SMT-V: The Society for Music Theory Videocast Journal

SMT-V is the open-access, peer-reviewed video journal of the Society for Music Theory. Founded in 2014, SMT-V publishes video essays that showcase research in music theory in a dynamic, audiovisual format, presented so as to have the potential to engage both specialists within the field as well as interested viewers outside the music theory community. The journal features a supportive and collaborative production process, and publishes several videos each year. Read more about SMT-V here.

Latest Issue: 9.1 (January 2023)

Chelsea Oden (Adams State University)


Link to bibliography

Flight is a popular visual metaphor in partner dance scenes, but what about these scenes evokes the feeling of flight? This video examines four partner dance scenes from recent popular film to explore how musical meter and timbre can cause even the most visually grounded dance to feel airborne. Drawing on theories of embodiment, I show how these scenes use triple and compound meters to create a sense of weightlessness through lilt and a sense of timelessness through lyric time. From a timbral perspective, I propose three sound envelopes—sparkling, lyrical, and buoyant—that reference embodied experiences to evoke starry skies, gliding flight paths, and a playful push and pull against gravity. Together, I argue, timbre and meter in partner dance scenes can sweep us off our feet, making tangible the famous words of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Prince and Cinderella: “We are dancing, We are flying.”

Keywords: Music Theory, Timbre, Meter, Film Music, Dance, Flight


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