SMT 2018 Call for Proposals

The forty-first Annual Meeting of the Society for Music Theory (SMT) will be held jointly with the American Musicological Society (AMS) in San Antonio, Texas, from Thursday, November 1, to Sunday, November 4, 2018.

The program committee invites proposals on any topic related to music theory that does not represent work already published in peer-reviewed publications (print or electronic), and has not been presented at an annual conference of the AMS, CMS, SEM, or SAM.  Proposals for posters and for presentations in innovative formats are encouraged.

All proposals will be evaluated anonymously and should exclude the author’s name and any other direct or indirect signal of authorship. References to the author’s own work must occur in the third person. “Author” tags must be removed from electronic files. (In Adobe Acrobat, go to the “File” menu, select “Properties” and delete the name from the Author box.)

Proposals will not be considered if they exceed word limits or if an individual violates the rules on multiple submissions described below, under “Participation.”

Single-Author and Joint-Author Papers

A submission for a single-author or joint-author paper must include the title and description for a presentation of twenty minutes’ duration. The description (including notes) should be no more than 500 words. Each mathematical equation may be counted as one word.

The Program Committee strongly encourages members to append supplementary materials (such as musical examples, diagrams, and selected bibliography) as necessary to substantiate an argument or demonstrate results. The supplementary materials will not be counted within the 500-word limit, but must not exceed four pages. Any supplementary text (e.g., example captions) should not appreciably add to the word count or content of the proposal.

The proposal and supplementary materials should preserve the anonymity of the author(s) as described above.

For tips on drafting a proposal, visit the website of the SMT’s Professional Development Committee:

When submitting the proposal on the web, authors will be prompted for identification and contact information, as well as a list of all required equipment (such as piano) other than the sound system and LCD projector that will be available for all presenters. Please note that the Society cannot provide Internet access for presentations.

Accepted papers will generally be allocated thirty minutes each: twenty for the paper and ten for discussion. The Committee may accept a proposed paper under the condition that it be transformed into a poster.

Also, in a new initiative, designed to enhance conversation between our societies, the Program Committees of both AMS and SMT invite proposals that address the following themes:

  • Public music theory & musicology
  • The sound recording as an object of study
  • Latin American music

Proposals submitted to either SMT or AMS will be evaluated by the corresponding Program Committee in the usual manner. Accepted proposals may be programmed as SMT-AMS Joint Sessions by the two Program Committees or as part of a regular SMT or AMS session, depending on the number of acceptances on any given theme.

Those who wish their proposals to be considered according to one of these three themes (and potentially part of a Joint Session) should indicate this at the beginning of the proposal abstract (does not count towards word limit).

Interactive (Poster) Sessions

Proposals for posters should follow the guidelines for submission of papers but indicate the author’s preference that it be considered for the poster session.

Special Sessions

The requirements for a session proposal depend on whether the session is to be presented by the SMT only, or jointly by the SMT and AMS. The guidelines for each type are provided below.

(1) SMT Special Sessions

An SMT special session is proposed as a whole, rather than as a set of individual submissions. Two formats are available; each differs from the general succession of twenty-minute talks in some way.

Integrated special session. This comprises a set of papers that are closely related in content and thoughtfully integrated and framed by a session rationale. Each paper occupies a regular thirty-minute timeslot (twenty-minute presentation plus ten-minute question period). The Committee reserves the right to consider each paper separately and to program a paper with or without the others from that proposed session. Each component of an integrated special session proposal—the individual paper abstracts and session rationale—should be submitted as a separate item, clearly identifying the title of the special session to which it belongs.

Alternative-format special session. This comprises a set of papers organized in a non-standard way, e.g., a panel discussion, workshop, “flipped” session, “lightning talk” session, etc. Note that this can include a set of thirty-minute papers in forty-five minute time slots (the “old” SMT format). Because individual contributions typically do not fall within a standard thirty-minute timeslot, such sessions are accepted or rejected in toto, and should be submitted through the SMT website as a single package.

Proposals for both types of SMT special session must include:

  • A session proposal of no more than 500 words.
  • Individual proposals for all segments of the special session. These should follow, where possible, the guidelines for paper proposals, including the preservation of authors’ anonymity. Exceptions to the rule of anonymity for session segments must be approved by the Program Chair.
  • A list of invited speakers, if any, support for which will depend on funds available.

Proposals may be for special sessions of ninety minutes or three hours. Proposals for special sessions may be exempted from certain of the guidelines listed above. To discuss the possibility of exemptions, those wishing to propose such special sessions must contact the Program Committee chair ( no later than January 1, 2018.

(2) Joint Special Sessions of the SMT and the AMS

The Program Committees of the two societies invite proposals for joint sessions, bringing together participants from both societies. These sessions may address the three topics listed above, or any other topic, taking the form of a joint session Paper Panel or an Alternative-Format joint session. Guidelines for both are found below.

Joint Session Paper Panel. Such sessions will represent both disciplines and feature multiple approaches, methodologies, or framing discourses. Joint session proposals will be considered as a unit by the program committees of the AMS and the SMT, and will be programmed only if accepted by both committees. Proposals must include a session rationale and abstracts for each paper on the session. The rationale must identify the number of participants from each society. Paper abstracts included in a joint session proposal are components of the session proposal as a whole and will not be considered for individual presentation. All proposals will be evaluated anonymously and should contain no direct or indirect signal of authorship. Maximum length: 350 words for the rationale and 350 words for each constituent paper’s abstract.

Papers will be allocated thirty minutes each, with twenty minutes for the paper and ten minutes for discussion. Proposals may be for sessions of ninety minutes (three papers), two hours (four papers), or three hours (six papers). Two- or three-hour sessions may involve a respondent.

Please note that AMS-SMT Joint Paper Panels may be scheduled during evening sessions, starting at 8 p.m.

Alternative-Format Joint sessions are also encouraged. Participants in alternative-format sessions might discuss an important publication, a controversial issue, or combine performance and scholarship. The session might also include “flipped” papers, “lightning talks,” and the like. Proposals for alternative-format joint sessions should outline the intellectual content of the session, the participants and their society affiliations, and the structure of the session. As with the joint session paper panels, alternative-format joint sessions should represent both disciplines. Proposals will be considered as a unit by the two program committees and will be programmed only if accepted by both committees. Proposals may be for sessions of ninety minutes, two hours, or three hours. Maximum length for proposal: 1000 words.

Please note that joint AMS-SMT Alternative-Format Joint Sessions may be scheduled during evening sessions, starting at 8 p.m.

Proposals for Joint Paper Panels and Joint Alternative-Format sessions must be submitted via a shared website to be announced closer to the submission deadline.


An individual cannot submit the same paper proposal to both AMS and SMT. An individual can submit different paper proposals to AMS and SMT but must indicate this double submission on the online submission page and select (in the case of double acceptance) which proposal takes priority.

Typically, an individual submits one proposal to the SMT. An individual may submit two proposals only in the following cases:

  • One single-author proposal and one joint-author proposal.
  • One proposal of a twenty-minute paper on a regular or special session and one proposal for a presentation of ten minutes or less that is part of an alternative-format special session (see section above for examples of alternative format).
  • One proposal (not part of a special session) and one special session (as organizer).

In cases of multiple submissions that do not follow these rules, none of the submissions will be considered. No one may appear on the San Antonio program more than twice.

Submission Procedure and Deadline

Proposals from members and non-members should be submitted online at the appropriate links below. (Please note that both individual and special session proposals for SMT use the same link.) All proposal materials must be formatted together as one PDF document under 10 MB in size. Those who have difficulties with online submission should contact the Executive Director at

Please make sure that you have followed all guidelines in this call. The Program Committee will not consider submissions that do not meet the guidelines.

Proposals must be received by 5 p.m. EST, Tuesday, January 16, 2018. Please take time zone differences into account. No proposals will be accepted after the deadline. In order to avoid last-minute technical problems, the Program Committee recommends that proposals be submitted at least twenty-four hours before the deadline.

Note that rejected proposals will remain anonymous; only the SMT Executive Director, in mailing out acceptance and rejection letters, will know the identities of the authors of these proposals.

SMT 2018 Program Committee

  • Roman Ivanovitch, Indiana University (Chair)
  • Amy Bauer, University of California, Irvine
  • Mark Butler, Northwestern University
  • David Clampitt, Ohio State University
  • Michael Gallope, University of Minnesota
  • John McKay, University of South Carolina
  • Janet Schmalfeldt, Emerita, Tufts University
  • Robert Hatten, The University of Texas at Austin (ex officio)

For clarification or further information, please contact SMT’s Executive Director at