Exploring Musical Spaces is a comprehensive synthesis of mathematical techniques in music theory, written with the aim of making these techniques accessible to music scholars without extensive training in mathematics. To bridge the gap between mathematical newcomer and specialist treatments of this thriving but sometimes difficult area of the discipline, the book adopts a distinctively visual orientation and incorporates musical examples from Bach to the late twentieth century. “Jay has always been celebrated, in his teaching and his professional presentations, for the ease and clarity with which he leads his audiences through complex material,” said interim chair of the music theory department, Roman Ivanovitch. “It will be exciting to see this book establish itself with students and scholars everywhere as the go-to reference work for the insights of transformational theory, geometric music theory, and other vital components of the modern music theorist’s toolkit.”
Prof. Hook holds PhDs in both mathematics and music theory, as well as graduate degrees in architecture and piano performance. He has taught university mathematics and music theory courses, worked as an architect and structural engineer in Chicago, and performed as a chamber musician with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. His research, which has been presented at conferences of the American Mathematical Society and published in Science, in addition to an impressive number of music theory venues, focuses on transformational theory and other mathematical approaches to the study of music.
His broad knowledge, skillset, and experience places him in the perfect position to create this work, which he has done with both the precision of an architect and the elegance of a fine pianist. Prof. Ivanovitch added that “at nearly 700 pages, and incorporating the fruits of a career of research and teaching, Exploring Musical Spaces is a magnum opus in every sense.”
Prof. Hook has taught in the Department of Music Theory at the IU Jacobs School of Music since 2003.