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IU Jacobs School of Music professor publishes book about Igor Stravinsky

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Gretchen Horlacher, chair of the Music Theory Department at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, took time on a recent sabbatical to write an innovative analytical model for Igor Stravinsky's compositions. The result of her work is the recently released monograph Building Blocks: Repetition and Continuity in the Music of Stravinsky (Oxford University Press).

The book presents a fresh, insightful approach to the work of this iconic composer and the theoretical constructs behind his compositions.

Horlacher argues that Stravinsky's music exists at once in a state of stasis and continuity. Her analyses measure this pull of opposites, distinguishing the driven from the tentative and the exuberant from the gentle. Using the composer's sketch materials, she shows how Stravinsky's manipulations of repetitive melodies invoke a spectrum of effects in a quintessentially modern way.

"It has been especially interesting to study Stravinsky's revisions of his own works-in-progress and to decipher how he ordered his melodic repetitions by using colored pencils, arrows and other instructions," said Horlacher. "I am grateful to my colleagues in the Music Theory Department for their many helpful comments, to the Jacobs School of Music for a sabbatical and to Indiana University for an Arts and Humanities grant, all of which allowed me to complete the book."

About Gretchen Horlacher

Gretchen Horlacher has a Ph.D. in Music Theory from Yale University. She taught at the University of California-Riverside and UC-Santa Barbara and became chair of the Jacobs School's Music Theory Department in 2008.

Horlacher, Gretchen
Gretchen Horlacher
Print-Quality Photo

Horlacher has a special interest in the study of rhythm and meter. Her recent work deals with music of Stravinsky and Reich, and she had a research fellowship from the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel, Switzerland, to study Stravinsky's manuscripts.

She has had articles and reviews published in Music Theory Spectrum, Journal of Music Theory, Intégral, Music Theory Online and the Mitteilungen der Paul Sacher Stiftung. She has served as secretary for the Society for Music Theory and as chair of its Program Committee.

She is also a pianist, having studied with Malcolm Bilson, and received the prix d'excellence from the École de Musique in Fontainebleau.