In this course the student will explore the meaning of instrumental music that is termed program, rather than absolute music, and uncover the divergent possibilities of creating extramusical images in music. After examining its incipient stages in the Renaissance through the Classical period, the main focus of the course will be to chart its development in the 19th century, the time period where it flourished. Near the end of the course the principles of program music will be continued beyond the 19th century.
This course examines the history of jazz, from its African roots and 19th-century precursors to today. It includes a survey of major artists, groups, and periods, including African American folk forms, ragtime, New Orleans, the swing era, Latin jazz, bebop, and other movements. Issues of gender and diversity in jazz are discussed. Students examine historical sources and recent critical commentary to inform the study of the meaning and place of jazz in American society and global culture. Guided listening builds understanding of form and structure in this art form.
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 survey course presents students with an overview of the history of musical theater in the United States. Using a chronological approach to the study of musical theater, starting with an overview of the traditions on which musical theater is based, the course then works through the twentieth century with a focus on the socioeconomic and cultural realities of each period and how they are reflected in the development of musical theater. Students learn about particularly influential theaters, producers, writers, composers, and performers. Students also explore the genre as commerce and art form.
This course offers a survey of country music as a cultural and commercial phenomenon. The first unit focuses on the conversion of Southern musical folk traditions into the commercial genre that would come to be known as country, as well as the othering of this genre within the American musical landscape. The second unit looks at the first substantial expansion of the genre outside of its cultural roots and geographical centers in the 1940s, which was accompanied by the emergence of the genre’s identity as a center for nationalistic sentiment and the marginalization of the political left within its fan base. The third unit deals with the major identity crisis within the genre itself, precipitated by attempts to mainstream country in the Nashville sound, and the emergence of styles like outlaw that sought to recapture the genre’s outsider status. The final unit considers country since the 1980s, an era that features the urbanization of the genre and the emergence of new country, an accompanying surge of reminiscence themes, and a broad arch back toward the political center within the genre’s fan base.
A survey of music in feature-length films from the silent period to the present day. An overview of stylistic scoring approaches that represent the most significant developments in the field. Discussion of works of composers who have contributed extensively to the development of film music, including representatives of newer trends in recent years. Extensive visual examples will be combined with independent aural analysis of a wide range of scores.
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.
This course is a survey focusing on stylistic analysis and a contextualizing cultural exploration of the various socio-historical circumstances that have characterized Brazilian music throughout its evolution from the slave-trade defined colonial era, via the emergence of a unified national, mainstream musical identity around the early 20th century, and into its current cosmopolitan stylistic landscape. It features discussion of national as well as regionally-defined genres, introductions to representative artistic figures and their works, and places particular emphasis on the historical as well as ongoing creative exchanges among European-, Indigenous-, and African-derived musical traditions in the formation of Brazil’s musical identity. The particular impact of Brazilian popular music on the international stage will be also examined from a variety of perspectives. The class discussion includes extensive audio/visual materials, as well as weekly readings drawing on a variety of journalistic and academic sources.
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.
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.