The Symphonies of Jean Sibelius
Analysis of the development of the Sibelius style from the first through the seventh symphonies. Methods by which the Finnish master utilized tone color, motive development, beat modulation, and modal counterpoint. In addition, concepts of orchestration will be discussed and analyzed in selected tone poems as well as the symphonies.
Seminal Composers of the 20th Century
An in-depth examination of composers whose work has proven of lasting importance, not only in and of itself, but also because of its influence on contemporary compositional styles. A different composer will be covered each semester; the current selection will be posted on student bulletin boards and in the Composition Department during registration and check-in periods. Composers covered include Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Paul Hindemith, Aaron Copland, Charles Ives, and music theater crossovers including George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein.
Analysis of Sonata Forms
A comparative, historical study of sonata forms from the baroque period to the present. Selective analysis of representative works by Scarlatti, Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Scriabin, Schoenberg, Shostakovich, and Britten. Emphasis on historical development and evolution of the sonata form.
Maurice Ravel: The Man and His Music
This course surveys the life and music of Maurice Ravel, one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century. The class will include weekly listening and reading assignments with score study and analysis. We will watch videos of his ballet Daphnis et Chloé and his two operas, and students will write papers and give class presentations of his work. In addition to musical study, this class will be a historical survey of the era which Ravel lived and will include discussions and reading assignments about art, dance, literature, and political events that influenced his musical style.
Music of Olivier Messiaen
A study of the music, ideas, and philosophy of Olivier Messiaen; examination of Messiaen's text on composition, Technique de mon langage musical (The Technique of My Musical Language); study of concepts for modes of limited transposition, nonretrogradable rhythms, birdsong studies, Hindustani rhythms, added value and added note systems, and augmentation-diminution. Major works investigated will be Quartet for the End of Time, Visions de l'Amen, Messe de la Pentecôte, Turangalîla Symphony, and Chronochromie. Presentation of an analysis of one of Messiaen's works required.
In the Mix: Contemporary Composition Approaches in Discussion on Form, Aesthetic, and Style
This course draws from a wide variety of classical and contemporary compositional forms, styles, and concepts. Students examine and explore approaches through the analysis of scores, and through discussions, study, and listening. Students read writings of composers, dealing with creative conception and process in modern symphony, opera, chamber, experimental, and popular forms (exploring Bach, Bernstein, Varèse, Babbitt, Stockhausen, Ellington, Jarrett, Maria Schneider, Monk, Sting, Ani DiFranco, and more). Students explore various music and approaches, and read and write critical papers on their own aesthetic/perspectives. They apply various approaches as they develop their own composition process, style, and techniques.
This course offers the student the aesthetic foundations and practical approaches to program music, which is one of the most important fields in music composition throughout different epochs. This course focuses on the contemporary period. Based on the interaction between music, literature, theater, visual arts, history, and philosophy, LHAN-P317 gives the student an opportunity to deepen the comprehension of various aspects of music theory and history and to learn a broad range of techniques and practical methods in composition.
The Music of John Cage and Morton Feldman: Sound–Time–Process
John Cage and Morton Feldman were two of the most influential composers of the 20th century. This course is designed to acquaint students with their philosophies, their relationship to visual art and poetry, and, most importantly, their unique and original compositional techniques.
Current Trends in Orchestra Composition
Students will study orchestral compositions by the most recognized 21st-century concert music composers. Each week a recent major orchestral work will be discussed and analyzed aurally using a systematic descriptive approach analyzing: medium, meter, tempo, rhythm, melody, harmony, tonality, texture, form, orchestration, dynamics, text, and programmatic considerations. Composers included will be 21st-century winners of composition prizes such as the Pulitzer Prize and the Grawemeyer Prize. Other recognized composers establishing the current trends of orchestral music will also be included. The list of composers and pieces analyzed will change in future as current trends in composition evolve and become established.
Music of Women Composers
A survey course on the female contribution to the art of music from the Middle Ages to the present. Emphasis will be placed on the changing roles of, and attitudes towards, women as composers, performers, teachers, writers, instrument builders, patrons, etc. More specifically, this class will be conducted within a historical framework of contexts and perspectives; thus we will examine the achievements of women musicians in the light of societal expectations, impositions, limitations, and attitudes.
African American Composers
This course will discuss the contributions that African American composers have made to classical music from the late 19th century to the 21st century. We will explore the extramusical influences affecting black composers past and present, such as the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Movement, and the influence of jazz and other black music, and examine whether or not these influences play a role in the music of these composers. We will also try to discover the characteristics that may exist distinguishing the music of black composers from those of non-black composers.
Concert Music after 1945
A survey course offering an overview of musical trends that have dominated concert music since World War II, with emphasis on symphonic and chamber music. Recent trends including minimalism, post-Webern serialism, chance and indeterminacy, electronic music, world music, neoromanticism, avant-garde experimentalism, multimedia, and others will be discussed. Pieces by composers John Adams, Takemitsu, Stockhausen, Penderecki, Schnittke, Torke, Cage, Feldman, Harbison, Xenakis, Reich, and others will be studied and analyzed.