Liberal Arts Courses
A survey of the major styles in Western and non-Western music from the early classical period to the present.
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.
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.
A survey of rock music from its origins to the present. Lectures will focus on musical distinctions among the substyles present in the genre, and will include audio and video clips of major artists and trendsetters. Literary, sociological, and other cultural aspects of this music will also be discussed. Students will be able to take advantage of access to extensive research materials available outside the classroom.
This course focuses on the indelible impact the African musical and cultural aesthetic has had on the formation of America's contemporary music soundtrack and popular culture. The course closely examines the intersection of race, class, and gender as it pertains to the emergence of different sounds, including Atlantic, Philly, Stax, Motown, and Buddha, as well as gospel music in traditions such as Baptist, Church of God in Christ, Full Gospel, and the holiness movement. The course will also focus specifically on those African American musical artists who responded musically to the civil rights movement.
This course looks at the development of indigenous music from Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados—to name a few of the islands—and significant artists who have influenced the development of the music over the past sixty years. As with many Caribbean music traditions, these musics and their sub-genres maintain direct links to West African sacred and secular music. This course examines through analysis the various rhythmic and linear linkages to music from West Africa, as well as the contemporary history of the islands as is reflected in the lyrical content of the music. The influences and nuances will be analyzed and examined through selected recordings of the Lord Kitchener, Harry Belafonte, Mighty Sparrow, Arrow, Lord Shorty, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear, and David Rudder. Steel band music, which is indigenous to Trinidad and Tobago and has spread over most Caribbean Islands, will also be examined.
In this course, students will explore the art music of Europe and the United States. The course will address such important trends as the evolution of counterpoint, the birth of opera, and the emergence of post-tonal compositional practices, using a selection of repertoire spanning the Middle Ages to the present. Students will finish the course with a clear understanding of how the poly stylistic music of the twenty-first century has evolved from past practices. Additionally, students will develop a greater understanding of how other cultural forces have shaped musical practice in the West.
In this course, students learn that American music is founded on jazz and popular music rooted in the African cultural diaspora. Students explore American music history and artistry from 1890 to the present, with a special focus on the way that music shapes and is shaped by society and popular culture. Students examine American styles of music, including, among others, blues, jazz, R&B, rock 'n' roll, soul, pop, and hip-hop. An exploration of the ways that American popular music is shaped by technology, the development of modern society, and influences of the music of South America, the Caribbean, Cuba , and Asia are important lenses through which students explore music history and artistry. In addition to studying the major artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, students explore the ways that music is an expressive form that reflects and influences society.