Liberal Arts Courses
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.
African American Music, History, and Culture – Contemporary Connections
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.
History of Music in the European Tradition
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.