Ron Alexander Memorial Lectures in Musicology: Megan Kaes Long

Date and Time
Monday March 11th, 2024
4:30 - 6:00pm
Braun Music Center
541 Lasuen Mall, Stanford, CA 94305
Room 103
About this event

Topic: Mapping the Gamut: Solmization Pedagogy, Tonal Compass, and 16th Century Counterpoint

Abstract: Renaissance musicians learned to sing using hexachordal solmization, a precursor to our modern solfège systems. Solmization instruction books often describe their goal as building “musical understanding” in their students—something deeper and richer than merely training singers to sight-read effectively. This talk explores what musical understanding might have looked like in 16th-century polyphony, arguing that solmization represents implicit knowledge about tonal space and how to navigate it. Using examples drawn from Palestrina’s masses and motets, we will see how attention to solmization makes Palestrina’s tonal strategies transparent, and how solmization shaped the tonal system of 16th-century music more broadly.

Megan Long is Associate Professor of Music Theory at Oberlin College. Her research focuses on the vocal music of the 16th and 17th centuries, and the theoretical and pedagogical discourses that surrounded music-making in this period. Her book Hearing Homophony: Tonal Expectation at the Turn of the Seventeenth Century was published by Oxford University Press in 2020 and won the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award. She was also recently awarded Oberlin's Excellence in Teaching Award.

Admission Information

  • Free admission
  • Note that Stanford University guidelines now state that masks are no longer required, but are strongly recommended. We encourage you to continue wearing masks for the comfort of our patrons, staff, and artists. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test is no longer required.
Event Sponsor
Department of Music