Cory Gavito, PhD

Assistant Professor of Musicology

Cory Gavito playing guitar


B.M.E., Texas Christian University
M.M., Musicology, University of North Texas
Ph.D., Musicology, University of Texas at Austin


Cory M. Gavito is Assistant Professor of Musicology at Texas Woman’s University. Before his arrival at TWU in 2017 he held teaching posts at Oklahoma City University and the University of Texas and Austin.

His research explores the intersections of musical notation, performance, and oral culture in Italian musical life during the early modern period. More specifically his work deals with the Italian chord tablature for the guitar known as alfabeto, focusing on how it engages with improvisation, music learning and memory, and the transmission of song repertories. Grounded in this research context, Gavito cultivates in students the ability to draw on their own experiences as musicians to build relationships with music of the past. His approach to teaching thus centers on the application of ideas, fostering critical inquiry, and developing a set of core humanistic values that define us as music practitioners (broadly defined) within our communities.

Gavito’s research appears in the Journal of Musicology, Recercare, and Notes: The Journal of the American Library Association, and has been presented at national and regional meetings of the American Musicological Society, the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, and the Society of European and Global Studies. His research has been awarded fellowships by the Newberry Library in Chicago and the A.D. Hutchison Foundation at the University of Texas. He is the recipient of Harvard University’s Lauro de Bosis Postdoctoral Fellowship in the History of Italian Civilization, and in 2016-2017 served as the Melville J. Kahn Fellow at Villa I Tatti, The Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, Italy.

Gavito remains active as a jazz pianist and teacher, and has performed with musicians such as Bob Mintzer, Conrad Herwig, John Reilly, Tito Puente, Jr., The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, and the late great Clark Terry.  


Melville J. Kahn Research Fellow Villa I Tatti, Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, 2016-2017, Florence, Italy

Lauro de Bosis Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Italian Civilization, Harvard University, 2015, Cambridge, MA

A.D. Hutchison Dissertation Fellow, University of Texas at Austin, 2006-2007, Austin, TX, supported research travel in Italy

Dissertation Research Fellow, The Newberry Library, 2005, Chicago, IL

Graduate Research Fellow, University of Texas at Austin, 2005, Austin, TX, supported research travel in Italy


“Thinking in chords, improvising melodies: A new manuscript and the oral recovery of 17th-century guitar songs,” Early Music (forthcoming)

Quasi industre giardiniero: Giovanni Stefani’s Amorosi Anthologies and Their Concordant Sources,” Journal of Musicology 33/4 (2016): 522-568

“Oral transmission and the production of guitar tablature books in seventeenth-century Italy,” Recercare XXVII 1-2 (2015): 185-208

Book Chapters

"In Search of the Improvising Froberger," in Andreas Vejvar and Markus Grassl, eds. Con discrezione: Rethinking Froberger (Vienna: Böhlau, in press, forthcoming 2018)

Conference Papers

“Hearing outside the lines: The Guitar Player, the Healer, the Street Singer,” Panel Session with Suzanne Cusick, Bonnie Gordon, and Renata Pieragostini, Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, New Orleans, 22-24 March 2018

Music Beyond the Page (conference co-chair and speaker), Real Colegio Complutense at Harvard University, 8 November 2017  

"Improvisation and the Oral Recovery of Spanish-Guitar Songs, 1580-1650," Canciones sin notas: Otras caminos de transmisión e interpretación de la música en España durante la Edad Moderna, Biblioteca Histórica Marqués de Valdecilla, Madrid, 20 April 2017

“Improvising and Composing in Froberger’s Rome,” Con discrezione: Rethinking Froberger, Istituto storico austrico, Rome, 19 October 2016

“Guitar Song in Italy, 1580-1700,” Fellows’ Presentations II, Villa I Tatti, Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, Florence, 13 September 2016

“Leadsheet and Fakebook Culture in Seventeenth-Century Italy,” Friday Noon Lecture Series, Harvard University, 2 October 2015

“Giovanni Stefani’s Songbook Anthologies and their Concordant Sources,” American Musicological Society Annual Meeting, Milwaukee, 2 November 2014

“Naming the Nameless: Giovanni Stefani’s Songbook Anthologies,” American Musicological Society Southwest Regional Meeting, University of Texas at Austin, 5 April 2014

“The Tarantella Before the Nineteenth Century,” American Musicological Society Southwest Regional Meeting, Texas Tech University,  23 October 2010

“The Hidden History of the Tarantella,” 35th Annual European and Global Studies Conference, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 7 October, 2010

“The Southern Roots of Alfabeto Song,” Society for Seventeenth-Century Music Annual Meeting, University of Notre Dame, 21 April 2007

Reviews and Liner Notes

Liszt, F.: Transcriptions of Symphonic Poems. Liszt Complete Piano Music, v. 43. Sergio Monteiro, piano. Naxos 8.573485. CD. 2016

Oswald, H.: Pagine d’Album; Álbumes, Opp. 32, 33, 36; Études; Estudo para a mão esquerda. Sergio Monteiro, piano. Naxos GP682. CD. 2015

“Clark Terry Quartet and The Duke Jordan Trio Live in Copenhagen, 1985,” Notes: The Journal of the Music Library Association (March 2010): 648-649

Music History Pedagogy

Instructor’s Manual and Interactive Guide, The Enjoyment of Music, 12th ed. and Essentials Edition, 2nd and 3rd eds. (New York: W. W. Norton, 12th ed., 2013; 2nd ed., 2015; 3rd ed., forthcoming)

Page last updated 11:10 AM, September 27, 2017