Olivia Lucas

Assistant Professor of Music Theory



Dr. Lucas' interdisciplinary research combines music theory with ethnography, sound studies and ecomusicology. Much of her work focuses on the analysis-broadly conceived-of extreme metal music. Issues that arise in analyzing this music, such as extreme loudness, rhythmic complexity and screamed vocals, require critical examination of the tools of musical and cultural analysis, and facilitates reflection on how musical analysis deals with those issues across other repertoires.

Her articles on metal music appear in Music Theory Online, Popular Music, and the Journal of Sonic Studies. She has also published chapters in edited volumes, including work on concert light shows in the Oxford Handbook of Public Music Theory and writing on Nicki Minaj in Analyzing Recorded Music: Collected Perspectives. Currently, she is co-editing a collected volume on supportive pedagogy, titled Teaching and Learning Difficult Topics in the Music Classroom, as well as writing a chapter on expanded instrumentation in global folk metal.

Dr. Lucas has additionally presented her research at annual meetings of the Society for Music Theory, American Musicological Society and Society for American Music, as well internationally at conferences in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Germany and Finland.

As a teacher, Dr. Lucas has taught all levels of music theory, from fundamentals through advanced undergraduate and graduate courses. At LSU, she has developed courses on rhythm and meter, analysis of metal music, and sonata form, among others. She especially enjoys teaching courses in popular music as well as courses for non-majors that assist students from a wide variety of backgrounds in developing critical listening skills.

Before coming to LSU in 2019, Dr. Lucas held appointments at Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington (Aotearoa New Zealand) and the University of Iowa. She holds a PhD in Music Theory from Harvard University, and BA in Music and German Studies from the College of William and Mary. Dr. Lucas has also done expert witness work for music copyright disputes.


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295 Music & Dramatic Arts Building
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803