Introducing Robin Attas

I wanted to get my thoughts on Regina out while they were fresh; now I’ll go back and introduce myself.

I’m a Ph.D. candidate in music theory at the University of British Columbia, working on a dissertation that examines meter in groove-based popular music, using a metric theory (that of Christopher Hasty) that focuses on our in-time experience of music, and also emphasizes the quality or feel of each moment in time. All of that theory, though, is just an excuse to spend a lot of time listening to disco and Motown and Madonna and Michael Jackson, and call it work!

I also did my M.A. in music theory at UBC, which was when I discovered that popular music was my research passion. My master’s thesis looked at grooves and text-music relationships in Ani DiFranco. Over the years, I’ve also presented on the Weakerthans, Sarah McLachlan, and the intersections between Latin American commercial pop (in particular Shakira and Mexican supergroup RBD) and North American styles. My particularly music-theoretical interests include meter, form, and timbre, as well as an emphasis on feminism and advocacy for gender equality both in terms of the musicians we study and in the make-up of our academic societies.

I was recruited to blog for IASPM-CA because of my interest in music theory (a discipline which appears to be in the minority at the moment in this society), so you’ll likely see posts from me that reflect this ‘music as sound phenomenon’ perspective. But I also think that music theory can be broader than its traditional purview, which is why I look forward to hearing from all of you as I present my ideas.

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About Robin Attas

Robin Attas is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. Her dissertation focuses on meter in popular music grooves from throughout the second half of the twentieth century, including disco, Motown, rock, and dance/pop. Other research interests include transformational theory and feminist approaches to music (and life).