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Avior Byron will present a paper 'Huberman as Beethoven' in the 2010 Israel Musicology Conference.   

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Avior Byron

My name is Avior Byron and I am a musicologist, blogger and composer. I write books, articles and a blog about music, performance, research, and theory. Read more at my about page

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What is THE best way to find scholarships?

10 Tips on how to find scholarships and funding

10 Tips on how to find scholarships and funding

One of the main problems that troubles both students and scholars in the academy, is how to find scholarships and funding to their studies or research projects. This is not a simple problem since it seems that there are many possible scholarships and grants to apply to, however, time is limited and in these days the competition is great. Even if you have the best research proposal, without funding, you may find yourself in great difficulties when trying to devote yourself to your studies. Finding funding for your academic work can be a major project in itself and you must be patient and systematic during this process. In this post I will suggest a few tips that might help you find scholarships, grants and other types of funding in a systematic, fast and efficient way.

1. Prepare in advance

It takes time to find all the potential scholarships, grants and fellowships that might fund your studies. Preparing in advance will help you not miss the deadlines. If you miss a deadline, you will probably have to wait a whole year before being able to apply.

            Another reason why preparing in advance is important, is because you might be dependant on other people for completing your application form or getting them to write for you recommendation letters. People in the academy tend to be very busy or they simply might be on vacation when you need them. Approaching them in advance will help you avoid begging them to help you, putting them in an inconvenient situation where they are being rushed, or simply missing the possibility that they will cooperate merely because the cannot adjust themselves to your irresponsible time table. 

2. Find web pages that have lists of relevant scholarships

The first place to find scholarship is on the web pages of the university that you plan to attend. These days I am desperately looking for funding sources for a Post-Doctorate in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Here is the web page that contains a list of scholarships. The Hebrew University has a scholarship database where you can look for funding according to your degree and research field. Other Universities have similar sites and databases. I have collected here some scholarship links for Post-Doctorate students (you can find here also pages that list many scholarships and grants). 

3. Contact people who deal with scholarships on a regular basis

One of the best sources for finding grants and scholarships is to ask your (potential) supervisor or other professors that have taught you in the past, two questions: (1) What scholarships and grants do you know of (make sure you write down their answers!). (2) Where can I find people who might know about such funding sources?

            Each university usually has a body that is in charge of research and development (here is the website of The Authority of Research and Development in the Hebrew University and here is a link to Humanity scholarships there). Learn the website of the equivalent body in your university and do not forget to call people that work there and ask for more information about scholarships (and other people that might help).

            It would be wise to approach people who already went through this process (experienced students or scholars who are 1-5 years head of your stage in the academy).

            Another good thing to do is to use the internet in order to find the information. It is obvious that you could use search engines. If you have a blog, write a post that will tell the world what you plan to do and that you need funding. Use social sites such as Facebook and Twitter that can further spread your message. I can tell from personal experience that I have found a potential funding via Facebook.

4. Make a list of potential funding sources

It is important to by systematic in your search for funding. Open and excel file or google doc spreadsheet and make a list of all scholarships, grants, fellowships and other funding sources. Make a column that will say what is the deadline and other columns that will say if you have filled all the forms, attached all the documents that were requested, and approached that people that will send you recommendation letters.         

5. What is the deadline?

This is a very important question. Preparing in advance (see tip no. 1) is useful for noting the deadlines of scholarships in your diary. I recommend that you will use Google Calendar or any other machine that will give you a reminder when to start preparing the material for the scholarship. Such preparation takes its time and spreading the work is the most reasonable thing you would like to do in order to make life easier. 

6. Read about the body that grants the scholarship and understand their aims

Before filling the forms and approaching people for recommendation letters, it is highly recommended that you will spend time to learn the website of the body that grants the scholarship. Understanding their aims is important for adjusting your form and your CV. There is nothing wrong in doing so. Some grants want to know what kind of voluntary social work you have done during your life. You might not be interested in emphasizing this to other funding sources, yet it would be very wise to do so if you know that this is one of the goals of the people that decide if you will be granted the funding.

7. Make sure you filled in all the forms as requested

Take time to read the form before starting to fill it. After filling all the requested information, go through the form again and make sure that nothing is missing. Missing information is one of the main reasons why applications are turned down.

8. Make sure you added all the requested documents

For the same reason it is important to make sure that you have attached to your application all the documents that were requested. Such documents might include a list of grades from previous degrees that you did and your diplomas.

9. Write as clearly as possible

A scholarship candidate is often requested to write an introduction letter, a research proposal or an abstract of it. Make sure that you write as clearly as possible. Keep in mind that such documents might be read by various people. Some of them are from your field and some are not. The content of such documents should be directed to the type of audience that will read them. If you will write in a highly sophisticated manner, using terms that are known only to people from your field, while the readers of your application are people who know nothing about such academic words – you will loose your audience, and the scholarship. One the other hand, if your readers are from your field, make sure that you prove that you are part field by emphasizing the main problems and issues that might interest all of you.

10. Do not close the door before others do it for you

If you think that a scholarship might not be for you, do not automatically desert it. I recommend calling the people who are in change of the scholarship and make sure that you are really not eligible for approaching it. I can tell from my own experience that I found a potential scholarship after calling the organization that grants the scholarship and finding, to my surprise, that also I can send an application.

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If you have any questions feel free to comment on this post in the form below and I will respond.

Related posts

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How to choose a PhD, MA or DMA subject for a thesis

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Bronislaw Huberman – funding ideas

Bronislaw Huberman – funding ideas

I want to write a book about Bronislaw Huberman. He was an exceptional violinist and he founded the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. I think that it is a scandal that there is no book in English or Hebrew about Huberman and I wish to devote a few years to make research in his archive in Tel-Aviv and study his recordings, writings and letters.
Prof. Jehoash Hirshberg kindly agreed to supervise this project as part of a post-doctoral program that I hope to do in the Hebrew University. My PhD was on the same period and I am acquainted with the aesthetics and history of the first part of the twentieth century, as well as with the most updated and sophisticated performance-studies literature and research methods. 

The problem

The only problem is that due to the economical crisis in the world there is no possibilities of funding via the University. This means that I will need to find external sources of funding if I wish to write the book.
I was thinking to approach someone in the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra and ask if they might be interested to fund such a project. After all, it should be their interest to give to the Israeli public, in particular, and the world, in general, a book that would tell Huberman’s (as well as their) story. If you know who I could approach in the IPO that might be sympathetic to the idea, please contact me.
Another idea I have is to approach the Tel-Aviv Municipality which are in charge of the Felicia Blumenthal Library. Perhaps that might have interest the public would have access to the valuable information that is stored and maintained there for years. If you know whom should I approach there please let me know.

Do you have any ideas? 

I would appreciate any ideas for funding such a project. Do you know any relevant post-doc scholarships? Please write to me or comment on this post if you have other ideas? Thank you for your time.

Artur Schnabel and Schoenberg’s Performance Aesthetics and Practice

Artur Schnabel and Schoenberg’s Performance Aesthetics and Practice

During my short Post-doc in Berlin (January-February 2008) I visited the Stifung Archiv Der Akademie Der Künst. I saw there interesting things concerning Arnold Schoenberg (concert programs and record sleeves as well as some items from the Stuckenschmidt Nachlass). I bought there a book which was published by the institution titled Artur Schnabel: Musiker Musician, ed. Werner Grünzweig (Hofheim: Wolke Verlag, 2001). 

Only today, I open the book for the first time (it took me one year!). This book contains many interesting items such as writings on Schnabel, writings by Schnabel, letters, various lists and other items that only German musicology is able to collect in such a wonderful manner (and I am only half sarcastic when I say so). 

One of the most interesting items in this book is an article by Claudio Arrau (the pianist, 1903-1991) titled “Artur Schnabel: Servant of the Music”. The article is from 1952, first published in Musical America (p.31). 

The article is interesting in more than one respect. It seems that Arrau is suggesting, what may seem as a contradiction. On the one hand, he claims that “Schnabel completely rejected the nineteenth-century notion of music as a vehicle for self-expression, at the service of the virtuoso for his own self-gratification.” Arrau mentions that Schnabel was not satisfied with the Urtext edition of his time. He conducted research and “corrected” that version. 

Yet his recording and printed editions show that he used flexible tempo when playing. His editions mention tempo fluctuations that were not originally printed in the score. These tempo fluctuations were not seen as a contradiction to being faithful to the spirit of the composition. On the contrary, music was seen (as Arrau argues) as “a living organism with an inner fluctuation and flexibility above and below metronome markings”. 

This view of seeking to understand an objective musical object (or spirit, if you like) while expressing it with vitality of an “organism” was also the performance aesthetics of Arnold Schoenberg, a contemporary and friend of Schnabel.   

On the one hand, on 24 August 1909 he wrote a letter to Busoni criticizing the latter’s transcription of Schoenberg’s Op. 11 No. 2. Trying to understand why Busoni had decided to create his version of this piece, a matter that seemed to irritate Schoenberg, he enquired of Busoni: ‘I would like to ask you if you have perhaps taken too slow a tempo. That could make a great difference. Or too little rubato. I never stay in time! Never in tempo!’ (Ferruccio Busoni, Selected Letters, trans. and ed. Antony Beaumont (London, Boston: Faber and Faber, 1987), p. 395.) Here Schoenberg admitted that his approach to performance transcended his own score indications. 

On the other hand in 1912 Schoenberg cited Mahler saying: ‘I consider it my greatest service that I force the musicians to play [spielen] exactly what is in the notes’. (Schoenberg, Style and Idea, ‘Gustav Mahler‘, 464-5.) In the preface to the first edition (1914) of Pierrot lunaire, Op. 21 Schoenberg argued quite clearly that actions originating with the interpreter, which are not included in the score, have a negative effect. 

For Schoenberg and Schnabel, therefore, extensive tempo fluctuations that go beyond the score indications, was not contradictory to being a servant of the composer’s intentions. In 1912 Schoenberg claimed that playing the right notes results in the performer’s participation in ‘the spirit of the music’. (Schoenberg, Style and Idea, ‘Gustav Mahler’, 464-465.) A work of art which is a spiritual entity demands spontaneity in performance.

Pianist Arthur Schnabel Home Movie 1937

Artur Schnabel plays Beethoven Sonata #32 in C min Op. 111

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How to choose a PhD, MA or DMA subject for a thesis

How to choose a PhD, MA or DMA subject for a thesis

Finding a thesis subject

Choosing a subject for a PhD, MA, DMA or whatever thesis you are doing, can be a tricky issue. Many people start there research degree saying “I have no subject” or they speak about what they are doing in very general term. This is perhaps normal for most research students. Yet, it is expected that you will gradually find a focused and interesting subject for your research. Finding a research subject can be a painful process. If it is hard for you to explain to other (I have I mind people who know very little about music) what your research is about, then you are probably in the early stages of finding your subject. I remember that it was a very stressful period for me. I hope that some of the things that I will write here will help you make the process easier for yourself.

I remember that I spent a year of my life reading lots of articles and books trying to find my way in the world of writing about music. After a year my supervisor, Prof. John Rink, told me that it is about time that I find a real subject for my thesis. During that year I knew that I was interested in interpretation and performance studies. My thesis proposal during that year was about ‘music communication’ in very broad terms. I was fascinated about how musical communication happens between composers, performers and listeners. My supervisor felt that my proposal was too broad and he tried to encourage me to focus it. One of the things that I did during the first year was that I read books and then wrote a ‘reading report’ of a few pages which included a critical response to what I have read. This gave me some experience in writing and reacting to what I read.

A good thesis subject definition, like a good PhD proposal is essential for a successful dissertation. Yet a good research proposal depends on a good dissertation subject. It is worth while to spend much time on finding and developing you subject. In this post I will suggests some things that might help you arrive to a successful dissertation subject.

Explore what other people do

My supervisor is not the only one that gives his research students to read much literature during the early phase of research. Actually, it is a very common method of teaching in the USA (although I did my PhD in Royal Holloway, University of London). Apart of the experience it gives one with writing and criticizing, it is supposed to open the student to a vast number of authors, methods of doing research and styles of writing. It is good to see what people are interested in since it may give you ideas. It is good to keep a small diary where one keeps short notes about what one reads. Another way to get to know what people are doing is to attend conferences.

Be novel

Once you get to know what people write you may find ‘holes’ in their research. You may discover that they did not cover all aspect of a phenomenon or that there are other angels to treat an issue. I remember that in one of my ‘reading reports’ I wrote to my supervisor that it could be interesting to see how composers themselves perform their own music. I mentioned Schoenberg and Bartok. My supervisor said that indeed this could be an interesting path to take and that I should now explore what was written about Bartok, Schoenberg or any other composer that performed his or her music. The idea is to find a subject that nothing or very little was written about. Once you finish a PhD that is noval, this makes you an expert in your subject. 

Be in touch with your feelings

I told John that very little was written about both Bartok and Schoenberg. His reaction was that he feels that perhaps it would be wise to choose Schoenberg since he was a Jew and I am interested in Judaism. He said that although I will probably write now on performance, in could extend my research in the future so that it will relate to other issues such as religion.

Choose a subject that you love

Moreover, Schoenberg’s history is very much connected to the faith of Jewish people in Europe and USA, and this is connected to the history of my own family. The subject if European Jewish history was always something that fascinated me. Choosing a subject that you love is very important, since that are moments in your research which might be boring are hard. If you love your subject, it could compensate on this and help you finish you degree. Furthermore, you will probably invest more energy, emotion and time in something that you love.

Ask for advice from people that you appreciate

Another thing that might help you find a good subject is to ask Scholars about possibilities. You can ask you supervisor and other members of you department. You can also write to scholars in other places via emails. You will be surprised how people might help you. Yet, one should keep in mind that it is also good to struggle on your own. If you develop mechanisms to find things you are interested to write about, it will definitely help you in you future career as an author. It is interesting to examine the breath of writing or various authors. Some are focused. Others write about almost everything.

See how your supervisor feels about your subject

Once you have found one or more possibilities, show them to your supervisor and ask what he or she think. It is very important to choose a subject that your supervisor will agree to help you with. My supervisor told me that he does not like most of the music of Schoenberg. Yet he made it clear that what is important that I will like my subject, and that he will support whatever I choose. I am not sure that all supervisors are so generous. You have to be sure that your supervisor agrees that you will do research on your subject so that you can receive his or her support during the studying phase, when you defend your thesis and thereafter.

Keep developing and focusing your thesis as time passes

The normal thing that happens when you find a subject is that you need to focus it. When I new that I want to do research on Schoenberg and performance, I have to decide which recordings and pieces I will explore. I had some idea during my first PhD year, yet the PhD plan kept changing as time passed. Keep an open mind and take into consideration that things usually change once you advance in your research.

There are people who do reasearch of subject that they do not like. They were lucky to find something novel but unlucky that the subject was not close to their hearts. I strongly feel that a good subject must be novel, somthing that you love and something that your supervisor can support. Keep this in mind when you search for a thesis subject and you have more chances to turn into a good scholar.

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How to write a book review

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How to write a book review

There are several reasons why to write a book review. It is a good way to gain experience in writing. Publishing reviews is easier than publishing articles. One is not expected to contribute something completely new to the world of research. When you submit your review to a journal you usually receive feedback from the editor and that can improve the level of your writing. Another reason is that it may help you learn the book more thoroughly than if you would just read it. Good writing is a form of teaching. When one teaches something, one remembers it forever. Moreover, this is a way that other scholars in the field (especially the one whose book your will review) will know you and what you think. In other words, this is a way to start making a name in the field. Finally, if you where asked to review a book, although you will probably not be paid for it, you will receive the book. In this post I will mention some of the things that can help you write a good book review.

Read the book

If you decide to write a book review, it is highly recommended to thoroughly read that book that you are reviewing. The person who wrote the book invested in it an enormous amount of time and effort and you would like to be fair (see also the following point). Moreover, other people who read the book will read your review. They will want to compare their view of the book to yours. If you will not read the book thoroughly they might feel it from your review. This might result in a bad impression.  

Read review written by others

The best way to learn how to write is to carefully study how the giants do it. Scan the publication lists of scholars that you admire and find their reviews. Read some of these reviews and analyze them. Write notes about the strategy of their review, the structure, the tone of voice, and other points that you think that are significant.

Do not be too critical

One of the tendencies of young scholars (but not only young ones) is to be too critical. In order to demonstrate their abilities and perhaps also because of lack of confidence, many behave in what may be considered an over critical manner. If you are at the beginning of your carrier as a scholar, it may be wise to be aware that such a tendency could be also part of your behavior (at least to a certain extent). Try to accept that other people may have different views or perspectives of music than you have, which are not completely wrong. If you find something that you want to criticize, do it in a gentle manner.

Balance your criticism

Never write a completely negative review. It is important to balance your book review also with positive remarks. This will show that you are able to see the benefits in the book. There will always be some people that may benefit from reading the book. Try to ‘speak’ to them when you write the positive arguments. People who write too many negative reviews may not be asked in the future to review book.

Show your personal reading

Beware from writing a review that will be only descriptive (the first chapter contains… the second chapter contains… etc.) Make sure that you mention your opinion about the important part of the book. Although over criticism is something that you would like to avoid. Being not critical at all is also problematic.
Showing your personal view of the book or some of the issues in it may make your review more colorful. People are interested in personal perspectives and interpretations. Make sure that yours will sound clearly.

Be helpful

Try to keep in mind that many people are reading your review in order to know whether or not to read it themselves. It will be helpful if you point out things in the book that are interesting. If you thing that this book may be of interest to some people, make sure that you mention it at the end of the book. It can be useful to mention to whom you think the book may be interesting. 

Listen to the comments of the editor

Editors are usually experienced scholars. When they will send you comments, make sure that you read them very carefully. Pay attention to both comments on writing style and arguments. Reading their comments one by one and thinking about them is a great lesson for improving your writing.
Do you have any other points that you think that one should remember when writing a book review? Have questions? Feel free to comment on this post in the form below.



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Reading historical music documents in context: health or antisemitism?

One of the common mistakes of music students is to read letters, articles and other musical documents by composers, performers and musicologists, completely out of context. In order to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of what one reads, the reader must attempt to gain access to the context/s of the document. One can start doing so by asking to whom was the document written. The next second question could be: what was the writer seeking to achieve? Only these two questions may help avoiding many misunderstandings. To answer these questions, one often needs to do further reading of other documents. Further questions could help building a wider context: at what period was this document written? Are any of the key terms in the document being treated in a special way with regards to their history or the writer’s history? A practical example could help to understand what I mean when I say that a historical music document must be read in context.

On 13 February 1932 Arnold Schoenberg wrote Leo Kestenberg, who was music advisor in the Prussian Ministry of Education and the Arts, that he cannot return from Barcelona to teach in Berlin due to health problems. On 13 May 1932 he wrote another letter adding that his wife just gave birth to a baby girl. Yet on the 24 May 1932 he wrote to Dr. Joseph Asch that he is in Barcelona ‘for reasons of health, and on these grounds, but also because of political conditions, am very reluctant to go back to Germany at this juncture.’ Later at this letter he writes: ‘Will you see if you can get some rich Jews to provide for me so that I don’t have to go back to Berlin among the swastika-swaggerers and pogromists?’ (Arnold Schoenberg, Letters, ed. Erwin Stein (London: Faber and Faber, 1964), pp. 163-164)). The question is how should one relate to Schoenberg’s request not to return to Berlin? What was the real reason: health problems, the rise of National Socialism, both, or perhaps none of these reasons?
If one reads only the three letters written about one cannot really answer this question. It might be argued that he did not write to Kestenberg the whole truth since the latter was part of the establishment and would never accept such a reason as an excuse for not returning to Berlin. On the other hand, it might be claimed that Schoenberg did have serious health problems and that he was using the political situation in order to try to receive money from rich Jews in America (he received a negative answer). One could claim that no one really knew the real meaning of National Socialism at that time, and that the composer was simply seeking piece and quite for composing and living in a place that was good for his health. How can one determine what is the truth?
In order to do so, one must read further and try to understand the context. On 23 September 1932 Schoenberg wrote to Alban Berg: ‘Of course I know perfectly well where I belong. I’ve had it hammered into me so loudly and so long that only be being deaf … could I have failed to understand it. And it’s a long time now since it wrung any regrets from me. Today I’m proud to call myself a Jew; but I know the difficulties of really being one.’ (Ibid., p. 167). In other words, Schoenberg’s fear from the National Socialists was a real one.
I have seen a scholar writing about Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire and claiming that the composer would prefer that it would be sung in German. Schoenberg’s letters show that this is not the case. If you are starting your way as a scholar, it is important to remember that extensive, yet focused readings are important in order to interpret historical musical documents. When you read such a document, try to examine all possibilities of interpretation. See whether any further reading is necessary and do not hesitate to invest time in it. If you will do so, you will find out very quickly that your work is gaining authority and recognition.  


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How to give a successful conference paper

Giving a successful conference paper is not an easy task. I have seen more people fail communicating during conferences than people who presented their arguments in an affective manner. In my Review of the IMS conference 2008: what there is and what there is not to read in Hebrew in Music I promised to write about how to give a conference paper. In this post I will give several tips that might help improving a conference paper thus achieving better communication and a stronger effect.

Practice make perfect: read your paper before the conference and measure
Most papers are limited to twenty minutes (with additional time for questions). It is not uncommon to see scholars who do not finish their paper reading on time (I am speaking now about conferences that one reads from a paper). A simple way to avoid this embarrassing situation is to read the paper you plan to give a few days before the conference takes place, and measure the duration. If you measure the time it takes to read the paper you can decide to make changes accordingly. Take into consideration that the pace of reading during a conference is usually different than when you are more relaxed at home. It is better to leave two-three minute spare so that you do not feel in a rush during the reading. This will also give a more relaxed impression during your reading and motive more people to listen to you. I saw some experienced scholars to write on their papers instructions what to leave out in case that the time will run out.

Present your paper before family and friends and record it
It is very effective to gather a few people that you trust their opinion and read the paper before them. This could be an excellent way to prepare to the conference. Ask these people to tell you what they understood from your paper. Try that the audience will include people who have a potential to understand your paper and others who are not from the field of your study (perhaps even not scholars at all). Receiving feedback can help you understand how you look and what is actually being communicated to others. Recording the session can help you see how you are talking and this will surely help you improve.

Body language
Some people argue that eighty percent of what one communicates is body language. When you prepare your paper you can add performance signs that will refer to body movements that you would like to use in order to underline, illuminate or express the things you say. Take into consideration that movements are an excellent way to keep your listeners listening to you. With one an unexpected movement you might gain the attention of people many people who are otherwise lost, dreaming, or asleep. Yet it is important not to be rude or too sudden – you do not want to achieve listening, yet cause a bad effect on your lecture!

Using power point
If you decide to use power point or any other visual presentation of text, make sure that the text size is greater than 18 and that there are a relatively little number of words that are presented. The power point presentation (unlike the hand-out) is useful for two reasons: (1) it gives the listeners an orientation in case that they get lost during your lecture (trust me, this happens all the time); (2) it gives you structure to your lecture. Do not present table with lots of data that no one will see. In other words, keep your power point text very short.

Check that everything is working before the lecture
Make sure that you will have time before the paper giving to come to the place and check if everything is working. Check whether people can hear you. Check whether the person at the last row can read your power point presentation. Check whether people can hear your sound examples. Make sure that you feel at home (as much as possible).

Keep your ideas simple
Take into consideration that when one reads a text, one can stop and think about it, change the pace of reading, return to the text, etc. During the paper you give, people will not have the possibility to do so. This is why keeping the ideas simple and even repeating them (something that you would like to avoid in an article or a book) is important.

After you give the paper
Do not forget to speak to people that heard your paper in the conference. You will learn an important lesson on what you actualy managed to communicate and what not. Ask more than one person so that you will be able to receive more than one perspective.

Relevant posts:
The difference between a poor critic and a good scholar
How to write good texts about music

Where to publish online articles on music: journals review

In the last two decades musicology and music theory are moving from text based research towards methodologies that include wider cultural and social contexts. One of the results of this shift is the need of scholars to include sound recordings and other multimedia features in the presentation of their research. This post will review some of the online music journals where one can publish and enjoy the vast possibilities offered by the web.

Before I will review the journals I would like to state briefly some of the advantages of publishing online:

More people read online articles
Search engines such as Google constantly scan the web and index any new information that appears on websites. When people search the web the search engines aim to offer them the most relevant information. In practice, this means that they are working for you for free. They bring you audience on a daily basis to your online articles.

More people quote your online articles
As a result of this, there is more chance that people will find your article and react to it. This is true also in the scholarly world. Today, any scholar who respects himself will use, not only university catalogs, but also the search engines and other online resources to find articles on music. Publishing on the web has the potential of making people quote your articles more often. In the academy, the more you are quoted, the more you are appreciated.

The medium is the message
Using the web offers you the possibility of linking to other resources, adding sound, video and other multimedia features. Music Theory Online is the most advance journal that is consciously attempting to implement these features.

Social reaction
Unfortunately, there is no online journal that is using the web as a truly interactive tool. In the Web 2.0 age, the internet is an excellent medium for scholars and other people to react (comments on articles, forums, sharing possibilities (such as Stumbleupon)) to the work of one and other in other formats than articles. We are still waiting for MTO or a new journal to take the initiative and implement these features.

A kleine disadvantage

Having said all this, there are some disadvantages in online publishing. One is the fact that it is hard to read an article on the web. The result is a kind of scan through reading that gives less attention to what the author wrote. Very few readers bother to print the article and fully read it. There are probably other disadvantages that I did not think of (feel free to comment below).

It seems to me that the disadvantage is negligible in comparison to the advantages that I just stated. This and the fact that my research often includes sound examples leads me to publish most of my articles in online journals.

I have gathered some links to online journals on music that can be helpful for anyone who wishes to find places to publish an article. In the following I will review some of these journals:

Music Theory Online

If you want a high level peer-reviewed scholarly journal on music you should first turn to Music Theory Online (MTO). This journal is live and kicking (not like most of the online journals that stopped publishing several years ago, or publish very rarely). MTO encourages the use of web features such as scans of sound examples in impressive formats, the use of recordings and probably anything that the web can offer. The articles are published as web pages (and not pdf of doc files). This is better for the search engines indexing. Yet, it is not easy to read through these long articles on the computer screen. Research shows that people do not usually read more than 600 words on one web page. The printing possibilities are still something that needs improvement in MTO. As mentioned above, that would be wise to include things like commenting, forum, web 2.0 sharing and other social features that can be useful in creating interaction between people and help the information spread on the web.

Journal of Music and Meaning

This journal is less popular and prestigious than MTO. Unlike MTO which includes everything. M&M encourages articles that deal with the meaning of music. It “encourages any multidisciplinary research on meaning that is able to challenge conceptions of music, or research that explores the notion of meaning by the study of musical phenomena.” It is a peer-reviewed journal and it has a forum (which is not very active)

Min-Ad and JSMI
These journals are local journals (in the sense that most people who publish there are locals). Min-Ad is from Israel and JSMI is from Ireland. They publish many kinds of things. JSMI attempts more than Min-Ad to be international by approaching authors from other countries. Another reason to speak about these two journals in one breath is the fact that their articles are published in pdf format. This has the advantage of easy printing in a professional format. There is the stated above disadvantage of being less friendly to the search engine robots (these articles therefore attract less web visitors).

Long live Gamut
Gamut is a new online journal on music. It is peer-reviewed online journal of the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic. Journals need money for editing and other activities, and only some rich universities have such possibilities. This is why most journals die after several issues. We hope that Gamut will have a different destiny.

Ethnomusicology Online - EOL and Journal of Film Music

There are journal that deal with very specific areas. EOL focuses on ethnomusicology and JFM on film music. If you have an article that falls in one of these areas, it would be wise to check these places first.

ECHO and British Postgraduate Musicology

If you are a student you should be aware that publishing is something that you would like to start sooner rather than later. This will help you find a job later on. ECHO and British Postgraduate Musicology are two places where students can publish. I must admit that when I started to publish online I approached MTO. Tina Ramnarine advised me: “Always aim high. Start with the most prestigious journal or publishing house and then approach the others”. Having said this, I did publish in local journals such as Min-Ad and Tav+ in order be locally known and support the latter journal in its first steps.

Semi online journals: RMA
There are many journals that have web pages with some information about their non-web articles and activities. Some journals publish online only abstracts and/or selected articles. The feeling is that the “real thing” is the paper journal. The Royal Music Association Journal does not pretend to be an online journal. However, Nicholas Cook arranged that it will have the possibility to add sound examples on the web. So one can read the paper article and then turn to the web to hear the sound recordings.

Other issues to consider
Before submitting your article to an online journal it would be wise to look who is sitting on the editorial board (this is true also for non-online journals). In order to avoid the process of being rejected (see Zoë Lang post on the challenges of getting published as a young scholar) by editors who are not in favor of your kind of scholarship, read or at least go through some of their articles.

Some journals, like JMSI, request the surfer to register before being able to read an article. This process discourages many surfers from going on and accessing the article. For the editors of journals registration might seem a small matter comparing to the advantages of reading the articles. However, for the web surfers this might mean going on to other sites.

How will look future online journals on music
There is a feeling that musicologists are still thinking in paper format when they create a journal of write on the web. Here are some points for those who will create the online music journal of the future:

(1) The will include text formats that will be friendly both for search engines and human readers.
(2) They will include possibilities of commenting and forum discussions.
(3) They will include possibilities of sharing information between users and sites.
(4) They will use all of the advantages of multimedia presentations on music and music related information.

Postgraduate scholarships for music students

One of the purposes of this site is to collect useful links for music (and other) scholars in Israel and the world. I have recently added a category to my research links page. The new category is called: “Postgraduate scholarships“. This page contains links to many very useful postgraduate scholarships. As usual, I tried not to make a list of everything, but to collect only the most interesting and helpful links. You can find in this site information about how to write a research proposal that may enhance the chances that you will receive one of these scholarships.

How to write a research proposal: structure

How to write a research proposal: structure

A powerful research proposal is something that is not easy to achieve. One needs a good idea, lots of inspiration and experience. However, there are several rules that can help you write a good research proposal. In this post I will write about the structure that I use when I write research proposals. You will also find here an example of one of my research proposals. A research proposal in music should include the following sections: context, research questions, aims/objectives, methodology, outcomes, potential significance, bibliography and discography (before you continue reading you may wish to consider subscribing to this blog in order to be updated by receiving future posts via RSS or email).


The ‘context’ section should be more than an introduction. It should give the readers a clear idea about the problems and issues that you are dealing with. In this section you will draw the frame of the picture and decide what will be part of the research, and what is not. You also give a brief reference to what other authors wrote on the subject. It is very important that this part will be focused. Try not to write about all the things in the world. Focus only on the most important issues that bother you. This will save you much energy in the future.

Research questions

‘Research questions’ deals with the questions that you want to answer after the research ends. When you write the proposal you do not know the answers yet. You might have a good guess or a direction, but you do not know for sure what the data will tell you after you will collect it.

Aims and objectives

This section presents to the readers of the proposal what you want to achieve. For example: ‘To understand the reception history of Op. 33a.’ or ‘To explore connections between the musical interpretations of Schoenberg’s circle, and other early performers, and their cultural contexts.’


Methodology is very important since it demonstrates what tools do you have or intend to use in order to answer your research questions and achieve your aims and objectives. Methodology should also include the duration of the research and the library and archives that you plan to use.


This section includes information about what you plan to do with your research after it will end. Will you publish an article? Will it be a paper in a conference? Will it be a book chapter? The ability to publish is considered as a sign of scholarly strength.

Potential significance

Here you want to convince that your research is dealing with issues that may influence others. Both ‘context’ and ‘potential significance’ should give your readers a feeling that your research is dealing with problems that transcend your particular research.

Bibliography and discography

This section should contain a selected list of items that are most relevant to your research. I use a few research links that help me build this section in my proposals. People who sit in comities value good research proposals since they often predict whether or not a research will succeed. Investing thought and time in your proposal is extremely important. Here is an example of the research proposal that I have written for my postdoctoral fellowship in Berlin. If you will read the article draft you will see that there is a gap between the two. Nonetheless, the proposal was very helpful in focusing my research efforts. After the research starts, you should let the data tell you the story. Only this way one can really discover new things. If you have questions do not hesitate to comment on this post in the form below.

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Copyright Avior Byron 2022 .