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Dr. Jeff Swinkin

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Jeff Swinkin

Dr. Jeff Swinkin

Assistant Professor (Music Theory)

Office: Catlett Music Center 006C

My teaching specialties at OU involve form theory, advanced harmonic theory (focusing on nineteenth-century chromatic tonality), motivic/thematic analysis, and Schenkerian analysis. Every other July I also teach a graduate seminar on philosophical and critical issues relating to music-theory pedagogy. Formal, harmonic, motivic, and Schenkerian methods also inform my scholarship, which centers on music (mostly Germanic, but I’m trying to expand my horizons!) of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and on a wide range of theoretical, musicological, music-philosophical, and pedagogical issues. These, on which I have thus far published three books and a dozen essays, include Adorno, Beethoven, thematic ambiguity, performance and analysis, piano pedagogy, variation form, and musical meaning. I have given guest lectures at numerous universities including Florida State, Rice, Stony Brook, Stanford, and the Mannes School and have presented papers at the American Brahms Society, Society for Music Theory, the German Studies Association, and the Southampton Music Analysis Conference. Since receiving my doctorate in music theory from University of Michigan under Kevin Korsyn, I have taught at University of Massachusetts at Amherst and, since 2014, here at OU. Prior to entering academia, I was a freelance pianist and musical director in New York City, from which I hail, working with vocalists from Broadway, the Metropolitan Opera, and the New York City Opera.

For more on my publications, talks, teaching, and performance, please visit

  • B.M. in Piano Performance, Eastman School of Music
  • M.M. in Piano Performance, University of Michigan
  • Ph.D. in Music Theory, University of Michigan