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Music Theory, History, and Composition

Alexander Rozin

Contact Music Theory, History, and Composition  

Music Theory, History, and Composition

Swope Music Building
817 S. High Street
West Chester, PA 19383

Phone: 610-436-2739
Fax: 610-436-2873

Faculty Contact Information


Professor, Music Theory

333, Swope Music Building


  • Ph.D. (Music Theory), University of Pennsylvania, 2000
  • B.A. (Physics), University of California at Berkeley, 1991

Thoughts on SOM

The School of Music is a vibrant place, filled with talented faculty and students. I feel privileged to be among such creative and thoughtful colleagues who are not only highly skilled but also genuinely nice. One aspect of life in the SOM that makes it stand out from other programs in which I have participated is that the rigorous and challenging curriculum is balanced by the strong personal bonds between students and between students and faculty. I find coming to work a joy not only because I love music but also because I enjoy interacting with the unique cast of characters in the SOM.

Mission at SOM

Music theory and analysis are vital assets for all musicians -- composers, performers, teachers, and listeners. One of my goals is to make sure that all School of Music graduates have not only knowledge of theoretical and analytical concepts but also fluency with the vocabulary and skills that will facilitate their careers with music and broaden their understanding and appreciation of music. To this end, I try to create an informal and humor-filled setting in the classroom and to encourage the free exchange of ideas. Rather than teaching music theory as a set of rules that only refers to one musical tradition, I present the tools of music analysis as pathways into understanding compositional and performative creativity as well as aesthetic and emotional responses to many different styles of music including popular music and jazz. Above all else, I hope to instill in my students profound passions for music, of course, and for exploring the world around them. Students in the School of Music need to see their education not only as a step towards employment but also as a unique opportunity to expand their intellectual, social, and emotional horizons. What better way to do that than to study music?

Curriculum Vitae

Alexander “Lex” Rozin is the music theorist of the department, having received his Ph. D. in music theory from the University of Pennsylvania where he studied with Eugene Narmour and Chris Hasty. His research combines the methods of music theory and analysis with the tools of experimental psychology. In particular, he has explored how music elicits emotional responses, how performance variables influence listeners' perceptions, how musical expertise influences cognitive and affective responses to music, musical and affective memory, and the relationship between music and cuisine, amongst other topics. He currently co-runs a lab dedicated to the study of the psychology of music at the University of Pennsylvania. Along with music perception and cognition and music theory pedagogy, he also has serious interest in the music of Brahms, jazz, the history of music theory, and North Indian classical music. He has also taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Towson University, and Swarthmore College.

Works in Progress

A. Rozin, "How music theory and analysis might prove useful to musicians”

A. Rozin and M. Rimple. A Perceptual and Panstylistic Approach to Music Theory

A. Rozin, P. Rozin, and K. Guber, "Musical Tension: An Investigation into the Effects of Register and Dynamics”

P. Rozin, A. Rozin, and M. Olivares, "Why Do People Prefer Music From Their Early Adulthood?”

P. Rozin, A. Rozin, and R. Haas, "An Investigation of Ordering Effects in Popular and Classical Music”

A. Rozin and P. Rozin, "Meals and Concerts: Episodes of Pleasure and the Aesthetics of Temporal Sequences”

A. Rozin and P. Rozin, "Music Theory and Cuisine Theory: What Can They Learn From Each Other?”

Publications and Papers

Bernstein, L. & A. Rozin (eds.). Musical Implications: Essays in Honor of Eugene Narmour (2013, Pendragon Press).

Rozin, A. "The Analysis and Cognition of Basic Textural Structures” in Bernstein, L. & A. Rozin (eds.), Implications: Essays in Honor of Euguene Narmour (2013, Pendragon Press).

Rozin, P., L. Guillot, K. Fincher, A. Rozin, and E. Tsukayama (2013). Glad to be sad, and other examples of benighn masochism. Judgment and Decision Making 8/4, 439-447.

"Informative Parallels Between Music and Food: Creation, Experience, and Memory of Concerts and Meals,” Culinary Institute of America, Poughkeepsie, NY, March 2013.

"Large-Scale Form in Music Perception and Cuisine,” Composition Seminar, West Chester University, 2012.

"Why Do We Stop Liking New Music Once We Turn 30?” Composition Seminar, West Chester University, November 2011.

"Music Perception and Music Theory Pedagogy: A Curriculum Based on the Principles of the Implication-Realization Model," NEMCOG, New York, April 2011.

"The Analysis and Cognition of Basic Textural Structures," NEMCOG, Boston, October 2010.

"The Analysis and Cognition of Basic Textural Structures," 11th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, Seattle, August, 2010.

"Experienced Tension in Response to Atonal ‘Melodies'," Meeting of the Society of Music Perception and Cognition, Indianapolis, August 2009.

Rozin, A. & P. Rozin (2008). Feelings and the enjoyment of music. Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Rozin, A. (2008). He was the very model of a modern musicologist. Music Perception, 25/5, 477-491.

"The Memory of Emotional Sequences in Concerts of Classical and Popular Music," Meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Montreal, August 2007.

Rozin, P., A. Rozin, B. Appel, and C. Wachtel (2006). Documenting and explaining the common AAB pattern in music, humor, and other aesthetic domains: Establishing and breaking expectations. Emotion, 6/3,349-355.

"Emotion and Meaning in Music Fifty Years Later: Delayed Realization of Some of Leonard Meyer's Implications," 9th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, Bologna, Italy, August, 2006.

"Why Some of the Songs On Your Favorite Albums Aren't Very Good," West Chester University Research Day, March 30, 2006.

Rozin, A., P. Rozin, and E. Goldberg (2004). The feeling of music past: How listeners remember musical affect. Music Perception, 22/1, 15-39.

"An Introduction to the Psychology of Music," West Chester University Psychology Club, April 16, 2004.

"Does Listening to Music Make You Smarter?: Evaluating the Mozart (and Metallica!) Effect," Pi Mu Alpha Lecture Series, Fall 2003.

"A Music Perception Manifesto: How Music Analysis Can Capture Perceived Musical Structure," National Meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Las Vegas, NV, June, 2003.

"How Listeners Remember Musical Affect," National Meeting of the American Psychological Society, Toronto, June, 2001.

"Is Listening to Music Like Getting a Colonoscopy? Remembering Musical Affect," National Meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Toronto, November, 2000.

"Building A Model of Musical Affect From the Bottom Up," National Meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Northwestern University, August 1999.

"The Weighting Game: A New Model of Music-Affective Intensity," Penn-Cornell-Princeton- Columbia Graduate Exchange, Columbia University, February 1999.

"Representing Stylistic Mapping in the Implication-Realization Model: Brahms' Thematic Development," National Meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, University of California, Berkeley, June 1995.