Director will send out an email with instructions and deadlines in the late spring each year, requesting the following information:

    • First and second choice of meeting dates/times
    • Estimated number of attendees,
    • Room set-up (lecture, roundtable, etc.)
    • Equipment needs (audio-visual, piano)

    Note that the SMT may not be able to meet all of an interest group’s requests. Internet access might not be available in conference rooms.

  8. If interest group chairs would like new information added to their SMT page before the Annual Meeting (e.g., information about meeting activities), they must provide the web editor with this information by Oct. 15.

  9. The publicizing and citation of Interest Group activities, events, and awards will be worded to avoid confusion with official SMT activities. Chairs should inform presenters and award recipients of citation templates:

    • Papers presented in interest group meetings (i.e., not selected by the SMT Program Committee) during the SMT Annual Meeting: Author, Title, ___ Interest Group meeting, Society for Music Theory Annual Meeting, City, Date.
    • Events, such as seminars or conferences, sponsored by interest groups: The event should be titled by its subject matter (e.g. American Music) and identified as "sponsored by the ___ Interest Group of the Society for Music Theory.”

Best Practices

  1. No individual should serve as primary chair of more than one interest group at a time, and no individual should serve as chair or co- or vice-chair of more than two groups at a time.
  2. Interest group leadership should be members of the SMT in good standing. 
  3. Interest group members are strongly encouraged to maintain SMT membership in good standing.
  4. Interest groups should hold elections for chair periodically, typically every 2–4 years. A variety of people should be granted the responsibility of chairing on a rotating basis.
  5. Interest groups should hold a business meeting at each SMT Annual Meeting.
  6. Interest groups should maintain active discussions between Annual Meetings via Humanities Commons, Google Groups, or another platform.
  7. Interest groups should post information about the group and its activities on the webpage supplied by the SMT.
  8. Interest groups should submit summaries of their activities, particularly those at the Annual Meeting, to the editor of the SMT Newsletter.
  9. Interest groups may use their allotted time at the Annual Meeting as a venue for scholarly presentations (these will not be listed in the SMT Program, since they will not be evaluated by the Program Committee; see Requirement #9 above).
  10. Interest groups may propose a conference session to the Program Committee. Proposals should be developed collaboratively within the group.
  11. Interest groups may create bibliographies or other resources of use to their members and to the Society as a whole and publish them on their SMT page or elsewhere.
  12. Interest groups may recognize outstanding work in the subdiscipline.

Support from the SMT

The SMT provides the following to each interest group in good standing:

  1. One guaranteed time slot and meeting room at the Annual Meeting, for the purpose of the group’s business meeting. An interest group may secure a second slot by submitting a session proposal to the Program Committee.
  2. A page on the SMT website. This page can be requested once a new interest group has met at the Society’s Annual Meeting, and its chair or a representative has participated in the Interest Group Breakfast Meeting with the Vice President. Contact the web editor for a template.
  3. Support from the IT/Networking Committee in creating a Humanities Commons group or Google Group.

Related Links

View all interest groups

Humanities Commons for Interest Groups