Article By Dr. Alexander Martin Featured In Music Theory Online

The latest issue of Music Theory Online ( features a substantial scholarly article by Stetson School of Music professor, Dr. Alexander Martin. Music theorists consider MTO one of the most prestigious journals in the field today. According to the journal’s home page, MTO “is one of the flagship journals of the Society for Music Theory. It is a peer-reviewed open-access electronic journal of research and scholarship in music theory, music analysis, and related disciplines.”

Dr. Martin’s article is entitled “Tonal Ebb, Sunken II Chords, and Text-Music Correspondences in Robert Schumann’s Lieder.” In it, he finds associations between an uncommon chord progression that conveys a sense of backward “ebb” in an otherwise prevailing forward tonal “flow” and moments of inwardness in the poetry in songs by Robert Schumann (1810–1856). To illustrate his new musical concept of a “sunken II chord,” Dr. Martin develops an analogy between the chord progression under consideration and a special technique from origami, i.e., the Japanese art of paper-folding.

The three ensuing song analyses highlight where sunken II chords in the music artfully express the meaning in the text and feature several intricate musical figures called voice leading graphs. The latter are interpretive in nature and aim to show different levels of hierarchical musical structure using little more than Western staff notation itself. Dr. Martin is an expert in this form of graphic analysis, which is sometimes called Schenkerian analysis after the Austrian music theorist Heinrich Schenker (1868–1935) who pioneered it in the early 20th century, and which is also known as structural analysis, linear analysis, or prolongational analysis.

Stetson students interested in learning this kind of analysis are encouraged to contact Dr. Martin for more information.

Dr. Martin is Assistant Professor of Music Theory at the Stetson School of Music and will serve as Director of Music Theory in the upcoming 2022/2023 academic year.

The full article is accessible online for free by visiting

One thought on “Article By Dr. Alexander Martin Featured In Music Theory Online

  1. Hello, and I just wanted to say that this is absolutely fascinating!  Congratulations to Dr. Martin, and if he can explain this in terms simple enough for a layman to follow, I would be very much interested in attending such a presentation/demonstration at Stetson next fall or sometime. Dr. Richard J Gibson, Stetson alumnus and retired English professor (PS. the comment button for this article led me to something else entirely, so I thought I’d try a plain “reply” …. don’t know if this will even come through, but I figured it was worth a shot.)


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