image of olivia lucas

Olivia Lucas

Assistant Professor
Music Theory

295 Music & Dramatic Arts Building
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-2504



Dr. Lucas’ interdisciplinary research conjoins music theory with ethnography, sound studies and ecomusicology. 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 publications include “‘So Complete in Beautiful Deformity’: Unexpected Beginnings and Rotated Riffs in Meshuggah’s obZen,” which appears in Music Theory Online (2018), and “MAXIMUM VOLUME YIELDS MAXIMUM RESULTS,” which is published in the Journal of Sonic Studies (2014). She also has a chapter titled “Kentucky: Sound, Environment, History – Black Metal and Appalachian Coal Culture” in the edited volume Modern Heavy Metal: Markets Practices and Cultures (2015). An article on apocalyptic environmentalism in the music of California-based black metal band Botanist appeared in Popular Music in 2019. Currently, she is writing about concert light shows as a form of vernacular music analysis.

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. She also 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, Dr. Lucas held appointments at Victoria University of Wellington (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.