“Confronting Racism and Sexism in American Music Theory,” by Phil Ewell

NOW AVAILABLE, On Music Theory, and Making Music More Welcoming for Everyone, University of Michigan Press.

Check out my blog post for RILM’s Bibliolore, “Erasing Colorasure in American Music Theory, and Confronting Demons from our Past.”

I wrote the following six blog posts after my plenary talk, “Music Theory’s White Racial Frame,” at the Society for Music Theory Annual Meeting in November 2019. This talk was based on a long article, “Music Theory and the White Racial Frame,” that appeared in Music Theory Online in June 2020. After the talk I was awestruck by the reaction. Hundreds of people from all over the world reached out to thank me for raising the issues I did. Subsequently I had many lengthy discussions with senior colleagues in the field but, despite stated good intentions, I realized that they were actually uninterested in true antiracist and antisexist structural change. These six posts grew out of these discussions and the work that I did prior to my talk. It is my hope that they can instigate constructive dialog so that we can begin to make real antiracist/antisexist change in music theory. It is best to read in order. Enjoy!

  1. The Myth of Race and Gender Neutrality in Music Theory
  2. Race, Gender, and Their Intersection in Music Theory
  3. Music Theory’s Quantitative and Qualitative Whiteness
  4. Beethoven Was an Above Average Composer—Let’s Leave It at That
  5. New Music Theory
  6. Music Theory’s Future