Faculty & Staff Profiles

Walter T. Everett

Professor of Music Theory

Walter Everett, a member of the School of Music faculty since 1989, is the author of The Foundations of Rock (Oxford University Press, 2008), a project underwritten by a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities and by grants from the Society for Music Theory and the School of Music, Theatre & Dance.  This text is supported by a website including more than 400 audio and visual resources created by Mr. Everett.  His book The Beatles as Musicians is available in two volumes: The Quarry Men through Rubber Soul and Revolver through the Anthology. This book has been translated into Spanish, as Los Beatles como músicos, published by Eterna Cadencia in Buenos Aires.  He is also the editor of the book Expression in Pop-Rock Music.  Mr. Everett’s essays on text-music relations in song and opera, rock music, and Schenkerian theory have appeared in Music Theory Spectrum, the Journal of Music Theory, Music Analysis, The Musical Quarterly, Music Theory Online, Popular Music, Contemporary Music Review, the Mozart-Jahrbuch, College Music Symposium, Theory and Practice, In Theory Only, Beatlestudies, Beiträge zur Popularmusikforschung, Genre, Interdisciplinary Literary Studies, Soundscapes, and in nine books edited by others. He is also a contributor to The Grove Dictionary of American Music and provided approximately fifty popular-music examples for Miguel Roig-Francoli’s textbook, Harmony in Context. Mr. Everett is the recipient of many awards, including the Kjell Meling Award for Distinction in the Arts and Humanities.

Mr. Everett has addressed numerous audiences, including appearances as keynote speaker for the Society for Music Theory, the Florida State University Music Theory Forum, a joint meeting of the Texas Music Theory Society and the South-Central Society for Music Theory, the Great Lakes Chapter of the College Music Society, and the Beatles 2000 conference in Jyvaskyla, Finland.  He has given papers at three meetings of the British Music Analysis Conference (in Cardiff, London, and Southampton), the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, and the 1991 Mozart-Kongress (Salzburg), as well as numerous presentations to the Society for Music Theory, the Music Theory Society of New York State, and Music Theory Midwest. He has also been an invited speaker at more than twenty universities.  Mr. Everett conducted archival work with composers’ manuscripts in New York and Bonn.  He has served as chair of the Society for Music Theory Publications Committee, on the editorial boards of Music Theory Spectrum and Theory and Practice, as a prepublication reviewer for several book publishers, as chair of the Madison program committee for SMT, as a consultant to the College Board and reader for the Graduate Record Examinations in Music Theory, as Fellow of the Mannes Institute for Advanced Studies in Music Theory (Chromaticism, 2006), as co-chair and faculty member of the Mannes Institute for Jazz-Rock Studies (2008), and as faculty member of the summer post-graduate seminar, “Methods of Popular Music Analysis” at the University of Osnabrück (2011).


BS (music education, piano concentration), Gettysburg College
MM (music theory), University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
PhD (music theory), University of Michigan

Download Walter Everett’s CV (PDF)

Selected Publications


What Goes On: The Beatles, Their Music and Their Time, textbook and extensive multimedia materials for non-music majors, co-authored with Tim Riley. Oxford University Press, 2019.

The Foundations of Rock From “Blue Suede Shoes” to “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

The Beatles as Musicians, The Quarry Men through Rubber Soul.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

The Beatles as Musicians, Revolver through the Anthology.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Articles and book chapters

The Representation of Meaning in Post-Millennial Rock.” Black Box Pop: Beiträge zur Popularmusikforschung 38 (2012): 149-69.

“Death Cab for Cutie’s ‘I Will Follow You into the Dark’ As Exemplar of Conventional Tonal Behavior in Recent Rock Music.”  In Song Interpretation in 21st-Century Pop Music, ed. Ralf von Appen, André Doehring, Dietrich Helms and Allan F. Moore.  London: Ashgate, 2015, pp. 9-28.

“Detroit and Memphis: The Soul of Revolver.”  In “Every Sound There Is”: The Beatles’ Revolver and the Transformation of Rock and Roll, ed. Derek Scott and Russ Reising. London: Ashgate, 2002, pp. 25-57.

“A Royal Scam: The Abstruse and Ironic Bop-Rock Harmony of Steely Dan.”  Music Theory Spectrum 26/2 (Fall 2004): 201-235.


National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 2003-2004.

Fellowship at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Archives, Cleveland, Ohio, for a week’s residency studying documents related to Patti Smith, July 2016.

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