I am a music theorist and media scholar with broad research and teaching interests in music analysis, contemporary film and video game music, pop music, and the history of music theory. I received my Ph.D. from Harvard in 2017, and prior to beginning my current position at Gettysburg College, I taught courses on music theory and video game music at Tufts University. While in graduate school, I was a graduate fellow at Harvard’s Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, and an editorial assistant for the Journal of the American Musicological Society (2013-2016).

My most recent essays and conference presentations have addressed chromatic harmony & theory (MTSMA 2018, 2019; SMT 2019); arrangements and solo covers of pop songs on YouTube (in Musicology Now, 2018; upcoming talk at SMT 2019); Hans Keller’s method of Functional Analysis (Music Analysis, 2019); David Lewin’s methodological writings (Music Theory and Analysis, 2018); and the analysis of popular music on social media and news websites (Analitica: Rivista online di studi musicali, 2018). My current research projects include drafting my first book, entitled Recomposition in Music Theory; compiling a collection of essays on Video Games and Popular Music; preliminary research for my second book project, Press Play on Tape: The Analog Sounds of Early Digital Games; and ongoing research and writing on chromatic harmony and on pop music & music theory in contemporary media.


Ph.D., Harvard University, 2017

M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2010

B.Mus., Miami University, 2008

Upcoming Talks and Conferences

“The Techné of YouTube Performance: Musical Structure, Extended Techniques, and Custom Instruments in Solo Pop Covers” Society for Music Theory Annual Meeting, Columbus, Ohio, November 2019.

“Neo-Riemannian Theory in Undergraduate Courses,” Society for Music Theory Annual Meeting, Columbus, Ohio, November 2019.

“Teaching with Video,” College Music Society Summit 2.0: Designing the 21st-Century Music School. University of South Carolina, January 18, 2019.

“‘When Far From Her I Roam’: Progressive Tonality and Chromatic Narrative in Three Songs by Amy Beach.” Co-author with Austin Nikirk (Gettysburg College ’20). Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic Annual Conference, March 30, 2019.

William O'Hara

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