Founded in 1998, the Popular Music Interest Group is dedicated to promoting the scholarly study of popular music through methods including musical analysis and theory. Our goals include:
• Ensuring academic recognition for popular music research
• Encouraging more scholars of music theory to engage popular repertoires
• Encouraging scholars of popular music to make effective use of musical analysis and theory

On our Humanities Commons site, we rely on our members to help edit this resource — this cooperation will help continually improve the presence of popular music in our classrooms and scholarship. Many thanks!

Meeting Report — SMT 2018

0 replies, 1 voice Last updated by  Megan Lavengood 2 years, 8 months ago
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    Megan Lavengood

    Dear PMIG members,

    It was a pleasure to see so many of you at SMT! We had a total of 44 members in attendance.

    This message brings you important highlights from our meeting. The full debrief is attached.

    • VOTE ON LANGUAGE CHANGE FOR AWARDS—Please navigate to to vote on a minor language change for the Outstanding Publication Award. Voting will close 2/1/19.
    • LISTSERV CLOSING—Now is the time to migrate to our new communication hub at Humanities Commons. We will be shutting down our listserv within the next few weeks. Navigate to and create a new account, then join our group: Commons is a not-for-profit website run by the MLA. HC also hosts groups for the SMT and AMS. The PMIG is currently leading the charge for interest groups, but soon all IGs will also maintain a HC page.
    • SHARE YOUR MATERIALS—To foster pedagogy of pop music theory, we strongly encourage you to share your lesson plans, syllabi, etc. to our HC group, under the Files tab. Additionally, you can share your research both within our group and simultaneously across all of HC by uploading it as a CORE deposit.
    • MEETING ACTIVITIES—We broke into small groups based on shared research interests. Groups ranged from 4 to 7 people in size. Many people reported that they found this small group discussion very valuable and even expressed desire in continuing this format in subsequent meetings. You can view and edit notes from your small group meetings on the HC page under the Docs tab, or click here. This would be a great forum to connect with your other group members!
    • AWARD WINNERS—The winner of the Adam Krims Award is Maeve Sterbenz for “Movement, Music, Feminism: An Analysis of Movement-Music Interactions and the Articulation of Masculinity in Tyler, the Creator’s ‘Yonkers’ Music Video.” This article approaches the analysis of movement in music videos from a queer and feminist framework that discusses the performance of failure as subversive in a culture that defaults to overcoming narratives. The article is published in Music Theory Online and can be accessed free of charge at The winner of the Outstanding Publication Award is Mark Spicer for “Fragile, Emergent, and Absent Tonics in Pop and Rock Songs.” This article was already widely circulated after its debut at a 2009 SMT meeting and its popularity and influence has increased further after its publication in Music Theory Online. Spicer discusses the narrative impact when a songwriter chooses to present the tonic chord of a piece in only a weakened state, and categorizes three methods for achieving this effect. The article can be accessed for free at Congratulations, Maeve and Mark!


    I look forward to an even more productive meeting next year in Columbus! In the meantime, why not start a discussion on the Humanities Commons page?

    All best,


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