Guest Lecture: Roger Mathew Grant

Event Date: 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 - 3:30pm to 4:45pm

Event Date Details: 

Event Location: 

  • Music Room 1145

Event Price: 

Admission is free.

Event Contact: 

Adriane Hill
Marketing and Communications Manager
UC Santa Barbara Department of Music
(805) 893-3230
Roger Mathew Grant (Assistant Professor of Music at Wesleyan University), will present a lecture entitled “The Musical Origins of Contemporary Affect Theory” on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 from 3:30-4:45 p.m. in Music Room 1145. Admission is free.
Talk Title:
“The Musical Origins of Contemporary Affect Theory”
In this talk, I sketch a genealogy of affect theory from the early modern era through to the present day, demonstrating the central significance of music for this history. I argue that the theory of affect we have inherited today has its origins in eighteenth-century aesthetic debates concerning music’s capacity to function as a sign and to move its listeners. In the early modern era, the affects were important components of an elaborate semiotic system that sought to explain the impact of art. Today, by stark contrast, affect is often explicitly opposed to theories of the sign and of representation.  The genealogy I trace in this talk demonstrates how affect theories became separated from theories of representation, and it illustrates the central role that music played in this separation. Finally, in unfolding this genealogy of affect theory with a distinct focus on music, I draw attention to the dialectical nature of thought on affect; I offer a new perspective on why and how patterns in affect theory systematically recur through history.
Roger Mathew Grant is Assistant Professor of Music at Wesleyan University; for academic year 2016–2017 he is also an External Faculty Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center. His journal articles have appeared in Critical InquiryMusic Theory SpectrumEighteenth-Century Music, and the Journal of Music Theory. His first book, Beating Time and Measuring Music in the Early Modern Era, was published in the Oxford Studies in Music Theory series at Oxford University Press (2014) and won the Emerging Scholar Award from the Society for Music Theory. In addition to his academic work, he has also worked on the creation of new and newly-imagined operas. Most recently he collaborated on an installation of The Magic Flute at NYU’s 80WSE gallery. Holland Cotter of The New York Times listed the piece among the “Best in Art of 2015.”