2016 sees a new venture for the SMA. Over the past year we have been busy developing a series of videos, driven by the aim to help widen participation in our discipline. Each episode provides an introduction to a different application of, or approach to analysis; this could range from elucidating a particular theory or analytical method to demonstrating how close analysis can inform broader historical, ideological or socio-cultural arguments. We hope the videos will provide an accessible route into analysis for anyone from teachers and lecturers looking for engaging pedagogical resources to individuals such as performers, musicologists, students or amateur musicians seeking tools to gain a deeper appreciation of musical texts.

Series 1 explores the relationship between analysis and other avenues of music scholarship, offering examples of the kinds of questions that can be raised and answered with analysis. In episode one, Julian Horton demonstrates how the close analysis of a work can inform our understanding of its historical value, taking as his case study Brahms’ First Symphony and its relationship to the broader development of the symphony in the nineteenth century. Allan Moore confronts the challenge of working with recordings as texts, analysing texture, timbre and the ‘sound box’ in tracks by The Beatles, The Police, Leona Lewis and Snow Patrol. Anne Hyland illustrates how formal and harmonic mechanisms can play on our perception of the passing of time, identifying retrospective or recollective techniques in the music of Schubert. And in the final episode of the series, Kenneth Smith (pictured next to the piano) uses his analysis to make connections between the music of Skryabin and the cultural, philosophical and psychological ideas that were in common currency at the time of composition.


Producing this series would not have been possible without the generous help and support of many people. First and foremost our speakers, who gave their time and knowledge free of charge and whose input was invaluable in creating a style of presentation that felt more like an intimate tutorial than a formal lecture; our crew, Neil Neenan (director), Jason Creasey (sound) and Max Brill (cameras and lighting), whose expertise and dedication shines through in the sleekness and professionalism of the videos; the Music Department at the University of Surrey, who allowed us to film for two days in their studios; and our colleagues in the SMA and on the Music Analysis editorial board, who helped to firm up the aims and outcomes of the project. Kenneth Smith, who oversaw the project as Executive Producer, and Shay Loya have been especially central to developing and realising the project. We hope that this collaborative effort will bear fruit in a rich resource for students, teachers and researchers, and become a staple and valued part of the SMA’s activities.

Episode one is scheduled for release in February 2016; all subsequent episodes will then appear monthly. The videos will be hosted on the SMA website along with supplementary content such as reading lists, diagrams, scores and playlists, and will also be available to stream on Vimeo and YouTube. Please keep an eye out for emails from the SMA Information Officer, Shay Loya, with details about new episodes or subscribe to our Vimeo and YouTube feeds to keep informed about new releases. We will be charting the reach, impact and application of the videos in teaching and learning during and after the launch of each episode. If you would like to participate in a feedback group or provide individual constructive comments on the first series then please email Helen Thomas at development@sma.ac.uk.

We also hope to broaden our net in future episodes and are open to suggestion for suitable topics and themes to tackle. If you have any ideas about what you’d like us to cover, please get in touch at development@sma.ac.uk.

Kirstie Hewlett (Producer)
Helen Thomas (Production Coordinator / SMA Membership Development Officer)