For Journalists

Music Publicity
Phone: 812-855-9846
E-mail: musicpub[at]indiana [dot] edu

Kyle Adams

Associate Professor of Music (Music Theory); Chair, Department of Music Theory

Contact Information:
Simon Center, M225K


Music Theory

  • Ph.D., Doctor of Philosophy, City University of New York, 2006
  • M.M., Master of Music, Mannes College of Music, 1999
  • B.M., Bachelor of Music, Mannes College of Music, 1997

Kyle Adams is associate professor and chair of the Department of Music Theory, and aural skills coordinator at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He earned his Ph.D. from the City University of New York in 2006, where his dissertation explored chromaticism in pre-tonal music. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano from the Mannes College of Music. Prior to joining the faculty at the Jacobs School, Adams taught courses in music theory, ear training, and keyboard skills at Mannes, Queens College, and Hunter College.
His bifocal research agenda involves music of the sixteenth century and hip-hop music. In sixteenth-century music, his work deals with tonal structure; to that end, he has published articles on the modes of polyphony and on Renaissance chromaticism in Theoria and in the Journal of Music Theory. Adams’ hip-hop research attempts to model the musical and rhythmic aspects of rap lyrics and how they relate to the underlying beat. He has published on these topics in Music Theory Online, Music Theory Spectrum, and the Cambridge Companion to Hip-Hop.

In addition to his research and teaching, Adams continues to work as an accompanist, primarily for singers and brass instrumentalists.

Select Publications

“What Did Danger Mouse Do? The Grey Album and Musical Composition in Configurable Culture,” Music Theory Spectrum, 37/1 (Spring 2015), 7-24.

“The Musical Analysis of Hip-Hop,” The Cambridge Companion to Hip-Hop, ed. Justin A. Williams (Cambridge, 2014).

“Mode Is Real: A Re-examination of Polyphonic Modality,” Theoria 19 (2012), 32–64.

“A New Theory of Chromaticism from the Late Sixteenth to the Early Eighteenth Century,” Journal of Music Theory, 53/2 (Fall 2009), 255–304.

“On the Metrical Techniques of Flow in Rap Music,” Music Theory Online, 15/4 (October 2009)

“Aspects of the Music/Text Relationship in Rap,” Music Theory Online, 14/2 (June 2008).