[Smt-talk] Advocating for the humanities

Whitcomb, Benjamin D whitcomb at uww.edu
Tue Apr 8 04:40:00 PDT 2014

Dr. Antila,

(1) My comments were true and designed to illustrate a point at the same time.
(2) Who is advocating ignoring political challenges? I am arguing that they should be discussed on some other forum.
(3) Who is to determine what are the "right" political moves? You? The very idea that there is one and only one "right" set of political moves that all theorists should adopt is naïve, to say the least.
(4) Are you wanting to base these "right"  political ideas on those of Schenker?

Again, if you want to talk politics, why don't you go join some humanities advocacy group, so that this list can be dedicated to the discussion of music theory?


Dr. Benjamin Whitcomb
Professor of Cello and Music Theory
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

-----Original Message-----
From: smt-talk-bounces at lists.societymusictheory.org [mailto:smt-talk-bounces at lists.societymusictheory.org] On Behalf Of Christopher Antila
Sent: Monday, April 07, 2014 8:49 PM
To: smt-talk at lists.societymusictheory.org
Subject: Re: [Smt-talk] Advocating for the humanities

On 8 April 2014 00:44:49 Whitcomb, Benjamin D wrote:
> Alas, the joke is on you. My point in making my political argument was
> precisely to demonstrate the sort of discussion that I hope we all
> think does not belong on the SMT list, which is why I ended my email
> by saying "Again, how about saving SMT list for the discussion of music theory?"

How foolish of us to have thought the apparent content of your argument was actually the point you wanted to make!

So far in this discussion, there's been nothing to joke about. Of course I can't speak for everyone, but I'm sure there are others out there who, like myself, are quite happy to see this discussion going on. Especially on smt- talk, we can get so wrapped up in academic arguments that we lose sight of the real-world events that affect us.

Rather than being considered off-topic, threads such as this should be more common on smt-talk. Our discipline faces an array of political challenges, and we continue to ignore them at our peril. Unless we make the right political moves, in a few decades there may be nobody left to debate the notation of second-inversion chords at certain phrase-endings.

What would Schenker have thought if he knew we were so disengaged from the political circumstances we live in?

Christopher Antila

MA Music Theory Graduate, McGill University
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