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Award for Topic Theory volume

26 November 2015

Research by Dr Keith Chapin included in award-winning publication

The Oxford Handbook of Topic Theory, which includes new work by Dr Keith Chapin, has received a Citation of Special Merit from the Society for Music Theory. These Citations are awarded to publications that are, in the words of the SMT Executive Board, 'of extraordinary value to the discipline.'

“Learned Style and Learned Styles” by Dr Chapin, Senior Lecturer at the School of Music, is included in the Oxford Handbook of Topic Theory, edited by Danuta Mirka and published by Oxford University Press.

The volume explores the concept of musical topics, their identification, organisation and syntax, and distinguishes them from other uses of stylistic conventions in eighteenth-century music.

Dr Chapin’s contribution to the volume examines the tension in eighteenth-century music between learned styles – such as counterpoint, church style, and stile antico – and learned style – a special formation of texture that occurred within the norms of late eighteenth-century phrasing, harmony, and texture.

In a review of the volume for the Journal of the American Musicological Society (vol. 68, no. 2, 2015), John Rice singles out the chapter: ‘Reading Chapin’s beautifully organized “Learned Style and Learned Styles” I felt as if I were in the hands of a fine teacher, as he authoritatively and patiently guides readers through a thicket of potentially confusing terms.’

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