James Marshall Baker Professor Emeritus of Music

James Baker, Professor of Music, has taught at Brown since 1983. He is Chair of the Department of Music, and served earlier in this position from 1991 to 1996. He received the B.A. from Yale University, with majors in Intensive English and Music Theory, and earned the Ph.D. at Yale in Music Theory. He has taught at the University of Virginia, Columbia University, and Yale, and has served as Editor of Music Theory Spectrum and the Journal of Music Theory. He was elected the first President of the New England Conference of Music Theorists. Baker's scholarship, which deals with theory and analysis of tonal and posttonal music, has been supported by fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities. His publications include The Music of Alexander Scriabin (New Haven, 1986), Music Theory in Concept and Practice (coedited with Jonathan Bernard and David Beach, Rochester, 1997), and numerous articles on music by such diverse composers as Mozart, Haydn, Liszt, Ives, and Webern. He teaches courses on harmony and voice leading in tonal music, analytical approaches to twentieth-century music, and analysis and performance.

Brown Affiliations

research overview

My research interests in music analysis include: 1) implication in tonal music (Schenker); 2) chromaticism in 18th-century music (Schoenberg); 3) post-tonal/serial music (various approaches, incl. pitch-class set analysis); 4) co-existence of tonal and extra-tonal relations in early 20th-c. music (combined approaches); 5) historical studies (Haydn, Liszt, Scriabin); 6) analysis and performance (topics, semiotics, hermeneutics); 7) music cognition.

research statement

My research in music theory covers a broad range of areas and approaches. I investigate the phenomenon of implication in tonal music, employing the Schenkerian model. A book on implication in music of the eighteenth-century is nearing completion, and volumes dealing with nineteenth- and twentieth-century music will follow. I have published several extensive studies of chromaticism in eighteenth-century music, based on an approach suggested by Schoenberg and Webern at the beginning of the twentieth century. My work on post-tonal and serial music uses a variety of approaches, including pitch-class set theory. I combine analytical methods to explore the co-existence of tonal and extra-tonal structural relations in post-tonal music. I have published cultural historical studies on Liszt and Scriabin. My courses in analysis and performance employ topical, semiotic, and hermeneutic approaches, in addition to those mentioned above. My work in music cognition includes a published article on the keyboard as basis for musical imaging in Western art music. I am a pianist, and, while I perform in concerts only occasionally, my teaching and lecturing continually address performance concerns.

funded research

Mellon Fellowship, Special Assistant Professor Leave, Barnard College, Columbia University, Fall 1981
American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, 1982-83
Brown University Curricular Development Grant (to revise Music 4), Summer 1988
Faculty Development Grant, Brown University, 1990-91
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for University Teachers, 1997-98