Oxford Seminar in Music Theory & Analysis

The new Oxford Seminar in Music Theory & Analysis (OSiMTA) meets two or three times a term. Its convenors are Professor Jonathan Cross and Dr Sebastian Wedler.

Our conception of theory and analysis is critical, plural and interdisciplinary. In shaping the seminars, we aim to reflect the broad range of activity taking place under the heading of theory and analysis today, as well as to challenge boundaries, embracing not only ‘conventional’ practices and histories of theory, but also new interdisciplinary approaches that engage with cultural studies, ethnomusicology, aesthetics and philosophy, psychology, performance studies, popular music studies, and so on. Speakers will include distinguished local, national and international scholars.

These seminars are open to all, including the general public. Sessions will last 90 minutes, refreshments are served, and lively discussion is encouraged. They take place on Wednesday afternoons, beginning at 16.30, in the Committee Room of the Music Faculty.

Regular updates will appear on these pages. You can also follow OSiMTA on Twitter.

For further information email Jonathan.Cross@music.ox.ac.uk or Sebastian.Wedler@music.ox.ac.uk


Next seminar: Wednesday 13 February 2019

Julian Horton (University of Durham)

‘Rethinking Sonata Failure: Structure and Process in Mendelssohn’s Overture Die schöne Melusine

Julian Horton is Professor of Music Theory and Analysis at Durham University. He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he also held a Research Fellowship. He has been Associate Professor and Head of School at University College Dublin, and has also taught at King’s College, London. His research focuses on the analysis and reception of nineteenth-century instrumental music, with special interests in the music of Bruckner and Brahms, the analysis of sonata form, and the theory of tonality. His monograph Bruckner’s Symphonies: Analysis, Reception and Cultural Politics is published by Cambridge University Press. He is editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Symphony (2013) and Schubert (Routledge 2015), and co-editor with Lorraine Byrne Bodley of Schubert’s Late Music: History, Theory, Style (Cambridge University Press 2016) and Rethinking Schubert (Oxford University Press 2016). His article ‘John Field and the Alternative History of Concerto First-Movement Form’ (2011) was awarded the Westrup Prize of the Music and Letters Trust. In 2014, he was elected President of the Society for Music Analysis. In 2015, he was elected to the Council of the Royal Musical Association. In 2016, he was appointed Music Theorist in Residence to the Netherlands and Flanders.


Programme 2018–19

17 October 2018: Peter H. Smith (University of Notre Dame), ‘The “Type-2” Sonata Form in the Nineteenth Century: A Case Study from Mendelssohn’s Octet’

7 November 2018: Leah Broad (Christ Church, Oxford), ‘Purely incidental? Analysing theatre music’

21 November 2018: Richard Widdess (SOAS), ‘Analysis in real time: listeners’ perceptions of Indian music’

13 February 2019: Julian Horton (Durham University), ‘Rethinking sonata failure: structure and process in Mendelssohn’s Overture Die schöne Melusine

27 February 2019: Emily Tan (Merton College, Oxford), ‘Objective autonomy in Richard Strauss’s Oboe Concerto (TrV 292, 1945)’


Further details, titles and abstracts will be published here shortly.