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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
October 18, 2017
Canadian Excellence

Dr. Kevin Swinden

Acting Dean (Jan 1, 2017 - June 30, 2017); Associate Professor, Music Theory; Associate Dean

Contact Information
Phone: 519-884-0710 ext.3305

Office Location: A217

Languages Spoken


Academic Background

BMus (Theory and Composition), University of Western Ontario, 1992
Ph.D. (Music Theory), University of Buffalo, State University of New York, 1997


Dr. Kevin J. Swinden is Associate Professor and Coordinator of Music Theory at Wilfrid Laurier University. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Western Ontario and his PhD from the State University of New York at Buffalo where he was awarded the Thomas J. Clifton Memorial Award for outstanding achievement in the area of Music Theory. In 2006, he was awarded a fellowship to the Mannes Institute for Advanced Studies in Music Theory, where the topic was “Chromaticism.” In 2013, Dr. Swinden was chosen as the recipient for the Hoffman Little Award for Excellence in Teaching by the Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Association.

Dr. Swinden specializes in chromatic harmony of the late 19th century. He has published articles in Music Theory Spectrum, College Music Symposium, Music Analysis, and contributed a chapter on Bruckner’s Harmony to the Cambridge Companion to Bruckner. He has been the invited keynote speaker for the annual meeting of the South Central Society for Music Theory (2006) and the UWO Graduate Music Symposium (2009). He has recently presented papers at meetings of the South Central Society for Music Theory, Music Theory Midwest, the West Coast Conference for Music Theory and Analysis, and the International Conference on 19th century music in Durham, UK. Dr. Swinden is a past president of the South Central Society for Music Theory. His primary areas of research include chromatic harmony and its pedagogy, seeking to bridge Schenkerian theory, Function theory, and Transformational theory.


“Toward Analytic Reconciliation of Outer Form, Harmonic Prolongation and Function.” College Music Symposium, vol. 45, 2005.

“When Functions Collide: Aspects of Plural function in Chromatic Music.” Music Theory Spectrum, vol. 27/2, Fall 2005, pp. 249–282.

“Bruckner’s Perger Prelude—a dramatic revue of Wagner?” Music Analysis, vol. 18/1, March 1999, pp. 101–124.

Chapters in Books

“Bruckner and Harmony,” The Cambridge Companion to Bruckner, ed. John Williamson. Cambridge University Press, 2003, pp.201–224.
Invited Presentations

Invited Presentations

"The Hidden Curriculum of Chromatic Harmony" Invited Keynote address presented at the annual meeting of the University of Western Ontario Graduate Music Symposium, May 9-10, 2009. (London, ON).

“The Medium and the Message: Is Chromaticism Trapped in a Metaphor?” Invited Keynote address presented at the annual meeting of the South Central Society for Music Theory, Mar. 11–12, 2006 (Hattiesburg, MS).

“Dynamic Functional Counterpoint in Bruckner.” Invited paper presented at the University of Western Ontario Graduate Colloquium, Feb. 14, 2003 (London, ON).

External Funding: Co-Investigator

Fletcher, P.C., Dalby, D.M., Hirdes, J.P., Babcock, M., Schneider, M. & Swinden, K. (2005-2006). Drum and Bugle Corps Participation: Does it Make you Fit? interRAI .($7500.00).


Fellow, Mannes Institute on Chromaticism at Yale University (June, 2006).

Areas of Expertise

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