Steven Rings, Professor of Music at University of Chicago

“Here’s Your Throat Back, Thanks for the Loan: On Dylan’s Voices”

Co-sponsored by the Program in American Studies

Monday, November 12

4:30pm, Woolworth 106

Steven Rings’s research focuses on transformational theory, phenomenology, popular music, and questions of music and meaning. Animating all of his work is an abiding interest in the relationship between music theory and broadly humanistic inquiries into music as a cultural practice. His book Tonality and Transformation (Oxford, 2011) develops a transformational model of tonal hearing, employing it in interpretive essays on music from Bach to Mahler. Two new book projects are under way, one on Bob Dylan’s fifty-year performing career, and another on the relationship between musical interpretation and musical experience. In other recent work, Rings has focused on the music of Gabriel Fauré and the writings of philosopher Vladimir Jankélévitch. Recent graduate seminars have covered topics such as Lewinian transformational theory, musical presence, semiotics, and the music of Bela Bartók. Rings also teaches tonal and post-tonal theory at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as a course on musical interpretation and criticism in the college Core. Before becoming a music theorist, Rings was active as a classical guitarist, performing in the U.S. and in Portugal, where he was Professor of Guitar at the Conservatório Regional de Angra do Heroísmo.

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