Date(s) - 04/30/2019
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Musicology Colloquium: Daniel K. L. Chua, “Towards an Intergalactic Music Theory of Everything”
ABSTRACT: This paper explores the possibility of a music theory for aliens, inspired by NASA’s Golden Record of Earth’s greatest hits rocketed into space in 1977 on the Voyager mission. The question is: why? Why explore such a posthuman-pro-alien idea? Is this just pie-in-the-sky for a distant future and a distant galaxy? I suggest that such speculations bring music theory back to earth and back to the future.
Daniel KL Chua is the Mr and Mrs Hung Hing-Ying Professor in the Arts and Professor of music at the University of Hong Kong. He received his BA and PhD in musicology from Cambridge University. Before joining Hong Kong University to head the School of Humanities, he was a Fellow and the Director of Studies at St John’s College, Cambridge, and later Professor of Music Theory and Analysis at King’s College London. He was a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Yale (2014-15), a Henry Fellow at Harvard (1992-3), and a Junior Research Fellow at Cambridge (1993-7). He is the recipient of the 2004 Royal Musical Association’s Dent Medal. He is currently the President of the International Musicological Society (2017-2022).He has written widely on music, from Monteverdi to Stravinsky, but is particularly known for his work on Beethoven, the history of absolute music, and the intersection between music, philosophy and theology. His publications include The ‘Galitzin’ Quartets of Beethoven (Princeton, 1994), Absolute Music and the Construction of Meaning (Cambridge, 1999), Beethoven and Freedom, (Oxford, 2017), ‘Rioting With Stravinsky: A Particular Analysis of the Rite of Spring’ (2007), and ‘Listening to the Self: The Shawshank Redemption and the Technology of Music’ (2011).