Volume 7 (2021)

“Oops!… I Did It Again”: The Complement Chorus in Britney Spears, The Backstreet Boys, and *NSYNC

Megan Lavengood (George Mason University)

Latest Issue: 7.6 (October 2021)


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A distinctive feature of several turn-of-the-millennium singles performed by the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, and Britney Spears is the presence of the “complement chorus,” a special, third appearance of the chorus that appears after the bridge. The complement chorus brandishes a new melodic line with a distinct rhythmic profile, allowing for a high-energy climax rather than a mere restatement of the chorus, as it imbues the now-familiar chorus melody with new vigor. Complement choruses seem to have been a trick used exclusively by the producer Max Martin and his associates during the years 1998–2000, making them a distinctly Y2K phenomenon.

Keywords: pop music, post-millennial pop music, Max Martin, boy bands, musical form

DOI: http://doi.org/10.30535/smtv.7.6

Understanding Turkish Classical Makam: Identifying Modes Through Characteristic Melodies

Adem Merter Birson (Hofstra University) with guest Ahmet Erdoğdular (Makam New York, Inc.)

Volume 7.5 (July 2021)


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In Turkish classical music, characteristic melodies known as “çeşni-s” form essential building blocks in makam, the modal system of the Middle East. Since around the beginning of the Turkish Republic (1923), Turkish musicologists adapted the makam system for Western staff notation and devised an approach to music theory based on scales. This modern approach, while currently widespread, has its limitations; in particular, the makam scales do not reflect the characteristic melodies that are often so important to the idiomatic expression of makam. For this reason, one needs extended interaction with experienced musicians in order to learn how to interpret the scores, via an oral form of pedagogy traditionally known as “meşk.”

Keywords: makam, modes, Turkish music, characteristic melody

DOI: http://doi.org/10.30535/smtv.7.5


I Don’t Care if I Never Get Back: Optimism and Ascent in “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”

Michael Buchler (Florida State University)

Volume 7.4 (June 2021)


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The chorus of “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” (Von Tilzer and Norworth, 1908) is familiar to anyone who has attended baseball games in North America. However, relatively few people are aware that there is an introductory verse that poetically and contrapuntally motivates and anticipates the well-known chorus. This video article demonstrates some relationships between the verse and chorus and also challenges an earlier analysis that views this song through the lens of common-practice melodic norms.

Keywords: baseball, Tin Pan Alley, Schenkerian analysis, ascent, Broadway songs, narrative

DOI: http://doi.org/10.30535/smtv.7.4


A Film Scene for Schoenberg’s Begleitungsmusik zu einer Lichtspielscene

Orit Hilewicz (Eastman School of Music) and Stephen Sewell (Brooklyn, NY)

Volume 7.3 (March 2021)


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This article presents a wordless analytic interpretation of Begleitungsmusik zu einer Lichtspielscene, Op. 34, 1929–1930, by Arnold Schoenberg, performed by Takuo Yuasa and the Ulster Orchestra (2002), courtesy of Naxos of America, Inc.

For a gloss on this video, see Orit Hilewicz, 2021, “Schoenberg’s Cinematographic Blueprint: A Programmatic Analysis of Begleitungsmusik zu einer Lichtspielscene (1929–1930),” MTO 27.1, http://mtosmt.org.

DOI: http://doi.org/10.30535/smtv.7.3


Dance as Music in George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco

Kara Yoo Leaman (Oberlin College)

Volume 7.2 (February 2021)


Link to notes

In George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, a neoclassical ballet choreographed in 1941 to J. S. Bach’s Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins (BWV 1043), there is a memorable passage in which ten dancers hop on pointe while creating surprising visual accents against the music and against each other. The off-beat accents reflect the jazzy character of the ballet, and the pattern they articulate artfully relates to a metrically dissonant rhythmic motive in Bach’s score.

Keywords: J. S. Bach, George Balanchine, dance, ballet, choreomusical, audiovisual

Excerpts of Concerto Barocco used with permission from the New York City Ballet.


Music Appreciation Through Animation: Percy Scholes’s ‘AudioGraphic’ Piano Rolls

Stephanie Probst (University of Cologne)

Volume 7.1 (January 2021)


Link to notes

From 1925-30, British music educator Percy A. Scholes spearheaded an initiative for music appreciation by means of the player piano. The series “AudioGraphic Music” featured select works from the musical canon on the Aeolian Company’s piano rolls. In addition to their function as sound recordings, Scholes prepared the rolls as visual artefacts with introductory texts, pictures, and analytical commentary. This video article explores the analytical and pedagogical potential of these rolls as tools for music listeners and highlights how they foreshadowed recent innovation in musical animation.

Keywords: player piano, music rolls, music appreciation, public music theory, Percy Scholes, J. S. Bach, fugue

DOI: http://doi.org/10.30535/smtv.7.1


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