Dissertation Diary 2016-03-03

This week I had a productive meeting with my advisor, started chapter 1, and did a bunch of edits on chapter 4. Chapter 4 still has a ways to go, but I sent it off to a different editor (who’s articles I’m using for half my sources) so hopefully that will help me get going in the right direction.

I’m starting to feel behind for my deadline, being sick has really messed up my workflow. I don’t think I’ll get to the appendices before break, but I’ll at least hopefully start chapter 5 before break. I’ve also got a ton of things to do for teaching as the quarter ends (writing exams is way more stressful than taking them) so I’m trying not to overload myself or get disappointed if I don’t meet my original goal.

Right now, chapter 1 is my proposal, and a little bit of extra prose, but my writing from last year is not up to standard for my writing from this year, the project has changed just enough, and all that, so it needs reorganized at the very least, if not completely rewritten. I got a friend’s dissertation from last year, so I’m hoping that will give me insight on formatting and how much introduction I need to do – do I assume my readers read music? Do I assume they know as much as an undergrad music major? no? that will significantly impact the introduction. I’ve included the bit I added this week, but I’m afraid it’s not going to be the sort of thing that I should actually start with. Too narrative :/


This project began long ago, before I considered teaching or music theory as goals for myself. I was struggling to complete a performance degree, but wanting to pursue composition, so I decided to change majors to Music Theory in pursuit of that goal. Immediately following that change, I spent six months in Berlin, where on a whim I took introductory Music Theory. I was surprised to learn that not everyone did things the same way I had first learned them. I was quickly converted to the German way of doing things and decided to write my undergrad thesis on comparing Funktionstheorie and Roman Numerals.

I never intended to write another paper. But as I taught theory in support of my composition Master’s degree, I discovered that I liked teaching, and that I had strong opinions about how to teach to best reach beginning students. After finishing, I continued to the PhD program with the primary purpose of writing this document.

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