The Graduate Student Workshop Program (GSWP) emphasizes instruction, participation, and discussion among graduate students.


The Graduate Student Workshop Program 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. 

Eligibility and Selection

  • 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 July 15, 2020, are eligible to apply. (Separate workshop opportunities are also available to those who have completed a Ph.D.)
  • 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 encourage interaction, each workshop is limited to approximately 10–12 participants.


  • To apply for the 2020 workshop program, please send your name, e-mail, school affiliation, and degree program to the Executive Director.
  • Please be sure to indicate for which workshop(s) you are applying—you may apply for one or both.
  • You must also have a professor at your institution send an email to, confirming that you meet the requirements for participation stated above. 
  • The application deadline has been extended to July 15, 2020; selected participants will be notified shortly thereafter.


  • Please note that GSWP workshops will take place the morning of Friday, November 6; by applying you are committing to arrive at the conference in time to participate in the workshop.
  • In the event that a student selected for a workshop also has a paper accepted to the conference and scheduled by the program committee at a time conflicting with the workshop, the student may need to forego participation in the workshop.
  • These workshops may 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 and commitment to it.


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.

2020 Workshops

Analysis of Music and the Musicalized Moving Image

Anna Gawboy (The Ohio State University) 

This workshop explores a range of strategies for the analysis of historic and contemporary audiovisual compositions. It examines how musical attributes such as temporality, rhythmicity, textural differentiation, development, repetition, hierarchy, and large-scale form are transferred to the visual domain and surveys the spectrum of relationships that can be established between the musicalized moving image and sounding music. In contrast to dramatic film, the relationship between sound and image in this repertoire is not directly mediated by an underlying plot, and may be viewed in terms of musical metaphors such as homorhythmy, heterophony, counterpoint, and textural reduction. Discussions will address considerations of genre, artistic production, performance, metaphor, and cognitive perception. Our time together will be used primarily for active analysis of instructor- and student-sourced audiovisual repertoire. Participants are encouraged to adopt a broad view of possible applications, which could include visual music, dance and other forms of embodied musical gesture, performance painting, audiovisual installations, pop concert lighting, musical fountains, musical animations, and/or musical fireworks displays.

Theorizing Categorically: Film Music and Beyond

Scott Murphy (University of Kansas)

Much of music theory’s “normal science” involves devising systems for determining if and how two musical phenomena are equivalent or not. These systems can give rise to taxonomic categorization, such as Forte’s set classes, Riemann's three types of harmonic function, and Hepokoski and Darcy’s five sonata types. This workshop will explore what it means to engage and succeed in this activity, and offer some examples from the workshop leader's recent research particularly into the idioms of mainstream film scoring. Film music’s mix of commercial demands with an expectation for emotive and signifying immediacy encourage its composers, listeners, and investigators to distill its stylistic eclecticism into a smaller set of compact and recognizable conventions. Therefore, a study of film scoring practice especially invites a categorical approach to musical materials, whereby a convention in popular film music corresponds to a default category. This workshop introduces the participant to multiple categorical studies of music for multimedia, focusing in particular on categorical biases for chord progression, scale type, and uneven temporal divisions. Building on these models, the workshop explores strategies to aid the participant in forming categories for his or her own research. Just as the reviewed studies’ efficacies extend beyond film music styles into other repertoires, including chromatic tonal styles, modernist techniques, and popular song, so will the workshop promote the construction of categories for improving the understanding of styles beyond those particular to popular movies.


For additional information, please contact the Chair of the Committee on Workshop Programs. View the full committee.

Previous workshops

Click to expand


  • Computer Programming for Corpus Analysis - Michael Cuthbert (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • Twentieth-century Music in Analysis and Performance: Contexts and Experiments - Daphne Leong (University of Colorado)


  • Issues in Popular-Music Analysis – Nicole Biamonte (McGill University)
  • Code Shifting, Chromaticsm, and Modality – Dmitri Tymoczko (Princeton University)


  • Music-Listener Intersubjectivity – Marion Guck (University of Michigan)
  • The Craft of Musical Analysis – Frank Samarotto (Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University)


  • Meter and Form in 19th-Century Music – Richard Cohn (Yale University)
  • Topics, Phrase Structure, and Sonata Form in Haydn's Chamber Music – Danuta Mirka (University of Southampton)


  • Schubert’s Modulatory Practice and the History of Tonal Coherence – Suzannah Clark (Harvard University)
  • Cognitive Science Meets the Orphans – Robert Gjerdingen (Northwestern University)


  • Exploring Pitch Memory and Melody Perception: Empirical Approaches – Elizabeth West Marvin (Eastman School of Music)
  • Finding Narratives in Formal Analysis of Popular Music – Jocelyn Neal (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
  • Renaissance Instrumental Music – Peter Schubert (McGill University)


  • The Idea of Musical Form as Process, from Analytic and Performance Perspectives – Janet Schmalfeldt (Tufts University)
  • What is Metric Well Formedness? – Justin London (Carleton College)


  • Harmony and Voice Leading in Rock and Pop Music – Walt Everett (University of Michigan)
  • A Corpus-Based Approach to Tonal Theory – Ian Quinn (Yale University)


  • Exploring Musical Spaces – Julian Hook (Indiana University)


  • Stravinsky – Gretchen Horlacher (Indiana University)
  • Musical Narrative – Michael Klein (Temple University)


  • Music Pedagogy – Brian Alegant (Oberlin College)
  • Schenkerian Analysis – Poundie Burstein (City University of New York)


  • Musical Meaning in Beethoven – Robert Hatten (Indiana University)
  • Analyzing Contemporary Music – John Roeder (University of British Columbia)


  • Sonata Theory – James Hepokoski (Yale University) and Warren Darcy (Oberlin College)
  • Analyzing Early Music – Cristle Collins Judd (Bowdoin College)


  • Voice Leading in Atonal Music – Joseph Straus (City University of New York)