Robert S. Hatten, professor of music theory, University of Texas, Austin

Room 419 Music Practice Building


“A Theory of Virtual Agency For Western Music”

A shift in listeners’ interpretation of music’s signification have had profound consequences for the historical development of Western music. Examples (from Beethoven and Chopin) will illustrate how composers of non-programmatic, purely instrumental Western tonal music devised various strategies to stage these levels of virtual agency, to achieve greater depths of musical expressive meaning.

Robert S. Hatten is the author of Musical Meaning in Beethoven: Markedness, Correlation, and Interpretation (1994; co-recipient of the Wallace Berry Publication Award from the Society for Music Theory in 1997) and Interpreting Musical Gestures, Topics, and Tropes: Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert (2004), both published by Indiana University Press, where he edits the book series “Musical Meaning and Interpretation.” He began his term as President-Elect of the Society for Music Theory in November 2016. Dr. Hatten is currently completing a book on virtual agency in music

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