April 14, 2015—The University of Oregon is honored to welcome William Caplin, the James McGill Professor of Music Theory at McGill University, Montreal, for a scholarly residency on the UO campus the last week of April.
The UO School of Music and Dance has named Caplin a 2015 Trotter Visiting Professor, a mark of distinction reserved for honored guest artists and scholars.
William Caplin has taught at McGill University since 1978; he was appointed James McGill Professor of Music Theory in January 2005 and reappointed in 2012. Caplin specializes in the theory of musical form. He regularly teaches courses in tonal theory and analysis, nineteenth-century analysis, tonal composition, history of theory, as well as various seminars and proseminars in music theory.
Caplin’s extensive investigations into formal procedures of late-eighteenth-century music culminated in the 1998 book Classical Form: A Theory of Formal Functions for the Instrumental Music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven (Oxford University Press), which won the 1999 Wallace Berry Book Award from the Society for Music Theory. A textbook version, Analyzing Classical Form: An Approach for the Classroom (Oxford University Press), was published in November 2013.
Caplin completed undergraduate studies in music composition at the University of Southern California and graduate studies in the history and theory of music at the University of Chicago. He pursued additional studies in musicology at the Berlin Technical University.
Caplin served as President of the Society for Music Theory from November 2005 to November 2007.
Public Events featuring William Caplin:
Tuesday, April 28
Workshop: “Cadential Articulation in J. S. Bach’s Fugues from The Well-Tempered Clavier”
1:30 p.m., Collier House
Cadence traditionally occupies a marginal position in the theory of fugue, with the identifications of subject, answer, countersubject, episode, stretto, etc. largely dominating theoretical and analytical discussion. In that fugue is not a “formal type” (akin to sonata, rondo, concerto), cadences do not appear in any regularized way to define form. But most fugues contain one or more cadences, and the ways in which they function is a topic of major analytical interest. After discussing some general principles of cadential articulation in fugue—distinguishing especially between cadences that are “subject-ending” and those that arise outside the context of the subject—the workshop will analyze a handful of fugues drawn from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier to see the varying roles that cadence can play in this genre.
Wednesday, April 29
Public Lecture: “Beyond the Classical Cadence: Thematic Closure in Early Romantic Music”
3:15 p.m., Browsing Room, Knight Library
Caplin will examine the fate of the classical cadence in the hands of the first generation of Romantic composers (Schubert, Chopin, Schumann). Caplin identifies six characteristics of Romantic compositional style that bear on issues of cadential function and explores other aspects of musical form that distinguish Romantic practice from the earlier classical style.
Thursday, April 30
Workshop: “Beyond the Classical Cadence, Part II: Thematic Closure in Mid to late Nineteenth-Century Repertories”
1 p.m., Room 150, Frohnmayer Music Building
The workshop will explore a set of techniques associated with ways in which cadential closure is modified and extended in music of the second half of the nineteenth century. Seven specific devices will be defined and illustrated in works by Liszt, Wagner, Brahms, and Strauss: (1) premature tonic arrival, (2) pre-dominant arrival, (3) plagal cadence, (4) “feigned” plagal cadence, (5) “detour” cadence, (6) prolongational closure, and (7) “iconic” cadence. Additional excerpts from symphonies by Bruckner, Mahler, and Sibelius will be examined in light of these devices.
Caplin’s visit to the UO campus is facilitated by the university’s interdisciplinary THEME colloquium of faculty and student researchers in music theory (T), musicology/music history (H), ethnomusicology (E), and music education (ME).