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Zachary Wallmark

Assistant Professor of Musicology

Working at the intersection of cultural musicology and the cognitive sciences, Zachary Wallmark’s research seeks to account for the role of timbre in affective response, aesthetic judgment and musical empathy, particularly in the context of post-1945 American popular music and jazz. His work has been published in The Dutch Journal for Music Theory, Ethnomusicology Review, Music Perception, and Music Research Forum, as well as the edited volumes Negotiated Moments (Duke), Oxford Handbook of Timbre (Oxford), and The Relentless Pursuit of Tone: Timbre in Popular Music (Oxford), the latter of which he also co-edited. His forthcoming monograph, tentatively titled Sound Judgment: Timbre and Musical Meaning at the Edge, is under contract with Oxford University Press. He is the recipient of an NEH Fellowship (2017).

Wallmark currently serves as director of the MuSci Lab, an interdisciplinary research group and lab facility dedicated to the scientific study of music at SMU. In 2015–16, he was co-organizer of the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute Fellows Seminar, Beyond Two Cultures: Reconciling Sciences and Humanities. The campus-wide research group explored strategies for overcoming the “two cultures” divide in American intellectual life.

Wallmark’s work straddles the boundaries between cultural, historical and empirical music studies. He has presented at a number of national and international conferences including the American Musicological Society, International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, Society for Music Theory, Society for Music Perception and Cognition, and Society for Ethnomusicology. Prior to his appointment at SMU, Wallmark taught at UCLA and the University of Oregon. He is a published composer, jazz bassist and performer of the Japanese shakuhachi flute.


Ph.D. in Musicology, University of California, Los Angeles
M.A. in Musicology / Ethnomusicology, University of Oregon
B.M. in Music Performance (Double Bass), New York University


Introduction to Music in History and Culture (MUHI 1302)

Survey of Opera History (MUHI 4345)

Studies in Popular Music (MUHI 4355)

Psychology of Music and Emotion (MUHI 4357)

Seminars (undergraduate and graduate, MUHI 4302/6336):

  • Spirituality and Music in Post-War America
  • Music and Emotion

Introduction to Graduate Studies (MUHI 6335)

Issues in Opera History (MUHI 6345)

Selected Grants and Fellowships

  • National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowship
  • UCLA Dissertation Completion Fellowship
  • Collegium of University Teaching Fellowship
  • UCLA Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, Transdisciplinary Seed Grant
  • UCLA Friends of Musicology Best Seminar Paper Award
  • UCLA Regents/Musicology Fellowship
  • University of Oregon, Award for Outstanding Achievement in Graduate Music Scholarship

Areas of Study



Art History

Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship

Corporate Communication and Public Affairs

Creative Computation


Film and Media Arts



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