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Jennifer Beavers, assistant professor of music theory, is leading the SMT Pod.
Arts and Culture

Music to Our Ears

UTSA professors launch innovative podcast to explore music theory

A new podcast is breaking the mold on how researchers analyze music and tackle contemporary issues in music theory. SMT-Pod was launched in January by The Society for Music Theory as an audio scholarly publication. Jennifer Beavers, associate professor of music theory, and Thomas Yee, assistant professor of instruction in music theory, are among the global scholars behind the podcast.Beavers, who is the co-chair of SMT-Pod, spoke with Sombrilla Magazine about the new project.

Aside from yourself, what does the group behind the podcast look like?

We have a board of about 13 members from across the nation. I believe there are two associate professors at my level and the rest are junior faculty or Ph.D. students. We’re active for all the processes involved from running our call to proposals to sending it out to peer reviewers and working sort of in between the production team and peer reviewers.

It’s very involved from everything that goes up on the website to everything you hear.

People say music theory can be a little intimidating and a very complex subject. How is SMT-Pod going to change that notion?

We want to make it accessible to anyone who is interested in music or wants to go deeper into music theory. We try to reduce the jargon so that if you were to listen you would understand when we’re talking about stylistic competencies. The research is still very solid, but we’re trying to make it so it’s delivered in a simpler conversational modality to a larger audience.

What sort of topics do you hope to tackle?

We have a senior scholar in the field who is talking about “musicking while old.” We have stuff on Reddit communities and how it’s changing the world of scholarship. We have underrepresented women composers from the beginning of the 20th century to post-millennial punk. It is a little bit of everything. It’s breaking down a lot of boundaries.

The trailer for SMT-Pod’s first season.

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