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International Symposium on Musical Topics and Topic Theory

May 31 - June 1, 2024
University of Northern Colorado
Greeley, Colorado

Conference Schedule

Deadline for Submission:  March 31, 2024

From its contacts with worship poetry drama, entertainment, dance, ceremony, the military, the hunt, and the life of the lower classes, music in the early 18th century developed a thesaurus of characteristic figures, which formed a rich legacy for classic composers.  Some of these figures were associated with various feelings and affections; others had a picturesque flavor.  They are designated here as topics—subjects for musical discourse. 

                                                —Leonard G. Ratner (1980)

Leonard Ratner, pioneer of topical analysis, was one of the first modern scholars to insist on the importance of the musical surface in analysis; not to trivialize musical structure and process, but simply to assert that the character of a piece—the part the listener hears, in other words—is of central importance to “how it works.” Since his ground-breaking work, topical analysis and topic theory has blossomed and this conference is dedicated to exploring topic-related scholarship. We are pleased to feature a keynote address by Melanie Plesch, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, The University of Melbourne and a plenary address by Jonathan Bellman, University of Northern Colorado School of Music.

Conference Registration

General Registration:  $100
Student Registration (Undergraduate and Graduate):  $50
Please note that the visible dollar amount in the payment portal is the student rate.  Once you select your appropriate demographic (Undergraduate, Graduate Studen, Faculty, Retired Faculty, Independent Scholar) the appropriate amount will populate your cart.  Post-doc should register as faculty.  If you have any questions about registration, please contact me at janice.dickensheets@unco.edu.

Conference Registration Portal

Conference Information

The conference will be held in the Campus Commons Rehearsal Hall on the University of Northern Colorado Campus, 1051 22nd St., Greeley, CO 80639.  Here is a map of the university.

Conference Rooms:  Campus Commons Rehearsal Hall and CC2300University of Northern Colorado.  Enter either through main door on 22nd or through loading dock door, 22nd and 10th. 

The registration desk will be outside of the Campus Commons Rehearsal Hall (in the loading dock area).

For registration and the Campus Commons Rehearsal Hall:

If entering through main door, go through the lobby toward the theatre (Right) and enter into backstage area through door to the right of the theatre entrance.

If entering through the loading dock, go do the loading dock area and enter through doors to the right of the dock area.  Go to the left after entering the building.

For Room CC2300: You will head out to the lobby, go up the stairs and continue to the right.  It is on the left-hand side of the balcony entrance to the theatre. 

Shuttling from Hotel to the Conference Site
We have some students and faculty who can provide some shuttling back and forth from the conference site to the hotel.  If you will need this, please email janice.dickensheets@unco.edu

Parking at the Campus Commons

Parking Lot C – south of Campus Commons
UNCO Parking Fees - $6.00 per day. You will need to download the Passport Parking app and use it to make a payment for Friday until 1:00 p.m.  After 1:00 the campus is technically closed so parking will be free.  Parking is also free on Saturday.  Here are instructions for using the Passport Parking App.
Street Parking on 10th is Free;  Street Parking on 22nd is paid through the City of Greeley, so I would avoid this.

Hotel Information

Conference Hotel:  Doubletree by Hilton Greeley at Lincoln Park 
919 7th St., Greeley, CO
Here is a map of the downtown area where the hotel is located in comparison to the university.
We have an average conference rate of $154 per night (which averages $154-$174 per night depending on the type of room and the night) for the nights of May 29, 2024 - June 1, 2024.  If anyone is planning on staying past June 1, the rates will change.   To ensure availability and guarantee of this rate, reservations must be booked before Wednesday, May 8, 2024.  All individual cancellations require a 72-hour notice to avoid charge. For the purposes of budgeting, a public improvement fee (PIF) of 2% is charged to all guest room rentals.  This is not a tax.  The tax rate for the rooms is 10.21%.  

Check in time is 3:00 PM. Guests arriving prior to this time will be offered luggage storage, if available.  Early check in is based on availability and is not guaranteed.  Checkout time is 12:00 noon.  Late checkouts must be arranged for on an individual basis with the Front Desk and may incur additional fees.

To book your rooms at this group rate, you can call 1-844-570-7816 or go online to: https://group.doubletree.com/efrqaa
Please enter this group code to receive the discount:  MUS

There are also other good hotels on W 29th Street, West of 23rd Avenue.  The hotels near the University are not recommended

Flying to Greeley

The nearest airport to Greeley is Denver International Airport

Ground Transportation

Greeley is about 1 hour north of Denver International Airport.  There are a number of ground transportation options.  There are many shuttle services out of Denver International Airport and a quick search of shuttle services should provide information. Rental cars are also available at Denver International Airport.  Here are a couple of websites that might help:

Landline Shuttle Service 



Information about flying out of Denver International Airport

When leaving Greeley, plan on arriving at Denver International Airport at least 2 hours prior to your boarding time.  It is a large, very busy airport, and it can take time to pass through security, board the train, and arrive at your concourse.  That means you would need to leave Greeley at least 3 hours prior to your boarding time.  There is a new security checkpoint near the United desks where you can book a security check time.  Visit Denver International Airport website for information. https://www.flydenver.com/security/den-reserve/

Food, Coffee, Wine, Beer, Cocktails

Food Walking Distance from Campus Commons, near north campus:

Daruma Japanese Restaurant - 1702 8th Ave
Cheba Hut Sub Sandwiches - 1645 8th Ave
Roma Italian Restaurant - 728 16th St
Chipotle Mexican Food - 807 17th St
La Petite French Bakery - 919 16th St
La Fiesta Express - 901 16th St
Pinocchios Italian - 905 16th St
D.P. Dough Pizza - 911 16th St,
Taste of Philly - 829 16th St,
Sexy Sammies - 1540 8th Ave
Margies Java Joint, Food and Coffee - 931 16th St
There are also some restaurants in the University Center, just north of Campus Commons, however, many may not be open since school is not in session.

Coffee & Beer/Cocktails Walking Distance from Campus Commons

The Blue Mug Coffee - 807 17th St
John Galt Coffee - 709 16th St
Margies Java Joint, Food and Coffee - 931 16th St
High Brau Taphouse -  915 16th St

Restaurants Downtown near hotel

Meekers, in the hotel lobby
Tighknight Brewing - 813 8th St
Fusco Pizza - 811 8th St
Pinocchios Prime Steak - 804 8th St,
Doug’s Diner - 801 9th St
The Centennial Public House - 819 9th St
Rio Grande Mexican - 825 9th St
Luna’s Tacos - 806 9th St
The Cow Saloon and Eatery - 800 9th St

Beer, Wine and Cocktails near hotel

Tighknight Brewing - 813 8th St
Luna’s Tacos - 806 9th St
The Cow Saloon and Eatery - 800 9th St
Patrick’s Irish Pub -  909 8th Ave
477 Distilling - 825 9th St unit b,
Rio Grande Mexican - 825 9th St

Call for Papers

We encourage submissions from scholars, scholar-performers and students in the areas of topic theory (in its broadest sense) and its many potential applications: music analysis, music and meaning, and performance as applied to a diversity of musics including, but not limited to, Western art music, music and film, popular music, video-game music, etc. Performance-based scholarly presentations are also welcome.

The conference will be in person, enabling delegates to engage fully in idea exchanges, networking, and social interactions. Virtual presentations may be considered under special circumstances; however, fully virtual attendance will not be a possibility.  Paper presentations will be 20 minutes long, followed by a 10-minute question and answer session.  Lecture recitals are limited to 30 minutes each inclusive of set up, delivery, discussion, and/or questions as appropriate.

Submission materials should be sent to Janice Dickensheets at Janice.dickensheets@unco.edu no later than March 31, 2024 (U.S., Mountain Standard Time Zone). Please specify “International Symposium on Musical Topics and Topic Theory submission” in the email subject.

Abstracts should include the title of the paper but omit author details. In the body of the email, please include author details, institutional affiliation (where relevant), email address, paper title, and any technological requirements, including PowerPoint or Keynote projection, piano or keyboard.   If you are submitting a proposal for a lecture recital, a video link will also be required (see lecture recital submissions below).

Submissions will be evaluated anonymously according to three criteria: the relevance of the author’s central arguments to existing scholarship, the extent to which the paper offers an original contribution to the scholarly community, and the clarity and coherence in which the argument is presented.

Individual Paper Submissions:

To submit an individual paper, please send an abstract with a maximum of 300 words. Undergraduate students must also submit a letter of support from their primary research advisor. 

Lecture Recital Submissions:

To submit an individual lecture recital, please send an abstract with a maximum of 300 words and an audio sample to demonstrate the proficiency of the performer. (Please note, the original call for papers specified a video file, but after consultation with my colleagues, it was determined that audio files provided for a better blind review.  I will be converting any video files I receive to audio only before dissemination to the program committee.) The duration of this recording should be a minimum of 2 minutes, but no longer than 5 minutes. Preference will be given to submissions that include a recording of the proposer performing the actual work(s) being proposed. When this is not possible, the submitted example must be of a comparable style, genre, or historical period. Undergraduate students must also submit a letter of support from their primary research advisor.

Deadline for submissions: March 31, 2024

Notifications of acceptance will be sent to presenters on or about April 8, 2024.

Preliminary program will be available by late April, 2024.