SMT 2020 Call for Proposals

The forty-third Annual Meeting of the Society for Music Theory (SMT) will be held jointly with the American Musicological Society (AMS) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from Thursday, November 5, to Sunday, November 8, 2020.

The Program Committee invites proposals on any topic related to music theory, as long as the work has not been published in peer-reviewed publications (print or electronic) and has not been presented at an annual conference of the AMS, CMS, SEM, or SAM. Proposals for posters and for presentations in innovative formats are encouraged.

All proposals will be evaluated anonymously and should exclude the author’s name and any other direct or indirect signal of authorship. References to the author’s own work must occur in the third person. “Author” tags must be removed from electronic files. (In Adobe Acrobat, go to the “File” menu, select “Properties” and delete the name from the Author box.) Any online materials, including but not limited to YouTube channels and websites, must also be anonymized. All single- and joint-authored proposals should indicate a preference for either paper or poster presentation.

Proposals will not be considered if they exceed word limits or if an individual violates the rules on multiple submissions described below, under “Participation.”

Single-Author and Joint-Author Papers

A submission for a single-author or joint-author paper must include the title and description for a presentation of 20 minutes’ duration. The description (including notes) should be no more than 500 words. Each mathematical equation may be counted as one word. In addition, the online submission form will request that authors provide five relevant keywords.

Successful proposals typically include appended supplementary materials (such as musical examples, diagrams, and selected bibliography) as necessary to substantiate an argument, demonstrate results, or clarify the proposal’s relationship to prior scholarship. Aside from the bibliography, supplementary texts that are themselves analytical objects, such as quotations from treatises or archival documents, are acceptable, but other types of text, particularly example captions, must not appreciably add content to the proposal. The supplementary materials will not be counted within the 500-word limit, but must not exceed four pages.

The proposal and supplementary materials should preserve the anonymity of the author(s) as described above.

The Committee strongly encourages all authors to visit the website of the SMT’s Professional Development Committee for advice and successful proposal samples from prior years:

When submitting the proposal online, authors will be prompted for identification and contact information. A sound system and LCD projector will be available for all presenters. Please indicate whether or not a piano is required. The Society cannot guarantee internet access for presentations.

Accepted papers will generally be allocated a 30-minute slot: 20 minutes for the paper and 10 for discussion. The Committee may accept a proposed paper under the condition that it be transformed into a poster.

Single- or Joint-Authored Posters

The Program Committee strongly encourages proposals for a prominently featured Poster Session, which provides an opportunity for scholars to present their research in a more informal setting. Poster presenters will either bring a printed poster suitable for mounting on a wall, or present their poster digitally by connecting their laptop or tablet computer to an LED screen. Presenters will stay with their posters and interact with interested individuals, summarizing primary findings and answering questions about the research. Presenters may optionally augment the poster presentation with sound files (headphones required) and/or handouts.

A proposal for a poster should follow the guidelines for submission of papers but indicate the author’s preference that it be considered for the poster session. Furthermore, proposers should indicate whether they plan to present a paper poster, a digital poster, or if they could present in either medium. The Society cannot guarantee Internet access for poster presentations. The Committee may accept a proposed poster under the condition that it be transformed into a paper.

For tips on presenting a poster, please see the guidelines from the SMT Professional Development Committee at

SMT Special Sessions

An SMT special session is proposed as a whole, rather than as a set of individual submissions. Two formats are available; each differs from those sessions created by the Program Committee in some way.

Integrated special session. This type comprises a set of papers that are closely related in content, thoughtfully integrated, and framed by a session rationale. Each paper occupies a regular 30-minute timeslot (20-minute presentation plus 10-minute question period). The Committee reserves the right to consider each paper separately and to program a paper with or without the others from that proposed session.

The session rationale, and the individual paper proposals should be submitted by the session organizer through the SMT website as a single package. A cover letter that identifies the title and author of each proposal, as well as their institutional affiliation and contact information will be submitted as a separate file. The Program Committee will only see the session rationale and the individual paper proposals.

Alternative-format special session. This type comprises a set of papers organized in a non-standard way, e.g., a panel discussion, workshop, “flipped” session, “lightning talk” session, etc. Note that this can include a set of 30-minute papers in 45-minute timeslots (the “old” SMT format). Because individual contributions typically do not fall within a standard 30-minute timeslot, such sessions are accepted or rejected in toto. All components of an alternative-format session proposal should be submitted by the session organizer through the SMT website as a single package. A cover letter that identifies the title, length in minutes of each presentation, and author of each proposal, as well as their institutional affiliation and contact information will be submitted as a separate file. The Program Committee will only see the session rationale and the individual paper proposals.

Special sessions of either type may be either 90 or 180 minutes in duration. Proposals for special sessions must include a session rationale of no more than 500 words and individual proposals for all segments of the session except for respondents. These should follow, where possible, the guidelines for paper proposals. With prior approval of the Program Committee chair, however, special session proposals may be exempted from certain of the guidelines listed above, including, in some cases, the rule of anonymity for participants. To discuss the possibility of exemptions, those wishing to propose such sessions must contact the Program Committee chair no later than January 1, 2020.

Joint AMS/SMT Sessions

The Program Committees invite proposals for joint sessions that bring together participants from both societies. Joint proposals may be for either 90 minutes or 180 minutes. Joint session proposals will be considered as a unit by the program committees of the AMS and the SMT, and will be programmed as a joint session only if accepted by both committees. (However, a proposal for a Joint Session may be programmed as a solo AMS or SMT session if one of the program committees so chooses.) Joint proposals may be for sessions, workshops, or roundtables as defined below. The proposal must identify the number of participants from each society.

Sessions. Session proposals should include a session rationale and individual abstracts; maximum length for the rationale and each individual abstract is 350 words. These proposals will be evaluated anonymously and should contain no direct or indirect signal of authorship.

Workshops. The program committee encourages collaboration on workshops whose formats might include but are not limited to sessions combining performance and scholarship, collections of short position papers, discussions of publications or creative works. Workshops may also be interactive. Educators, artists, and curators, for example, could lead these workshops or teach-ins to emphasize the interactive challenges and possibilities of music scholarship, performance, and activism. These 500-word proposals should list participants and outline the session format.

Roundtables. This format provides a space for participants to engage in dialogues with each other and the audience. These 500-word proposals should identify participants and outline the session format. Roundtables might include forums with scholars, community activists, artists, public officials; or conversations among performing artists, curators, and educators about aesthetic and expressive innovations or the challenges of developing public cultures in diverse communities. This format might be particularly well suited to creating linkages with local communities in the conference city or region.


Proposals of the same or similar content cannot be submitted by the same person to both AMS and SMT. An individual can submit different proposals to AMS and SMT but must indicate this double submission on the online submission page and select (in the case of multiple acceptance) which proposal would take priority. A Joint AMS/SMT proposal counts as one of these submissions. Authors who present on an SMT session as defined by 1–7 below may not also present on an AMS session or a Joint AMS/SMT session. In the case of multiple acceptances, the Program Committee will give preference to any paper that is part of a proposed session.

In regards to proposals viewed solely by the SMT Program Committee, an individual may propose to participate in one of the following ways:

  1. Author or joint author of a 20-minute solo paper for a regular session;
  2. Author or joint author of a poster;
  3. Author of a 20-minute paper for an integrated special session (in this case the author’s proposal is part of the single package submitted by the organizer);
  4. Organizer of an integrated special session (the organizer may also propose a 20-minute paper for that same session);
  5. Organizer of an alternative-format special session (the organizer may also deliver a paper of no more than 30 minutes in the same session);
  6. Author of a paper of no more than 30 minutes on an alternative-format special session;
  7. Author or joint author of a scholarly paper or a presentation of more than 10 minutes as part of a standing committee (CSW, Diversity, PD) session.

In addition to the participation guidelines given above, authors may accept an invitation to chair a session, participate in a roundtable discussion, perform, give a non-scholarly presentation as part of an alternative-format special session or standing committee session, or give a scholarly presentation of no more than 10 minutes in length in an alternative-format special session or standing committee session. Under no circumstances should an individual be involved in more than two proposals viewed by the SMT Program Committee.

Participation in SMT Interest Group Meetings is outside the purview of the Program Committee and is not relevant to the rules of participation given above. Names of presenters in Interest Group Meetings will not appear in the program.

If you have a question about your participation that does not seem to be covered by the guidelines above, please contact the Chair of the Program Committee at

In cases of multiple submissions that do not follow these rules, none of the submissions will be considered. No one may appear on the Minneapolis program more than twice.

Submission Procedure and Deadline

The submission portal will open Sunday, December 15, 2019.

Proposals from members and non-members should be submitted online. (Link to come; both individual and special session proposals use the same link.) All proposal materials must be formatted together as one PDF document under 10 MB in size. Those who have difficulties with online submission should contact Jennifer Diaz, Executive Director of SMT, at

Please make sure that you have followed all guidelines in this call. The Program Committee will not consider submissions that do not meet the guidelines.

SMT proposals must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST, Wednesday, January 15, 2020.
Joint AMS/SMT session proposals must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST, Saturday, February 15, 2020.

Please take time zone differences into account. No proposals will be accepted after the deadline. In order to avoid last-minute technical problems, the Program Committee recommends that proposals be submitted at least twenty-four hours before the deadline.

Note that rejected proposals will remain anonymous; only the SMT Executive Director, in mailing out acceptance and rejection letters, will know the identities of the authors of these proposals. Those who present at the conference must be members in good standing of the Society.

SMT 2020 Program Committee

  • J. Daniel Jenkins, University of South Carolina (Chair),
  • Jenine Brown, Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University
  • Marion A. Guck, University of Michigan
  • Christoph Neidhöfer, McGill University
  • Frank Samarotto, Indiana University Bloomington
  • Janna Saslaw, Loyola University New Orleans
  • Chris Stover, University of Oslo
  • Patricia Hall, University of Michigan (ex officio)

For clarification or further information, please contact SMT Executive Director Jennifer Diaz at