This course provides a study of China’s music from ancient times through major dynasties to the present day, including an exploration of Chinese instruments and the Eight Sounds classification system (gold, stone, earth, leather, silk, wood, gourd, and bamboo); demonstrations of selected instruments; music of Buddhism, court and theater music, northern and southern Chinese opera; folk and popular music (mountain songs, story-singing, c-pop, Cantopop, Mandopop); and tuning and notation systems. This class also examines influences on traditional Chinese music from India and throughout Asia, as well as later influences between China and other global cultures.
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.
A study of the evolution of the blues, combined with compositional application of various blues styles. Historical study focusing on the blues as a complete and complex form as well as the basic foundation for other styles. Analysis includes examination of harmonic movement, rhythmic and melodic construction, and lyric content.
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.