Neil Newton

Neil Newton, Music Theory
Music Theory

Office Location

Music Building #2321


Music Theory


Neil Newton is a music theorist and is interested in the intersection of tonal and atonal music. In particular he explores the aspects of tonality which have remained in early atonal music and those aspects of tonal music that preempted atonality. His research involves examinations of voice-leading, with his article “An Aspect of Functional Harmony in Schoenberg’s Post-Tonal Music” in Music Analysis; and inspects aspects of formal structure in “An Extension of Classical Form in the Music of Arnold Schoenberg” from Histories and Narratives of Music Analysis. Currently, he is working on a monograph that explores how different music-theoretic techniques impinge on our understanding of pieces bordering tonal and atonal compositional practices. He is also interested in how tonality operates in popular music, and his essay “Chromatic Linear Progressions in Popular Music” is forthcoming in the edition Routledge Companion to Popular Music Analysis: Expanding Approaches.

Neil was born and educated in New Zealand, where he received a PhD in music from the University of Auckland in 2013. Before arriving at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he taught at the University Pittsburgh and the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.

Further to his academic interests, Neil is also an active performer, playing both guitar and mandolin in numerous bands. Most notably the New Zealand band George and Queen.