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Joseph P.

Joseph Swain

T he distinguished career of Joseph Swain includes work in musicology, music education, performance, reviews, writing about music, and now composition. He is presently Associate Professor of Music at Colgate University in Hamilton NY, where his teaching specialties are music theory, music history, and general education (Liberal Arts Core program). His research fields are music criticism and critical theory.

Dr. Swain's educational roots lie solidly in New England: a bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College in Hanover NH, and master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard University in Cambridge MA. At Harvard, the committee for his thesis, "Limits of Musical Structure" included Christoph Wolff, David G. Hughes, Ivan Tcherepnin, and Jamshed Barucha. He was nominated by the faculty for a Lehman Fellowship.

While the viola is his principal instrument, he has also studied piano and organ, earning an Organ Certificate "A" Level from the Diocese of Syracuse in 1998.

A prolific writer, Dr. Swain, in addition to many journal articles and reviews, has written four books:
  • Musical Languages
  • The Broadway Musical: A Critical Survey, for which he received the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence in writing about music; [An expanded and revised edition will be avilable with an essay on "Les Misérables."]
  • Sound Judgment: Basic Ideas about Music
  • Harmonic Rhythm: Analysis and Interpretation (Oxford University Press) recently published

Many of his articles are on topics of great interest to church musicians and liturgists, and he has been published in New Oxford Review, The American Organist, The Diapason, and Pastoral Music among other journals. Several articles of Dr. Swain's appear here on our website at:

Musical Musings: Offering Our Musical Best at Mass
Musical Musings: The Practicality of Chant in Modern Liturgy

In April 1992, Joseph Swain was appointed Music Director of the vocal ensemble Tapestry, based in Clinton NY, and has produced two recordings, "Motets and Merriments," and "A Christmas Tapestry." He was featured on "Holiday Harmonies," produced and broadcast in 1999 by PBS station WCNY (Channel 24) in Syracuse NY.

CanticaNOVA Publications is pleased to offer music of Joseph Swain in our Universal Music for Morning Prayer:

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