Kája Lill awarded SMT-40 Dissertation Fellowship

April 07, 2022

On March 17, 2022, SMR member Kája Lill was awarded the prestigious SMT-40 Dissertation Fellowship for his work on the history of Hugo Riemann’s reception among Czech music theorists. This award confers a writing stipend, as well as recognition in the SMT newsletter and at the annual meeting. Congratulations to Kája on this exciting achievement! For the full announcement from SMT, click here, and see Kája’s dissertation abstract below.

Harmonic Function: Riemann and His Czech Reception

My dissertation examines how the reception of Hugo Riemann’s theory of harmonic function in the Czech lands can inform our understanding of function both in Riemann’s own work and in current music theory. It provides the first English-language account of the theoretical works of Otakar Šín (1881–1943), Karel Janeček (1903–1974), Karel Risinger (1920–2008), Jaroslav Volek (1923–1989), and Vladimír Tichý (b. 1946). By putting their work in dialogue with Riemann’s Funktionstheorie, I show that the disagreements in how scholars and pedagogues define and use the term harmonic function were already present in Riemann’s work. These tensions arise at the boundaries between Riemann’s various theoretical apparatuses—between his Schritt und Wechsel system, his Kadenzlehre, and his function theory. I argue that current scholarly disagreements concerning harmonic function are in a sense perennial, because these disagreements are latent in the concept of function itself.