About

I’m a Ph.D. candidate in music theory at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and I currently teach at Brooklyn College. I got my MA at the University of Washington and my BA in physics at Colorado College, and I’ve presented some of my work at SMT, MTSMA, IASPM, the Conservatory of Puerto Rico, and various grad student conferences.

My route to music theory was slightly circuitous, as I took my only undergraduate music theory class–which was entirely species counterpoint–during the spring semester of my senior year. I was hooked, got a job pushing pianos around, and learned a bit more. This stuff actually had a much more direct bearing on my day-to-day life and understanding of the world than my work on weak gravitational lensing and galaxy clusters.

My current research interests have shifted drastically since I came into the field thinking I’d be doing math and music and set-theory stuff. The dissertation I’m trying to finish is on the role and experience of genre in popular music since the 1950s, with case studies on some of the usual characters (The Beatles and Michael Jackson) and some relatively novel ones for music theorists (mashups and current curated/algorithmically inflected experiences.) My other work has centered mostly on topic theory, including talks/writings on diachrony and the chorale topic and tonality as a topic in early 20th-century modernist music.

Most recently, I’ve become interested in how aspects of gender, race, sexuality, and demographics influence how music is perceived, distributed, and (especially) categorized. Some of my posts will be on how these sorts of things affect music theory in particular.

Originally from New Mexico, I now live in Brooklyn with my wonderful partner–who’s making the world a better place by getting her masters in music therapy–and our cat, Louie.

The picture on this page is from a flight over the Sangre de Cristo mountain range in Colorado, separating the San Luis Valley from the Wet Mountain Valley. It’s my favorite place in the world, and I’ve learned many valuable lessons there while hiking, camping, talking, running from lightning/mountain lions, sitting, and just being.

Some contact info:

Twitter: @tgj505