John Bayne

PhD Student in Music Theory
B.M. Furman University
research interests:
  • Language and Music
  • Generative Grammars
  • Video game music
  • Philosophy of Music
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    John explores connections between music and language, focusing on commonalities between linguistic and musical syntax

    John is pursuing a Ph.D. in music theory at Washington University in St. Louis. His research focuses on musical grammars and syntax in romantic piano music, and the ways these relate to linguistic syntax. John also researches semiotic connections between music and language in video game and film music, particularly in respect to the concept of musical affect. Additionally, John is also interested in generative theories of music, and the ways these relate to musical cognition. Particularly, he wishes to examine the way the human mind processes the hierarchical structure of tonal music, and the way multiple levels in the musical structure emerge from a defined ruleset. He also examines questions in the overlaps between philosophy and music, and has published a paper on possible worlds theory entitled “On the Nature of Possible Worlds.”

    Prior to Washington University, John received his undergraduate degree as a double major in music theory and philosophy at Furman University. His undergraduate senior thesis, “Decatonic Symmetry, Formal and Tonal Structure in Stravinsky's Sonata for Piano" examined the use of ten-notes scales in Stravinsky’s tonal language.

    Bayne, John (2023) "On the Nature of Possible Worlds," Furman Humanities Review: Vol. 34, Article 3. Available at: