Music Department

Music Theory Faculty: Thomas MacFarlane

Thomas MacFarlane completed his PhD in Music Composition at NYU Steinhardt. His doctoral dissertation, The Abbey Road Medley: Extended Forms in Popular Music, focused on the role of recording technology in the compositional style of The Beatles. He subsequently transformed his findings into a book that was published by The Scarecrow Press in November 2007. As a composer, Professor MacFarlane’s works have been performed at venues in Italy, Hungary, Romania, and the United States. He continues to explore the creative possibilities engendered by the advent of recorded sound.

In October 2012, Professor MacFarlane published a second book entitled The Beatles and McLuhan: Understanding The Electric Age, a work that employed the ideas of media ecologist Marshall McLuhan to explore the poetic implications of multi-track recording. This book featured the first published transcription of the complete filmed conversation between John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Marshall McLuhan on their respective ideas, as well as an interview with Marshall McLuhan’s son and executor, Michael McLuhan, on his father’s and The Beatles’ legacy. Currently, Professor MacFarlane is conducting research for the first volume of a study on the works of singer/composer Billy Joel.

Professor MacFarlane has given presentations and seminars at the University of Leeds, the University of Glamorgan at Cardiff, and the Université Paris-Sorbonne. He teaches MPAP courses in Music Theory and Composition, supervises research in Colloquy for Music and Music Education, and also teaches The Performing Arts in Western Civilization with Director Emeritus, Dr. Lawrence Ferrara. In fall 2013, he became the MPAP Music Education Administrative Coordinator under the aegis of Dr. John Gilbert, director of Music Education at NYU Steinhardt.