Columbia Music Scholarship Conference

CMSC 2017

Columbia Music Scholarship Conference 
Columbia University, New York City 

Conference Date: March 4, 2017

UPDATE: Please find the full conference program, including the details of accepted papers and our keynote address, to be presented by Prof. Eric Drott (UT Austin), here.

What does it mean (and what has it meant) for music to be orderly, well-ordered? 

What does it mean (and what has it meant) for music to be disorderly?

Columbia University Music Department welcomes submissions for the annual Columbia Music Scholarship Conference, to be held March 4, 2017. Professor Eric Drott will provide the keynote address. The conference organizers hope to bring together papers in any area of music research that provide productive, inventive, and diverse responses to this year’s theme, Music: Order and Disorder. Papers might address, but are not limited to, the following questions: 

  • How is music ordered? How is musical knowledge ordered in art forms, academic disciplines, and genres? What kinds of ordering strategies have been imposed on music -- cataloging systems, genre labeling, formal analytical techniques, algorithmic and computational analyses? 
  • How has music resisted or yielded to these strategies? How might we understand musical creation and composition in relation to chaos and order? In what ways have musicians represented order and disorder in sound?
  • How does music order? How does music control or discipline bodies, populations, rituals, practices, nations, and identities? What is music’s organizational role in legal, educational, medical, religious, political, and military settings? Which hierarchies exist in musical “art worlds”?
  • How does music generate disorder? When and how has disorder been seen to threaten musical coherence? How and when is such a threat generative? What is the role of music in protest and resistance? How have music and its listeners been pathologized? When and how have music and sound been used to diagnose and treat illness or identify and navigate disability?

To submit a proposal, please send an email with your name, institution, email address, and an abstract of no more than 250 words to cmsc2017 [at] by December 31, 2016. The committee will select papers anonymously. All scholars who submit abstracts will be notified of the committee’s decision by February 1, 2017.

Please direct all inquiries to conference co-chairs Eamonn Bell (epb2125 [at], Paula Harper (pch2112 [at], and Ralph Whyte (rrw2121 [at]


Events Archive




2017 Columbia Music Scholarship Conference Co-Chairs:

Eamonn Bell

PhD Student in Music Theory

Academic Website

Eamonn Bell graduated from Trinity College, Dublin with a B.A. (Mod.) Mathematics and Music in June 2013. He joined the Department of Music in Fall 2013. His research interests include computational and mathematical applications in music studies, and the methodology of music analysis.

more info...

Paula Harper

PhD Student in Historical Musicology

Paula Clare Harper is a PhD candidate in Historical Musicology at Columbia University. Her work focuses on issues of circulation, sharing, sociality and social media, fandom, gender, and representation. She has presented on topics ranging from Beyoncé, to Taylor Swift, to internet musical practices, at conferences across the country and internationally.

more info...

Ralph Whyte

PhD Student in Historical Musicology

Ralph began his education in the state sector in Scotland and at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where he studied double bass, piano, and composition. He went on to receive a first-class bachelor's degree and master's degree with distinction from King's College, London. His master's dissertation there, supervised by Prof. Roger Parker, considered Hanns Eisler's film music ideals and practices. 

more info...


Please take note:

  • The entire program will take place on March 4, 2017 in 501 Dodge Hall
  • Dodge Hall is on the Columbia University Morningside Campus in New York, NY 10027


9:00 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.



9:45 - 10:00

Welcoming remarks 



Session 1 - Structuring Musical Knowledge (Chair tbd)

  • Tom Johnson (The Graduate Center, CUNY) - "#genre"
  • Matteo Magarotto (University of Cincinnati) - "The Transition from Divine to Temporal Order in Eighteenth-Century Music"
  • Hicham Chami (University of Florida) - "The Fassi Connection: Enduring Echoes of al-Andalus in Post-Independence Moroccan Cultural Policy"


11:30-12:00 p.m.

Coffee break


12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

Session 2 - Ordering Communities and Identities (Chair tbd)

  • Emily Clark (Columbia University) - "Islamophobia, Noise, and Colonial Order in the Contemporary Netherlands"
  • Ben Dumbauld (The Graduate Center, CUNY) - "Singing for the Impossible Society: Mass Spectacle and the Failure to Maintain Hegemonic Order in Socialist Romania"
  • Samantha Cooper (New York University) - "Receiving the Singing Jews: Jewish Response to Richard Strauss' Salome at the Metropolitan Opera House (1907-1934)"






Session 3 - Disciplining Performance and Improvisation (Chair tbd)

  • Clay Downham (University of Colorado Boulder) “Collective Improvisational Schemata in Lennie Tristano's Musical Community"
  • Alana Murphy (The Graduate Center, CUNY) - "Square Dance: Ballet Accompaniment, Kinesthetically-Imposed Phrase Structure, and Recomposition as Creative Improvisational Practice"
  • Andrew Chung (Yale University) - "Music, Sovereign Speech-Acts, and Sex-Trafficked Bodies: Music-Semiotic Acts of Sexual Violence"



Keynote address 

"Sorting Music Out"

Prof. Eric Drott 

Associate Professor of Theory

Butler School of Music, University of Texas at Austin



Closing remarks and reception