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Melissa Hoag

Headshot - MELISSA HOAG   

Associate Professor of Music Theory
Music Theory Program Coordinator

[email protected]
(248) 370-4153


Melissa Hoag is Associate Professor of Music Theory at Oakland University, where she has been coordinator of the music theory area since Fall 2007. Professor Hoag holds a Ph.D. in music theory with doctoral minors in piano performance and music history from Indiana University. She also holds a bachelor of music degree from Drake University, as well as a certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University.

In 2023, Professor Hoag was named incoming Chief Reader for the College Board’s Advanced Placement Exam in Music Theory. Each June, Hoag will oversee the scoring activities of roughly 100 AP readers as they score free-response questions taken by around 20,000 high school students. In addition, Hoag will serve on the test development committee for AP Music Theory for the duration of her term as Chief Reader.

2023 also marked Professor Hoag’s appointment as co-editor for the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy, as well as her election to the Society for Music Theory’s Executive Board. Professor Hoag previously served as chair of SMT’s Professional Development Committee, and has served on the boards of a number of journals: Music Theory OnlineJournal of Music Theory Pedagogy, College Music Symposium, and the Society for Music Theory’s videocast journal, SMT-V. In 2021, Professor Hoag also served as guest editor for a special music theory pedagogy issue of HAYDN.

Listen to Dr. Hoag discuss music theory pedagogy with the podcasts Notes from the Staff and Note Doctors!


M. Hoag (ed). Expanding the Canon: Black Composers in the Music Theory Canon (Routledge 2022).

This essay collection directly addresses the underrepresentation of Black composers in core music curricula and strives to make this music more readily available and accessible for music theory instructors of all stripes through analyses, lesson plans, and teaching materials.

Journal articles, book chapters, and reviews

“Potential Energy and Melodic Disjunction in a Brahms Intermezzo,” MTA: Music Theory and Analysis (forthcoming 2024).

“Counterpoint Expanded.” SMT-Pod (2023).

“A Trio of Art Songs on Texts by Langston Hughes.” Expanding the Canon: Black Composers in the Music Theory Canon, ed. M. Hoag, 119–28. Routledge (2022).

“Putting the Music in ‘Music Fundamentals.’” Anchor article in The Routledge Companion to Music Theory Pedagogy , ed. Leigh VanHandel, 13–22. Routledge (2020).

“On Relevance and Repertoire in the Eighteenth-Century Counterpoint Classroom.”  BACH: Journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute (2018): 388–401.

“Engaging Students in their Own Success: Incorporating Aspects of the First-Year Seminar into First-Year Music Theory and Aural Skills.” Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy, vol. 5 (2017).

“Integration, Diversity, and Creativity in Current Music Theory Pedagogy Research.” Response #3, in Chattah, Hoag, Laitz, Sayrs, Snodgrass, “Reflections on the Manifesto.” College Music Symposium (2016).

Review of Heather Platt and Peter Smith (ed.), Expressive Intersections in Brahms. Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association 70/3 (2014): 468–71.

“Hearing ‘What Might Have Been’: Recomposition as a Pedagogical Tool in Teaching Music Theory.” Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 27 (2013): 47–70.

“Seven Strategies for Enabling Success in the First-Year Music Theory Sequence.” Music Theory Pedagogy Online, vol. 1, no. 1 (2013).

“Brahms’s ‘Great Tragic Opera’: Melodic Drama in ‘Ach, wende diesen Blick’ (Op. 57, no. 4).” Music Theory Online, vol. 17, no. 1 (2011).

“Register and Remembrance in Brahms’s ‘Frühlingslied.’” Dutch Journal of Music Theory, vol. 16, no. 3 (2011): 167–79.

“Multiply directed moments in a Brahms song: ‘Schön war, das ich dir weihte’ (Op. 95, no. 7).” Gamut, vol. 4, no. 1 (2011): 93–116.

“Leonard B. Meyer: On the Threshold of Musical Semiotics.” Semiotica, vol. 142, no. 2 (2002): 447–60.

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