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.
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.
A study of Japan's musical history and life, including: music of Shinto and Buddhism; music of the court and theater (gagaku, nogaku, kabuki); music of Japan's instruments (biwa, shakuhachi, koto, and shamisen); folk and popular music; demonstration of selected instruments; and introduction to notation systems. The class will examine Chinese and other Asian influence on traditional Japanese music, as well as later cross-cultural influence between the Japan and other cultures around the world.
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.
This course combines historical, theoretical, and psychological aspects of research on the life of Dmitri Shostakovich and the majority of his works. Special attention is devoted to the symphonic and theater works with detailed analysis of the principles of musical and theatrical dramaturgy and emphasis on style, form, and musical language. Videotapes with excerpts of performances of the composer's operas, ballets, and symphonic works, as well as passages from rare documentary films, are an integral part of the course.
An exploration of Messiaen’s unique ideas, philosophy, and music. Topics include his concepts for pitch design and rhythmic generation, and his deep interest in Hindustani rhythms and birdsong studies. Major works examined include Quartet for the End of Time, Visions de l’Amen, Messe de la Pentecôte, and Chronochromie.
Analysis of representative works from the classical and romantic periods. Emphasis on compositional practice and stylistic distinction.
Study of music from the early 20th century to the present. Examination of the development of mainstream serial, electronic, aleatoric, and experimental composition.
A comprehensive survey of the forms that originated in the Renaissance, baroque, and classical periods, and their development and use by composers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Isorhythm, ground bass, variation passage, and fugue are traced in detail from their earliest use to the 20th century.
A continuation of the survey of forms. Sonata, rondo, simple ternary, and other forms are analyzed in detail and traced through the music of composers from the 18th century to the present day.
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.
Comparative study and analysis of the principal Beethoven quartets. Relationship of the quartets to his work as a whole. Examination of the outstanding compositional characteristics of this important body of literature.