Editor’s Message

[1] The recent death of Aretha Franklin reminds us that the relationship between who sings, what is sung, and who listens is seldom simple. Her signature work was the anthem “Respect” (1967). But upon examination (and without detracting from appreciation of her genius in any way), what we remember when we remember this song is a complex affair: it began as a moderately successful release for its composer, Otis Redding, but became quite a different song when Franklin recorded it in New York with the Muscle Shoals rhythm section, under the supervision of producer Jerry Wexler. According to Carl Wilson’s recent appreciation in Slate, Franklin improvised the song’s hook, (“R-E-S-P-E-C-T”) in Atlantic Records’ New York studio; the conversational back-and-forth between lead singer and backers took shape in the studio as well. Much that makes Franklin’s version great—including, of course, its assertion of female autonomy and agency—is absent from the composer (Redding)’s 1965 version. Redding’s track had modest crossover success, but Franklin’s version reached (and continues to reach) entirely new audiences.

[2] So where is the song, where is the singer, and where are we? Do we listen? Do we co-compose? Do we audiate? Does our guitar, in fact, gently weep? Such questions occupy the authors in this issue, particularly the six who participate in our panel on musical agency. Eugene Montague introduces the symposium, and Lawrence Zbikowski provides a response.

[3] Whoever we are when we engage with music, it seems clear that we listen with more than our ears. Orit Hilewicz explores visual art, in analyses of works by Schuller, Tan, and Davies. Olivia Lucas takes us to the mosh pit and explores at least two different ways to experience an extreme sonic environment, that of the Swedish group Meshuggah.

[4] Time and memory concern Brian Black in his analysis of harmonic motives in Schubert’s early quartets and Jason Noble in his investigation of musical timelessness through the lens of auditory perception. Joshua Albrecht explores the traces that our perceptual apparatus leave on musical experience in his study of the Adagio cantabile of Beethoven’s Pathétique Sonata.

[5] Institutional memory is the concern of Daphne Leong’s report on the history of interest groups in the Society for Music Theory. Grant Sawatzky provides a report on the Fifth Conference on Analytical Approaches to World Music, and Eighth Folk Music International Workshop. These two pieces head up a new department (Reports) that will include both conference reports and dispatches from the field that are of general interest to music theorists.

[6] The issue is rounded out by a pair of book reviews. Craig Comen examines two recent titles that engage music of the French Revolutionary period and its aftermath; Ben Wadsworth reviews David Damschroder’s Tonal Analysis: A Schenkerian Perspective.

[8] As always, we encourage submissions in formats both tried and true and new and creative. Although we are especially well suited for the publication of articles that incorporate recordings, videos, and other media, we also welcome text submissions in a variety of formats, including full-length articles, shorter essays and commentaries, conference reports, and entire special volumes. Commentaries in response to this issue’s articles, as well as announcements for our job listings and dissertation index, may be submitted to the Editor for publication in the next issue. Please refer to our submission guidelines.

[9] All MTO volumes dating back to our first issue in 1993 can be accessed from the contents page at http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/issues.html. Thank you, as always, for your support of MTO—a Journal of the Society for Music Theory.

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