Leonard Meyer’s Papers

meyer4I got a message not long ago that the papers of music theorist Leonard B. Meyer have now been catalogued and are ready to be accessed by scholars in the Special Collections of the University of Pennsylvania library. Meyer’s writings in books such as Emotion and Meaning in Music, Music, The Arts, and Ideas, and Understanding Music are exceptionally insightful and elegantly written. I had the privilege of taking a course with Meyer while I was a grad student at Penn. I think he was especially hard on the composers in the class (“only a composer would think sonata form is a three-part form” – the implication being that only a composer would be so foolish) because of his own background as a composer, something of which I was not aware at the time. (I did manage to get a hard-won A- from Lenny for my Debussy paper.) He was generously supportive in attending New York performances of my music during his later years. Find a blog post about Lenny and his papers here.