Special sessions

 In this section, we present the features of the special sessions to be held at MCM 19.  The deadline is also  JANUARY 15th, 2019. Please, specificy in your cover letter which special session your work is intended to contribute to.


Special Session on the Pedagogy of Mathematical Music Theory

In concordance with the appearance of the book Theoretical and Practical Pedagogy of Mathematical Music Theory we are organizing a special session on the pedagogy of Mathematical Music Theory (MMT). Contributions to this special session include but are not limited to:
  • Theoretical and/or conceptual frameworks for integrating the pedagogy of math and music.
  • Description of actual pedagogical practices in MMT, in particular, original sources in the classroom, and their educational effects
  • Emotional strategies to deal with the MMT classroom.
  • Outreach in MMT.
  • Issues relating to the teaching of MMT.
  • Diverse teaching styles in MMT.
  • Epistemology of MMT.
  • Curriculum and/or textbooks.
  • Mathematics and music fruitfully interwoven.

Contributions to the session should be a short paper, no more than 4 pages, in the Springer LNCS style; see the submission section of this page for more details on the format.



 Re-managing Riemann:

Mathematical Music Theory as "Experimental Philology“?

Remanaging Riemann: Mathematical Music Theory as „Experimental Philology“? The special session is dedicated to the solution of open problems in connection with the integration of Hugo Riemann’s music-theoretical ideas into present day music theoretical knowledge. *** Only a few days after the MCM 2019 in Madrid music researchers will commemorate the 170th anniversary of Hugo Riemann’s birthday (* 18. July 1849) as well as the 100th anniversary of his death († 10. July 1919). Over many decades Riemann’s multisided musicological work served as a focal point of the discourse and with regard to some of his programmatic ideas he can still be seen as a trend setter for continued attempts to productively and/or critically deal with various of these ideas.

In some cases they became subjects of successful acts of mathematization and opened new perspectives of theoretical and analytical work. The simply transitive Schritt-Wechsel-action of the dihedral group on the set of the 24 major and minor triads within the 12-chromatic system is a prime example for the transformational approach in the Lewin tradition. It is a peculiarity of this music-theoretical subfield that Riemann even became its Eponym: Neo-Riemannian Theory. Lewin’s insight (adequately proven by Crans, Fiore and Satyendra) into the duality between Schritt- Wechsel-action and the Transposition-Inversion-action is a splendid example for a successful integration of two initially separate theoretical perspectives into widened single one.

Several other of Riemann’s ideas did inspire authors to rephrase and further develop them in mathematical terms and call them eponymously after the venerated Inspirator: Riemann System (Lewin), Riemann Tensor Algebra (Mazzola), Riemann’s consonance/dissonance dichotomy (Noll), etc. Although it would be a welcome side effect to revisit some of these approaches, the session is not primarily intended to be historical. It would go beyond the aims and scope of the MCM to ask for novel contributions on the historical categorisation of Riemann’s ideas, their precursors, criticism and later developments. [It goes without saying, though, that contributors are supposed to be philologically informed about the history of the concepts and ideas they are pursuing].

What is intended to lie within the main scope of the planned session is deliberately expressed as a challenge in the subtitle to this call: Mathematical Music Theory as „Experimental Philology“? What does it mean? Historical philology traces the history of ideas as they are communicated in the scholarly discourse (transmitted in publications, letters etc.) But in addition to philology mathematics is also a human science which investigates ideas. It studies the logical interdependency and compatibility of ideas. An experimental philology of music- theoretical ideas can therefore be said to be a discipline which investigates mathematical models of traditional and novel music-theoretical concepts.

In order to be a contribution to the 2019 Riemann centenary the session will focus on actual open problems around the integration of Riemann’s music-theoretical ideas within projects of the mathematical conceptualisation of music theory.

A challenging example is Jason Yust’s recent call for an integrationist approach to the analysis of 19th century music, which he connects with a criticism of the rigidity of the transformational Neo-Riemannian approach. Is it meant as a rebuff to the transformational paradigm as such? In any case, adherers of more flexible transformational methods (monoid actions, functors) are called to respond with new proposals. And transformation-skeptics are called to substantiate their doubts.

An evergreen in connection with an integration of Riemann’s music-theoretical ideas is the project for a reintegration of two main traditions in the study of harmonic progressions: Scale degree theory and function theory.

These two above-mentioned problem fields are only meant as examples. Any contribution related to the integration of a Riemannian idea to present day music theory is welcome.

The proposed session at the MCM 2019 should also be seen as a good occasion to re-open the epistemological debate about the role of mathematical investigations in music theory. The project of an experimental philology is deliberately meant as a counter-draft to Geraint Wiggins’ argument that „to model music in the abstract, as though it were itself a mathematical construct, divorced from its source in the human mind, is misleading“.

Contributions to this special session can made in the form of:

  1. Long paper and oral presentation;
  2. Short paper and poster;
  3. Short paper and oral presentation.