Tuesday, November 08, 2005

That fine line between idiocy and genius

Frank Samarotto of Indiana University took it upon himself to create a list of bad dissertation titles.

I have to say, I'd really want to read #4, 8 and 10.
1. Uncertainty in Music: A Definitive Survey

2. The Catalan Influence on the French Augmented Sixth Chord in the Music of Engelbert Humperdinck

3. The Voicing of the Final Chord in Music of the Classical Period

4. A Syncategorematically Recursive Hedra-Lattice of Poly-PC Postponement: A Theory of Atonal Silence

5. Heinrich Schenker: Threat or Menace?

6. Prolonging the Agony: A Schenkerian Approach to Muzak in the Dentist's Office

7. “Where Are All My Favorite Notes?” A Statistical Tabulation of Every Pitch-Class in the Serial Music of Webern

8. A Violist Walked into a Barline: Rhythm and Meter in the Structure of Viola Jokes

9.Three Times a Lady: Triple Counterpoint in the Music of Britney Spears

10. The Whole Step: Our Misunderstood Friend

7 comments:

Lisa Hirsch said...

Oh, you have to admit that the two Schenker titles are hilarious to anyone who has lived through the analysis wars.

Scott Spiegelberg said...

Hilarious, yes. Something I'd want to read, (okay, maybe).

triticale said...

I'm trying to decide whether Engelbert Humperdinck the composer or Engelbert Humperdinck the pop singer would make it worse.

The one on the voicing of the final chord could be interesting. Consider, if you will, the influence of Jimi Hendrix on the final chord of Junior Brown's rendition of the Sugarfoot Rag.

Ben.H said...

I could have sworn someone would have already done Number 7. It would certainly help to edit down Webern so you didn't have to sit through a whole piece waiting for the good bits.

Scott Spiegelberg said...

Ben H.: Webern isn't that long to begin with. His whole oper fit on four CDs. Besides, #7 would be more about checking on Webern's orthodoxy. Did he truly spread the love all around, or did he emphasize certain pitch classes. The latter leads down the slippery slope to tonality, that evil temptress.

triticale: I'm thinking the pop singer would be worse. But then Hansel and Gretel pops into my head...

Anonymous said...

One of my teachers in ethnomusicology told me that he wanted to write a thesis titled Dinner Music among Cannibals.

Scott Spiegelberg said...

I think that one belongs on the list. But then, one of my colleagues in the English department specializes in cannibalism in literature of the 119th century. Some of his papers have titles of a similar vein (pun intended).