I’ve decided to start a blog for a whole bunch of reasons. First and foremost is to open a space to share my work and thoughts. As someone nearing completion of a PhD in the esoteric and maligned field of music theory during an era wrestling with the “death of the humanities,” I’ve welcomed the move towards accessible scholarship. The multitude of conferences, sites, lectures, and courses on public musicology are clear manifestations of a shift in the field, necessitated by the rise of STEM and the increasing costs of tuition to the detriment of the humanities and the arts. Hopefully this move can help show folks outside the academy some of what’s valuable in our work.
The second reason is a more selfish one; I want to force myself to write more! Working on the dissertation tends to go in lonely spurts, but if I have a centralized location, I’ll be more likely to share the work I do in between conference presentations and (hopefully) publications. Plus, many of my colleagues have fantastic blogs that inspire my work every day, and I hope to emulate them.
Third, I want to use this platform to comment on the field of music theory more generally. It’s no surprise, given my first paragraph, that the discipline is quickly changing, and I hope to use the blog as a space to grapple with these changes. When your field (rightly if problematically) gets associated with white supremacy, it might be time to reflect a bit as to why people might think that. Often it’s driven by stereotypes, generalizations, and outmoded understandings of what the music theory classroom is actually like, but there has been a clear reification of many troubling -isms in the field that demand confrontation.
The last reason I’m starting a blog is to fill a decade+ long goal of mine to make the front page of a google search for “Tom Johnson”. There are a whole bunch of Tom Johnsons out there, including some closely aligned with music theory. Maybe some day.