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    Paper: Philip Ewell’s White Racial Framework in Music Theory and Cognitive Science

    I have recently posted a paper to SSRN: Philip Ewell’s White Racial Framework in Music Theory and Cognitive Science.  A key point of the paper is that cognitive psychologists have shown that Schenker's approach to analysis reflects how the brain perceives and processes music.  After writing this paper, I am advocating that music theorists further research how brain science affects analytical systems.

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    • 4 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
    • Warning to readers: this paper is posted in a repository and does not represent peer reviewed work. That doesn't mean it is right or wrong, just that no music theorists, neuroscientists, or cognitive scientists have reviewed this work yet.

      --Jason Yust

       

    • Jason, You are correct that I posted this to a repository.  I would like to note that the studies I cited that concluded that Schenker's theories reflect how the brain perceives and processes music were peer reviewed.

    • I myself am a critic of Schenkerian theories (an upcoming article is devoted to that criticism) but I have never seen anything racist is them. Besides, I had the occasion to meet with Philip Ewell at two or three International conferences (St. Petersburg 2013, Leuven (?) 2014, and Moscow 2015). At that time he talked like an ardent Schenkerian supporter and he got seriously irritated when I read my critical paper on Schenker in Moscow. Thereofre, I cannot explain the sudden turn in Philip's opinion towards Schenker and his foillowers...

    • Thereofre, I cannot explain the sudden turn in Philip's opinion towards Schenker and his foillowers[sic]...

      This is pure speculation, but I wonder if he observed some form of racist attitude creeping into his own analysis, and that is what he was responding to. Self-reflection is always a good practice, so that one doesn't go down a path they don't intend. I'm not sure, however, that one should take the results of self-reflection to stand for the whole field. Nevertheless, if he observed something wrong about his own practice, it is worth identifying and pointing out to the greater community.