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Dr Keith Chapin


Keith Chapin Position: Senior Lecturer Email:
Telephone: +44(0)29 208 70925
Fax: +44(0)29 208 74379
Extension: 70925
Location: 37 Corbett Road (Annexe), Room 1.11

A native of Fairbanks, Alaska, Dr Keith Chapin developed early interests in music, languages and literature, and the sciences. He studied at Yale University, earning both a BA in music and an MM in viola performance. During this time, he studied viola with Jesse Levine and chamber music with the Tokyo Quartet. He earned his PhD at Stanford University with a dissertation entitled ‘From Tone System to Personal Inspiration: The Metaphysics of Counterpoint in 18th- and Early 19th-Century Germany’. Before coming to Cardiff University in 2011, he taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (2001–2002), Fordham University (New York City, 2002–2007), and the New Zealand School of Music (Wellington, 2008–2011). He has continued to perform intermittently as a chamber musician.

He has published widely on issues of aesthetics and the history of music theory between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries, and has focused in particular on the aesthetics of counterpoint, the German musical appropriation of French literary classicism and the music criticism of E.T.A. Hoffmann. He has given pre-performance lectures at San Francisco Opera and was a regular contributor on the programme Upbeat for Radio New Zealand Concert.

He has served as Editor of Eighteenth-Century Music, Associate Editor of 19th-Century Music and as a member of the editorial board of Actamusicologica. He currently sits on the editorial boards of Eighteenth-Century Music and 19th-Century Music.

He has been elected as Ordinary Member of Council for the Royal Musical Association. His term, which commenced on 1 January 2013, will run until 31 December 2015.

He has taught a variety of courses on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century music history, as well as advanced courses combining analysis and aesthetics with such focuses as Mozart’s string quartets, eighteenth-century definitions of sublimity and early twentieth-century performance style (e.g., Furtwängler and Klemperer).

Dr Chapin is currently the School of Music’s Erasmus and International Exchange Programme Coordinator.



‘Learned Style and Learned Styles’, in Danuta Mirka (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Topic Theory (New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2014)

‘Visuality Challenged and Transformed in Late 18th-Century Writings on Music’, in Cliff Eisen and Alan Davison (eds), Late Eighteenth-Century Music and Visual Culture (Turnhout: Brepols, forthcoming)

‘Temporal Modes and Symbolic Stakes: Strict Composition in Early Nineteenth-Century Europe’, in Jeanne Roudet (ed.), Alexandre Pierre François Boëly (1785–1858), ses contemporains et le style sévère (forthcoming)


Chapin, Keith and Andrew Clark (eds), Speaking of Music: Addressing the Sonorous, (New York: Fordham University Press, 2013)

Chapin, Keith and Lawrence Kramer (eds), Musical Meaning and Human Values, (New York: Fordham University Press, 2009)

Book Chapters, Journal Articles and Published Papers

‘Classicism/Neo-Classicism’, in Stephen Downes (ed.), Aesthetics of Music: Musicological Perspectives (London; New York: Routledge, 2014)

'Bach's Silence, Mattheson's Words: Professional and Humanist Ways of Speaking of Music', in Keith Chapin and Andrew Clark (eds), Speaking of Music: Addressing the Sonorous, (New York: Fordham University Press, 2013), 74-111.

‘Le contrepoint et ses logiques tonales au tournant du dix-neuvième siècle’, in Henri Gonnard (ed.), Regards sur la tonalité / Perspectives on Tonality (Sampzon: Delatour France, 2013), 197–210

‘“A Harmony or Concord of Several and Diverse Voices”: Autonomy in 17th-Century German Music Theory and Practice’, International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, 42/2 (2011), 219–255

‘Counterpoint: From the Bees or for the Birds? Telemann and Early Eighteenth-Century Quarrels with Tradition’, Music & Letters, 92/3 (2011), 377–409

‘Time and the Keyboard Fugue’, 19th-Century Music, 34/2 (2010), 186–207

‘Sublime Experience and Ironic Action: E. T. A. Hoffmann and the Use of Music for Life’, in Keith Chapin and Lawrence Kramer (eds), Musical Meaning and Human Values (New York: Fordham University Press, 2009), 32–58

‘Scheibe’s Mistake: Sublime Simplicity and the Criteria of Classicism’, Eighteenth-Century Music, 5/2 (2008), 165–177

‘Labor and Metaphysics in Hindemith’s and Adorno’s Statements on Counterpoint’, in Berthold Hoeckner (ed.), Apparitions: New Perspectives on Adorno and Twentieth-Century Music (London: Routledge, 2006), 19–40

‘Classicist Terms of Sublimity: Christian Friedrich Michaelis, Fugue, and Fantasy’, Ad parnassum: A Journal of Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century Instrumental Music,4/8 (2006), 115–139

‘Strict and Free Reversed: The Law of Counterpoint in Koch’s Musikalisches Lexikon and Mozart’s Zauberflöte’, Eighteenth-Century Music, 3/1 (2006), 91–107

‘Lost in Quotation: The Nuances behind E. T. A. Hoffmann’s Programmatic Statements’, 19th-Century Music, 30/ 1 (2006), 44–61

‘The Grammar of Musical Subjectivity: Two Versions of Counterpoint in Early Romantic Literature’, European Romantic Review, 13 (2002), 153–60

Other Output

Keith Chapin has published reviews and reports in Eighteenth-Century Music and Ad parnassum: A Journal of Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century Instrumental Music. He has translated both primary and secondary sources from German into English.


Keith Chapin is currently at work on two book projects. The first, The Cultures of Counterpoint in Eighteenth-Century Germany, is on the relationship between the aesthetics of counterpoint and German learned musicians’ attempts to reconceive their professional roles over the course of the eighteenth century. The second, Types of Musical Sublimity in the Eighteenth-Century, describes the different ideals of sublimity in circulation during the long eighteenth century and elaborates on their musical implications and manifestations. He is also at work with Andrew Clark (Fordham University) on a second co-edited book entitled Speaking of Music. This book examines the ways that scholars in different disciplines speak about music.

Other publication projects include commissioned book chapters on the ‘topic’ of the learned style in the eighteenth century, on classicism and neo-classicism, and on music theory and visual culture in late eighteenth-century Germany.

Research Papers and Public Lectures


The Neo-Classical and the Rhetorical Sublime: Gellert’s and C. P. E. Bach’s Musical Renditions of Gellert’s Geistliche Oden und Lieder (1757)’, American Musicological Society, Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA, 7–10 November 2013

‘Collisions of Sublimities: The Case of Gellert’s Geistliche Oden und Lieder (1757)’, departmental colloquia at the University of Birmingham (13 November 2012), Kings College London (5 December 2012), the University of Bristol (29 January 2013), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (2 May 2013), International Centre for Research on the Eighteenth Century, Martin-Luther-Universität-Halle-Wittenberg (7 May 2013), Universität zu Köln (14 May 2013), and Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main (15 May 2013)

‘Collisions of Sublimities: The Case of Gellert’s Geistliche Oden und Lieder (1757)’, Sublime et musique religieuse de Lalande à Haydn, Poitiers, France, 10 November 2012

‘Counterpoint and Nature: Strategies of Legitimation in the Long Eighteenth Century’, 19th Congress of the International Musicological Society, Rome, 1–7 July 2012

‘Musical Lightning Bolts: Longinus’s Examples, Boileau’s Simplicity, and the Eighteenth-Century Sublime’: University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand, 6 April 2011
‘Counterpoint and Visual Culture in Early Eighteenth-Century Germany’, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, 26 February 2010

‘Haydn, Time, and Mood’, International Musicological Conference ‘Joseph Haydn: Forms of Expression’, New Zealand School of Music, Wellington, New Zealand, 22–24 May 2009

‘The Escape from Enlightenment: The Limits of Music Theory in the Eighteenth Century’, ‘Speaking of Music’ Colloquium, Fordham University, New York, 22–23 February 2009

‘New Directions: Temporal Modes of the Strict Style in the early Nineteenth Century’, Alexandre Pierre François Boëly, ses contemporains et le style severe, Université Paris Sorbonne (Paris IV), Paris, 5–6 December 2008

‘The Rhythm of Counterpoint and the Representation of Time: Bach, Haydn, and the Et vitam venturi Fugue in the Missa in tempore belli’,  Schweizerische Musikforschende Gesellschaft, Basel, Switzerland, 18 November 2008; Université-François-Rabelais, Tours, France, 13 November 2008; American Musicological Society, Annual Meeting, Nashville, TN, 9–12 October 2008

‘From Absolute Music to Music of the Absolute: The Aspiration of Music to Language’, Joint Conference of the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism and the British Association of Romantic Studies, Bristol, 26–29 July 2007

‘Styles, Types, and the Aura of Beethoven’s Instrumental Music’, 18th Congress of the International Musicological Society, Zurich, Switzerland, 11–15 July 2007

‘Sublime Experience and Ironic Action: E. T. A. Hoffmann and the Use of Music for Life’, Musical Meaning and Human Values: A Colloquium with Lawrence Kramer, Fordham University, New York, 4–5 May 2007