Timothy Johnson

Professor and Chair, Music Theory, History Composition

Timothy Johnson

Timothy Johnson

Timothy Johnson, a respected music scholar, specializing in minimalist music, diatonic theory, and the music of composers John Adams and Charles Ives, is also a member of the Society for American Baseball Research who has presented at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Johnson's book, "Baseball and the Music of Charles Ives: A Proving Ground," examines how the development of baseball in the late 19th century affected Ives's character and led him to build new musical ideas. The book won the 2004 Sporting News-SABR Research Award.

Johnson also wrote "Foundations of Diatonic Theory: A Mathematically Based Approach to Music Fundamentals." Linking pedagogy and recent scholarship in music theory, this text is part of the Mathematics across the Curriculum project, designed to help students see both music and mathematics in broader contexts.

Johnson's current project is a book in progress, which will be titled, "John Adams's Nixon in China: Musical Analysis, Historical and Cultural Perspectives," to be published by Ashgate Publishing late in 2011. This book will tie together analytical observations about the opera with cultural, political, and historical aspects of the scenes, characters, and issues raised in the opera.

Research Focus

  • Music theory
  • Diatonic theory
  • Mathematics and music
  • Baseball history
  • Charles Ives


University at Buffalo
Ph.D., Music Theory, 1991
Dissertation: “Harmony in the Music of John Adams: From Phrygian Gates to Nixon in China”

University of Connecticut
M.M., Music Composition, 1987

University of Massachusetts-Lowell
B.M., Music Theory-Composition, 1983