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Daniel Walden, Ph.D. Candidate in Music, Presidential Scholar, Harvard University, Presents at Hartt Music Theory Colloquium


Posted 11/08/2018
Submitted by Ashley Fedigan
Category: Campus Announcements, Student Announcements

Daniel Walden, Ph.D. candidate in music, Presidential Scholar, Harvard University, will give a presentation entitled " Sound Atoms and Mother’s Milk: Johanna Kinkel’s Emancipatory Vision of Music Theory" for the Hartt Music Theory Colloquium on Tuesday, November 13, 2018, at 12:15 PM in Room 21 at The Hartt School, University of Hartford. His presentation is open to students and faculty of the University.

The varied career of Johanna Kinkel (b. 1810, Bonn; d. 1858, London) spanned Europe and disparate fields, but was laser focused on a single principle: “emancipation.”   As novelist, activist, pianist, composer, and theorist, Kinkel uncovered common strands linking political oppression to the formal constraints of harmonic theory; her treatises suggested a reinterpretation of the history of theory as radically reimaginative in a musical context as the writings of her associate Karl Marx. Kinkel argued that the discrete pitches of the tempered scale locked musicians into a hierarchical system fundamentally opposed to the continuous sonic fluctuations of the natural environment epitomized in the sounds of water and wind. She called on musicians to liberate the smallest “Klang-Atome” to take on an equal role in supporting musical structures. The “mother’s milk” that would sustain composers in their quest towards the harmonies of the spheres was microtonalism, not a diatonicism historically associated with masculinity, order, and strength. Daniel Walden's presentation weaves together Kinkel’s theoretical arguments with insights from her personal and professional history, political articles for the Neue Bonner Zeitung, novels and shorter works of fiction, and the reception of her ideas to uncover what her theories of music can teach us today about the dynamics of harmonic structure and gender in the field of music theory.

Daniel Walden is a Ph.D. candidate in music and Presidential Scholar at Harvard University, whose work on topics ranging from Ancient Greek music theory to twentieth-century musical technologies in Europe and Asia examines the intersections between musical theory, technology and media, and political history.  Walden is a graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory and received the MPhil in Music Studies with Distinction at University of Cambridge, where he was a Gates Cambridge Scholar and Derek Cornwell Scholar in Instrumental Performance. He has presented papers at the annual meetings of American Musicological Society, the Society for Ethnomusicology, the Society of Music Theory, the Renaissance Society of America, MOISA International Society for the Study of Greek and Roman Music and its Cultural Heritage. His articles have appeared in journals including History of the Humanities, Early Music History, Music Theory Online, Greek and Roman Musical Studies, and Keyboard Perspectives. His dissertation explores the transnational history of tuning and temperament in Europe and Asia between 1800-1945, examining how just-intonation theories and instruments influenced the development of academic musical studies by suggesting what in musical practice could be constituted as organic, original, or Other. Daniel is also a pianist and harpsichordist, and a Leonore Annenberg Fellow in the Performing Arts.  His debut CD, featuring Tristan Perich’s Dual Synthesis for harpsichord and electronics, was selected by the New York Times as one of the "Five Harpsichord Works You Need to Know."

Daniel Walden's presentation is being sponsored by the music theory program of The Hartt School, University of Hartford and is a part of the Hartt Music Theory Colloquium which is a platform for undergraduate and graduate music theory majors and minors to present their analytical work and for visiting scholars to share their research and ideas with students and faculty of The Hartt School and the University of Hartford.