Author Archives: Shay Loya

The Society for Music Analysis’ Postgraduate Writing Club: First meeting at City University London

Clockwise, from left: Becky Thumpston, Jun Zubillaga-Pow, Olga Sologub, Kirstie Hewlett

Huddled around a table, in the intimate setting of Room C143 at the Tait Building, four students from four different universities  spearheaded the first meeting of the Society for Music Analysis (SMA) Postgraduate Writing Club. It was hosted on 1st December, 2012 by Dr Shay Loya on behalf of the Centre for Music Studies at City University London. The organizer was Kirstie Hewlett, a postgraduate student from the University of Southampton, and the idea behind her initiative was simple enough:  to form an analysis-centred study group, comprised of postgraduate students from around the country, which will gather periodically to discuss at length extracts from dissertations or complete papers . This first meeting was specifically designed as a ‘dry run’ for the RMA conference this January. And so Becky Thumpston (Keele University), Olga Sologub (University of Manchester) and Jun Zubillaga-Pow (Kings College London), presented one after the other papers that were still in-progress though at an advanced, nearly finished stage. This gave each one of them an opportunity to focus on the delivery. A frank exchange of views about the more memorable as well as problematic aspects of each paper followed. Talking points ranged from pitching the paper to the target audience to the relationship between theory and analysis. (To save time and allow more discussion, Hewlett graciously withdrew her paper.)

One of the admirable qualities of this group is their self-sufficiency. They have corresponded about their research independently of supervision, and have invested their own time and money on a Saturday morning to discuss it in depth. It was an initiative worthy of the Centre for Music Studies’ support.

Music Analysis and the SMA: a double anniversary

Michael Spitzer opening the SMA’s ‘A Celebration of Analysis’, 21-22 September 2012

Many thanks for the warm welcome!

For my first item, I’d just like to report from a symposium I helped organize as a committee member of the Society for Music Analysis (SMA). This year, the journal Music Analysis turned thirty years old, and the SMA twenty one. In honour of this double anniversary, the SMA held a symposium titled ‘A Cerebration of Analysis’ at London’s Institute of Musical Research (IMR) in Senate House, September 21-22. It featured Julian Horton, Adam Ockelford, John Koslovsky, Elizabeth Eva Leach, Daniel Leech-Wilkinson, Nicholas Marston, Danuta Mirka, Nicholas Reyland, Michael Spitzer, and Edward Venn. There was a special ‘Schenker Documents Online’ session convened by Ian Bent and William Drabkin, and Richard Cohn and Jonathan Dunsby were the Special Keynote Speakers.

Arnold Whittall addressing the SMA delegates

At the end of the first day, Arnold Whittall — the elder statesman of music analysis in the UK and one of the founders of the discipline (if we can call it that, the debate is still ongoing) — was refreshingly optimistic about the future  of analysis, despite changing fashions, withering attacks on its right to exist, etc. It is my understanding that this text will be published in the next issue of Music Analysis. More extensive reviews of the symposium itself will be published in the SMA’s Newsletter (forthcoming this October I hope), which yours truly is editing. In the meantime do have a look in the SMA’s website, which includes the programme and plenty of photos (captions are still work in progress, though):

Finally, a note to all postgrads: the SMA organizes special conferences for students (see for example and there are also informal meetings and events organized by our student reps (please get in touch with either Suzie or Kirstie via; their blog is on It’s a great way to meet students with similar interests, get conference practice and so on, and the SMA helps with travel and accommodation bursaries. The good news is that until the end of 2013 student membership is free — please have a look and do take advantage: