Issa Aji

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Assistant Instructor in Theory

Issa Aji is a Ph.D. candidate and assistant instructor in music theory at the University of Texas at Austin whose work revolves around intersections of musical expressivity and emotion. He is interested in how listeners’ understanding of musical emotion is mediated through the gesturing body. His approach to the issue draws on a number of subjects, including theories of musical and non-musical emotion, gesture, intersubjectivity, and cultural studies. Issa’s forthcoming dissertation looks to the Arabic concept of ṭarab—understood as both a style of music and a mode of heightened affective engagement—to understand musical emotion as a kinesthetic, intersubjective, and cultural phenomenon. He has presented research at regional and international conferences, including the Music Theory Society of New York State and the International Society for Research on Emotion. Issa’s research has been recognized by the 2022 Patricia Carpenter Award and the 2022 Irna Priore Prize for Student Research.

Contact Information

Teaching Areas



Master of Music
Temple University

Bachelor of Music
Rowan University