This ensemble will perform contemporary compositions and standard repertoire from the Arab world, Turkey, Iran, and Central Asia. Emphasis is on improvisation, communication within the ensemble, developing a groove (including tunes in asymmetrical meters), and exploring the musical resources of the Middle East. Since the music is primarily modal, this ensemble offers students to an opportunity to explore dynamics, instrumental timbre, embellishment, and phrasing free from the constraints of complex harmony. Repertoire is chosen each semester, based on students' preference, from the work of artists such as: Fairuz, Abdel Wahab, Natacha Atlas, Laço Tayfa, Simon Shaheen, Charbel Rouhana, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, and many others.
A large ensemble modeled after afro-pop bands of West Africa but fused with American influences. Styles include afro-beat, soukous, and derivative American styles. The music includes covers, original compositions, and improvisations by the ensemble. The first half of the semester is organized in a workshop format. The second half is used to learn repertoire. Emphasis will be given to stylistic integrity, as well as melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic accuracy.
The Celtic Music ensemble will study and perform the music of broad grouping of musical genres that evolved out of the folk musical traditions of the Celtic people of Western Europe. In this course, students will participate in weekly, supervised rehearsals. Students will gain experience in discussion, researching, and performance of specific styles. Emphasis will be given to stylistic integrity, musicality, individual interpretation, as well as melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic accuracy.
Reggae Dub ensemble students will participate in weekly supervised rehearsals. Students will gain musical experience through the study and performance of reggae dub artists including: Steel Pulse, Morgan Heritage, Beres Hammund, Gentleman, Willie Williams, Giant Panda, Cultura Profética, Groundation, Damian Marley, and many more. Emphasis will be given to stylistic integrity, as well as melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic accuracy.
An advanced performance ensemble geared towards experimenting with different musical styles, traditional and contemporary, from North Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean, including Lebanese, Egyptian, Turkish, Algerian, Bulgarian, and Gypsy traditional styles (e.g. muwashshah, sama'i, kopanitsa). Listening will include traditional artists (e.g. Fairuz, Umm Kulthum, Sayed Darwish, Selim Sesler), as well as fusion artists who have successfully blended these traditional styles with more contemporary sounds and concepts (e.g. Simon Shaheen, Rabih Abou-Khalil, Bustan Abraham, Erkan Oğur, Hüsnü Şenlendirici, The NY Gypsy All-Stars, Laço Tayfa). Students will be exposed to a diverse repertoire, with a focus on odd meters and traditional rhythmic cycles (7/8, 10/8, etc.), as well as traditional Arabic modes and their place in contemporary composition and improvisation.
In this class we will experiment with microtonal arrangements of Western classical, Middle Eastern and other non-Western and jazz/fusion compositions. Joe Maneri's 72 equal temperament octave notation system will be explained. We will start with a selection from the following compositions: Eclipse (Mingus); Madoka Blue (Fiuczynski); Carrillo quarter tone string quartets; Hába quarter tone ‚études; Turkish, Arabic, and Chinese melodies; Beethoven fragments; MoonRing (3/4 tone diminished mode); and Apprehension (Fiuczynski). Students will have a working knowledge of notation, Western classical microtonal history, intonation, and ways of soloing and comping in a microtonal chord scale context. We will also experiment with dance hall, drum 'n' bass, reggaeton, merengueton, house, 2-step, 32nd note hi-hat grooves, hip-hop, go-go, clipped and bounce beats, and new experimental beats created by students.
The Vocal Music of South Africa ensemble will study perform the music of African contemporary artists. In this course, students will participate in weekly supervised rehearsals. Students will gain experience performing popular and traditional African songs. Emphasis will be given to stylistic integrity, as well as melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic accuracy.
The Indian Music Ensemble will study and perform the music of the contemporary Indian music. In this course, students will participate in weekly supervised rehearsals. Students will gain experience in performing and improvising in a groove-oriented setting. Emphasis will be given to stylistic integrity as well as melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic accuracy.
The Middle Eastern/Flamenco Ensemble will study and perform the music of the contemporary Middle Eastern and flamenco Music. This course is part of a team-taught class between Middle Eastern and flamenco styles. In this course, students will participate in weekly supervised rehearsals. Students will gain experience in performing and improvising in a groove-oriented setting. Emphasis will be given to stylistic integrity as well as melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic accuracy.
Qantara Berklee is an ensemble that blends Arab, jazz, Western classical, and Latin American music to transcend the boundaries of genre and geography. Qantara means arch in Arabic, and this ensemble provides students an entryway to these musical cultures. Students in this ensemble will develop their instrumental, aural, and improvisational skills in this unique context at the same time as understanding how to fuse different modes, rhythms, and compositional concepts to create a cross-cultural ensemble.
Development of ensemble group-playing skills, focusing on the roles of the guitarist. Development of melodic performance, rhythm guitar/accompaniment techniques, and improvisation in an ensemble setting. Material will be learned through use of recordings and call-and-response techniques as well as written music materials. Instrumentation: six electric guitars, bass, and drums.