Bard College Catalogue

The Bard College Catalogue contains detailed descriptions of the College's undergraduate programs and courses, curriculum, admission and financial aid procedures, student activities and services, history, campus facilities, affiliated institutions including graduate programs, and faculty and administration.

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Bard College Catalogue 2013-14

Bard College Catalogue 2013-14



James Bagwell (director), Thurman Barker, Robert Bielecki, Alexander Bonus, Leon Botstein, Teresa Buchholz, Michael Bukhman, Andrew J. Eisenberg, John Esposito, Kyle Gann, Luis Garcia-Renart (emeritus), Christopher H. Gibbs, Marka Gustavsson, Erica Kiesewetter, Peter Laki, Erica Lindsay, Ilka LoMonaco, Blair McMillen, Rufus Müller, Marina Rosenfeld, Patricia Spencer, I Ketut Suadin, Erika Switzer, Richard Teitelbaum, Joan Tower, George Tsontakis


Performance, composition, and historical analysis are the primary focuses of the Bard Music Program. Students develop their ­talents as performers through lessons and in large and small ensembles. In addition to weekly rehearsals with an ensemble and in open concerts offered monthly, they present three or four full-length concerts by the end of their fourth year. Composers develop individual “voices” through an active schedule of rehearsing, taping, and performing their music with faculty, outside professional players, and fellow students. Electronic composers learn the use of a sophisticated electronic music studio and eventually present their pieces (live or on tape) to the Music Program and the Bard community. All senior music majors are eligible either to perform with or have a piece played by the American Symphony Orchestra at the annual Commencement concert. The music faculty ­believes that these activities take on depth when grounded in a knowledge of musical tradition.

The Bard College Conservatory of Music offers a five-year program in which students pursue a simultaneous dual degree, a bachelor of music and a bachelor of arts in a field other than music. Music Program courses are open to Conservatory students, and the two programs may share some courses, workshops, faculty, and performance facilities.

Areas of Study

Bard’s Music Program is equipped for specialization in four major areas: jazz (and related African American traditions), European classical music (including its younger, American parallel), electronic music (starting with its early 20th-century experimental roots), and ethnomusicology. The music major explores the history and theory of one of these four areas through course work and also takes at least one music course in an area outside his or her specialization. The Music Program encourages ­diversity, provided the musician becomes sufficiently immersed in one tradition to experience the richness and complexity of a musical culture.


All music majors are expected to successfully complete three semesters of music theory and three semesters of music history, including at least one course above the 200 level. Additionally, program majors must take one class in composition or an equivalent course involving personal musical creativity, and a performance class, accompanied by two semesters’ worth of private performance lessons (or an equivalent course involving regular public performance). About half of these requirements should be completed prior to Moderation. The Senior Project consists of two concerts from 30 to 60 minutes each; it may also take the form of an advanced research ­project in music history or theory. In the case of composers, one concert may be replaced by an orchestral work written for performance by the American Symphony Orchestra. 

Recent Senior Projects in Music

  • “Deconstructing Fugue: A Critical Survey of Analytical Approaches and an Original Method of Analysis” 
  • “Edward Kennedy ‘Duke’ Ellington: Making a Lady Out of Jazz”
  • “Invisible Forces: Music and Magic in Early German Romantic Opera”
  • “Not Wanting to Say Anything about John,” writing through the creation of the John Cage Literary Archive


Music Program offerings are grouped under the headings of workshops, ensembles, and courses. Special Projects are for music majors only. Workshops are project oriented, allowing a student to enroll repeatedly in the same workshop; courses cover specific material and one-time-only registration is anticipated. Workshops, ensembles, and courses are open to music majors and nonmajors alike, and a number of courses are specifically aimed at stimulating the interest and listening involvement of the general student population. 

Recent workshops include the following: American Tableaux, Art of Collaboration, Bach Arias, Chinese Music Ensemble, Classical Guitar, Composition, Contemporary Electronics, Early Music Vocal Performance, Electronic Music, English and American Art Song, French Art Song, Hands-on Music History, Improvisation, Jazz Vocals, Musical Structure for Performers, Opera, Orchestral and Festival Audition Prepa­ration, Percussion Discussion, Production and Reproduction, Samba School, Sight Reading, Songwriting, 20th-Century Composition, and Voice and Vocal Repertoire for Singers and Pianists.

Bard College Orchestra
Music 104

Bard College Symphonic Chorus
Music 105

Bard College Community Chamber Music Program
Music 106

Music 107-108
Ensembles may be taken for one credit or no credit. If private lessons are taken in conjunction with an ensemble, one more credit may be added. Recent ensembles include Balinese Gamelan, Baroque, Big Band, Chamber, Chinese Music, Contemporary Jazz Composers, Electro-acoustic, Jazz Guitar, Jazz Vocal, Percussion, Vocal, Wind and Brass Chamber.

Sound and Culture
Music 119
This course explores the ways auditory phenomena (sound, silence, noise, music) are conceived, produced, perceived, and organized by humans into meaningful (and often musical) forms and events. The ultimate goal is to develop a broader sense of what music is and enable ­students to appreciate today’s rapidly evolving soundscape of mediated and multicultural musics.

Introduction to Music Theory
Music 122
An introduction to tonal music for nonmusic majors and potential music majors who have had little or no exposure to reading music. The course begins with the basics of musical notation and progresses to the identification of scales, ­triads, and seventh chords. An ear-training component that allows for practical reinforcement of the aural concepts is presented.

Popular Music of the Non-Western World
Music 123
What does it mean for a music to be “popular”? In different parts of the world, the production, consumption, and distribution of popular music is shaped by a society’s distinct ways of encountering and negotiating modernity. This course looks at popular music genres in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East, and explores issues related to the emergence of each one as well as their localized meanings.

History of the Keyboard
Music 127
This course introduces students to the history of Western music through an exploration of the keyboard instruments (organ, harpsichord, piano) and their evolution over the centuries. Students also become acquainted with some of the great keyboard performers of the past and the present.

Introduction to World Music
Music 140
A survey of various folk and traditional musics of the non-Western world. Music cultures are discussed individually, while maintaining a cross-cultural perspective in order to discern common underlying themes and processes as well as points of divergence. Discussion also includes issues such as cultural ownership, appropriation, and commodification—issues that have arisen as the countries where the musics originate get more deeply implicated in the global economy.

Music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Music 141
The course focuses on music from the last decade of Mozart’s life (more or less coinciding with his move to Vienna), although important earlier works are also studied. The operas receive special attention. The course, which fulfills a music history requirement for unmoderated music majors, is intended for the general music lover.

String Quartets: Romantic Nationalism in Music from Beethoven through Debussy
Music 169
Definitions of identity through language and folk customs formed a significant movement of cultural nationalism in music and led to the creation of striking works distinguished by their blending of idiomatic folk music into formal concert music. This course focuses on the stylistic transformation of music during the 19th century through the genre of the string quartet.

Jazz Harmony I and II
Music 171-172
This two-semester introduction to jazz harmony helps students identify and understand the chords and chord progressions commonly used in jazz.

Jazz Ear Training I
Music 173
The course covers the technical/aesthetic fundamentals specific to jazz as a 20th-century African American music, including the syncopated rhythmic language underlying linear melodic phrasing. Harmonic work includes singing the basic 20th-century materials, blues melodies, and transcriptions of solos by jazz masters. It is suggested that Jazz Ear Training I and Jazz Harmony I be taken together.

High/Low: “Popular” and “Serious” Music in Western Culture
Music 183
As far back as the early Renaissance, distinctions were made as to what constituted popular and serious music. In this course, key works in Western classical music from the 16th century through the 21st century are studied along with the popular music of the day. Careful attention is paid to critical reaction to these works, along with an examination of the cultural climate and trends that might have contributed to high/low distinctions.

Music Theory I and II
Music 201-202
Basic musical notation is the starting point, after which the class moves to scales and recognition of triads and seventh chords, and then to rhythmic performance. By the end of the course, students should possess the ability to write a hymn, song, or brief movement of tonal music. At all times the course emphasizes analysis of real music, and an ear-training component reinforces the theoretical knowledge with practical experience.

Jazz in Literature I and II
Music 211-212
cross-listed: africana studies, american studies
A two-semester course that explores jazz-themed short stories, novels, and plays, with the goal of scrutinizing the synergy of two great art forms—literature and jazz—in the 20th century. The reading list includes Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Donald Barthelme, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, and Ann Petry.

Masterworks of Music
Music 215
This course parallels Literature and Language of Music (Music 264-265) but offers a close examination of a handful of pieces. Works studied include, but are not limited to, Dufay’s L’homme armé Mass; Josquin’s L’homme armé Mass (super voces musicales); Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea; Bach’s Brandenburg concertos; and Beethoven’s String Quartet in B flat, Op. 130. Students read a substantial amount of specialized literature on each work.

Voice, Body, Machine: Women Artists and the Evolution of the Composer-Performer
Music 217 
This course explores the works and legacy of a diverse group of artists, mostly female, whose interdisciplinary practices challenged conventional ideas of performance, expression, and technology, and redefined the fields of experimental and electronic music during the last half-century. Artists studied include Pauline Oliveros, Yoko Ono, Joan La Barbara, Alison Knowles, Maryanne Amacher, Eliane Radigue, Diamanda Galás, Laetitia Sonami, Terre Thaemlitz, and Kembra Pfahler.

Music, Language, and Mind
Music 220
A survey of recent work in musical cognition, with an emphasis on the connections between language and music. Among the questions addressed: Does the shared terminology we employ to refer to the basic elements of music and language—e.g., accent, rhythm, phrase, stress—point to underlying similarities in the two mental systems or does it obscure fundamental differences? Does the evidence offered by contemporary neuropsychological research indicate that linguistic and musical syntax make use of similar or distinct neural circuitry?

Music of China
Music 226
cross-listed: asian studies
Various forms of Chinese music are examined, with particular focus on instrumental genres. Also addressed: musical styles, concepts, and recurring themes in Chinese music history.

Renaissance Counterpoint
Music 228
This course follows classical species counterpoint as outlined by Knud Jeppesen, based on the style of Palestrina. The freer styles of earlier composers, such as Josquin and Ockeghem, are also examined, and the class generalizes from contrapuntal concepts to such derivatives as the dissonant counterpoint of Charles Seeger and others. Students must be able to read music and have a basic knowledge of musical terminology (intervals, cadences).

The Faust Legend in Literature and Music
Music 229
Students read versions of the Faust legend by Marlowe, Goethe, and Mann, and then examine their musical realizations by Schumann, Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Gounod, Mahler, Boito, Busoni, and Mann/Schoenberg. No technical knowledge of music is required.

From “Honest Courtesans” to Singing Nuns: Women and Music in Early Modern Italy
Music 231
The course focuses on female composers, lyricists, and performers of both sacred and secular music in Italy from the late Renaissance to the 18th century.

20th-Century Masters: Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Shostakovich
Music 232
Students consider major works by each of these composers, who together encapsulate much of the history, techniques, and aesthetics of 20th-century Western art music. Arnold Schoenberg (1874–1951) carried Wagnerian harmony to what he considered its logical conclusion, the destruction of tonality. Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971), a product of Russian imperial culture, assimilated everything from Tchaikovskian romanticism to serial technique. Dmitrii Shostakovich (1906–1975) tried to balance creative expression with the demands of the Stalinist government.

Analyzing Beethoven
Music 234
This course analyzes the development of Beethoven’s formal ideas, leading up to a detailed examination of the astonishing late piano sonatas and string quartets, still considered by some to be the most avante-garde music ever written. Prerequisite: Music 201-202 or the equivalent.

The Music of Claudio Monteverdi
Music 235
Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643) was the first great composer of the baroque period. This course considers his career in historic and artistic contexts. Students examine his productions in various genres: madrigal, opera (e.g., L’Orfeo and L’incoronazione di Poppea), masque, and sacred music.

Machine-Made Music, Past and Present
Music 237
cross-listed: experimental humanities, sts
The forgotten term “mechanical music” once distinguished compositions born of human interpretation from those works created through a mechanized process. Using this designation, it can be argued that musical clocks, self-playing organs, and phonographs, as well as today’s ­laptops and iPads, form a single musical genre, whereby the living performer is largely useless. The course explores this alternate narrative of music culture, in which various technologies play the most important parts.

Monsters! Madness! Mayhem! Embracing the Wild Side of Baroque Music
Music 239
Baroque music has a reputation for being elegant and soothing—a background soundtrack intended for fancy dinner parties or a good nap. This course strongly challenges such misconceptions by exploring the volatile, passionate themes regularly expressed in music spanning the late 16th through 18th centuries. The class analyzes vocal and instrumental works for the chamber, church, and stage that evoke the darker side of human nature and mythology. Focus is given to Monteverdi, Purcell, Lully, Scarlatti, Handel, and J. S. Bach.

The History and Literature of Electronic and Computer Music
Music 241
Beginning with the history of such early electronic instruments as the theremin and the Ondes-Martenot, this course traces the development of electronic music from early musique concrète, elektronische Musik, and tape music through the advent of live electronic music and computer music.

Improvisation: Theory/Practice
Music 246
An in-depth scholarly and practical exploration of the many practices associated with improvised music making in recent and contemporary music. Areas of study include experimental notation, free and structured improvisation, interactivity, game structures, and live electronic music performance. Students analyze and perform classic works from the field, as well as devise new structures, models, and techniques for improvised music making on their own instruments. Open to acoustic and electronic musicians with permission of the instructor.

Pronunciation and Diction for Singers
Music 254A, 254B
This two-semester course offers an introduction to the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and to the practical aspects of performing or preparing Italian, French, German, and English vocal literature. The fall semester is devoted to the Italian and French languages, the spring to German, English, and Latin.

Music 256
Students learn how to score for instrumental combinations, from small ensembles up to full orchestra. The course features live demonstrations of orchestral instruments, and covers score study of orchestral literature; chord voicing and notation of bowings, breathing, articulations, and special orchestral effects; and the practice of basic conducting patterns and skills.

Music 257
This course focuses on the theory and practice of sound recording. Students learn the use of recording equipment, including digital tape recorders, mixing consoles, signal processing devices, and microphones. A/B listening tests are used to compare types of microphones, microphone placement, and recording techniques. Pro Tools software is available for digital editing and mastering to CD.

Literature and Language of Music
Music 264-265
A survey of selected works, ranging (in the first semester) from Gregorian chants in the Middle Ages to the early works of Beethoven (around 1800). The second semester surveys music from Beethoven to the present day. All works are placed in a broad historical context, with specific focus on stylistic and compositional traits. In addition, musical terminology, composers, and historical and theoretical methodology are described in relationship to the repertoire. As students use scores in class discussions, basic skills in music reading are expected.

Jazz Repertory: American Song
Music 266
cross-listed: africana studies, american studies
This performance-based course is a survey of the major American popular song composers of the Tin Pan Alley era, whose work forms the core of the jazz repertoire. Composers studied include Gershwin, Berlin, Porter, Ellington, Warren, and Rodgers, among others. Students and the instructor perform the music studied in a workshop setting. Prerequisite: Music 171-172 or permission of instructor.

Additional jazz repertory subjects have included bebop masters, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk.

Introduction to Opera
Music 276
A survey of opera from Monteverdi to the present day. The focus is on a limited number of operas, including treatments of the Orpheus myth by Peri, Monteverdi, Gluck, and Glass; Handel’s Giulio Cesare; Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas; Mozart’s Don Giovanni; Beethoven’s Fidelio; Wagner’s Die Walküre; Verdi’s La Traviata; Berg’s Wozzeck; Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress; and Glass’s Einstein on the Beach. Classes also include video screenings and comparisons of different productions.

Introduction to Ethnomusicology
Music 287
cross-listed: anthropology
This course introduces students to the history, scope of subject matter, theory, and methodology of ethnomusicology—the study of music in relation to other aspects of culture.

The Arithmetic of Listening
Music 304
This introduction to the overtone series and the history of tuning teaches how tuning shapes the course of a culture’s music; traces the parallel development of music and the number series back 6,000 years, to the teachings of Pythagoras; shows how to discriminate the pitch subtleties that differentiate Indian music, Balinese music, and even the blues from conventional European tuning; analyzes music by American avant-gardists; and sensitizes students to aspects of listening that 20th-century Westerners have been trained to filter out.

Musical Electronics: Analog Synthesis and Processing
Music 320
This course concentrates on the theory, design, and creative use of the basic components of analog electronic music systems. Students examine some of the original circuits used by Bode, Moog, Serge, Theremin, and others. Discussions cover voltage control techniques, synthesis, and processing. Class projects ­re-create some of the classic circuits and patches. 

Charles Ives: Concord Sonata
Music 322
This seminar offers an in-depth examination and analysis of one of the 20th century’s most extraordinary piano works: the Piano Sonata No. 2, “Concord, Mass., 1840–1860,” by Charles Ives (1874­–1954). Prerequisite: a second-year music theory course.

Music 323
This course introduces advanced students to the basic elements of conducting. While the development of the physical gesture and rehearsal techniques are the primary goals, the class also works on score reading, ear training, instrumental transposition, and historical ­performance practice. Repertoire includes both orchestral and choral works). Prerequisites: Music 201 and 202 or the equivalent.

Mahler and Fin-de-Siècle Vienna
Music 324
This course explores the musical, cultural, and political world of fin-de-siècle Vienna with a thorough investigation of the music of Gustav Mahler. Students consider the genesis of his songs and symphonies, their literary and intellectual sources, and the initial reception of his works in Vienna. Mahler’s accomplishment is situated with regard to his older and younger musical contemporaries. The composer’s relationship to the artistic, intellectual, and political trends of his time is also considered.

Between Music, Art, and Anthropology
Music 325
cross-listed: anthropology
Creative artists and ethnographers often share practice-based investigations, resulting in works that raise such issues as ethics, advocacy, reflexivity, and collaboration. In this project-based seminar, students examine theoretical issues raised through their own musical/artistic creative work in conjunction with the study of the anthropology of the senses. Students learn basic approaches to performance, fieldwork, and participant observation.

Jazz: The Freedom Principle I, II, III
Music 331, 332, 335
cross-listed: africana studies, american studies
This three-part course is a study of the cross-pollination between postbop in the late 1950s and free jazz. Employing a cultural approach, it examines the effects on music of the prevailing social climate from 1958 through the mid-1960s. The emphasis is on artists and composers such as Art Blakey, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Eric Dolphy, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Max Roach, Horace Silver, and Cecil Taylor.

Studies in 19th-Century French Music
Music 336
This seminar addresses selected aspects of 19th-century French music, from Berlioz to Fauré. Genres covered include opera, choral music, symphonic and chamber music, piano music, and art song. Special attention is paid to the historical context, including the 1830 and 1848 revolutions, the Second Empire, the Franco-Prussian war, and the Third Republic.

Introduction to Experimental Music
Music 340
This course starts with Henry Cowell’s radical innovations early in the 20th century, but the primary focus is on the new forms developed in the ’60s and ’70s, including the text-based “event” pieces of the Fluxus movement; the music of Musica Elettronica Viva in Rome and Sonic Arts Union in New York; the minimalist works of La Monte Young, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass; and the improvisation-based ­techniques in the works of Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, and others.

Evolution of the Sonata
Music 341 
Sonata form, which began in the early 18th century, is the most important collective achievement in European music, and it continues to influence the way much music is written today. This course starts with the primitive binary forms of Kuhnau and Sammartini, and proceeds through works of C. P. E. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Clementi, Dussek, Beethoven, Hummel, and Schubert.

Introductory Psychoacoustics
Music 345
This course begins with a description of the physiology and function of the ear and how auditory information is processed. It then focuses on sound localization and the technologies used in spatialization and 3-D audio, as well as on auditory localization cues, binaural recording, spatial audio synthesis, sound for ­virtual realities, and immersive environments.

Interactive Performance and Composition Using MAX/MSP
Music 346
An introduction to computer programming for algorithmic composition, sound installations, interactive performance, and live sound processing, using the musician-friendly MAX/MSP programming language. This is a hands-on course with several small assignments culminating in a final project of programming and composing and a presentation or performance. Prior experience with sequencers or MIDI software is helpful.

Jazz: The Freedom Principle IV
Music 349
cross-listed: africana studies, american studies
This study of jazz from 1952 to the early ’70s examines the extreme shifts in styles, from cool to hard bop to the avant-garde. Musicians associated with these styles, such as Stan Getz, Lee Konitz, Hank Mobley, Anthony Braxton, and Muhal Richard Abrams, are emphasized.

Electronic, Electroacoustic, and Computer Music Composition
Music 352
Taking VR (Virtual Reality 3D sonic imaging and graphics, telepresence, and cyberspace) as a point of departure, this workshop examines the possibilities of individualizing sonic architectures for listeners and spaces. Scenarios are proposed for future sonic worlds, and cross-sensory explorations are investigated. Readings include selected excerpts spanning musical ­theory, acoustics, neuroscience, and the literature of the imagination. Internet sources are used extensively to access new developments in interface and enhancement technologies.

Death Set to Music
Music 355
Students consider key musical works that use death and mourning as subject matter, including the requiems of Mozart, Verdi, Brahms, Britten, and Hindemith; and Bach’s Johannes-Passion and Ich habe Genug (Cantata 82).

Arranging Techniques for Jazz
Music 356
This course focuses on the various techniques used in jazz ensemble writing, from quintet to big band ensembles. Classic “drop-two” voicings and tertiary approaches are covered, as are more contemporary cluster, quartal, and line part writings. Myriad approaches to textural issues that arise in each particular instrumentation are examined, along with various approaches to section writing. This is an advanced seminar open to moderated Upper College music majors who have successfully completed Music 367, or by permission of the instructor.

Music and Tourism in Southeast Asia
Music 357
cross-listed: anthropology, asian studies
When music interfaces with tourism, the result is a doubly potent medium of encounter. There is hardly a place on earth left untouched by the recreational geography of tourism, but the transformation of the general image of Southeast Asia over the past several decades is phenomenal, in large part owing to the annexation of music within the tourism enterprise. This course looks at the political economy of tourism as seen through an analysis of specific sites, and analyzes the role of music in creating new local economies.

The Classics of Modernism
Music 359
The period from 1910 to 1970 saw an explosion of dissonance, complexity, and apparent musical chaos. This course analyzes works that both changed the way we think about composing and pioneered the growth of an atonal musical language. Works studied include: Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps; Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion; Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time; Stockhausen’s Gruppen; Webern’s Symphonie, Op. 21; and Nancarrow’s Study No. 36.

John Cage and His World
Music 363
Long reviled as a charlatan and/or madman, John Cage has finally achieved recognition as one of the most influential composers and musical thinkers of the late 20th century. This course focuses primarily on an analysis of his music, encompassing such innovations as the prepared piano, chance, and indeterminacy. Also considered is the work of his teachers and those who influenced him, as well as his collaborators from the worlds of music, visual arts, dance, literature, politics, and religion.

Advanced Contemporary Jazz Techniques
Music 366
This course introduces methods for the jazz improviser to deconstruct and reorganize the basic harmonic and rhythmic elements for a composition. Issues addressed include reharmonization, remetering, metric modulation, and variations in phrasing, tempo, and dynamics; that is, the arrangement and reorganization of compositional elements. This is a performance-oriented class, and the repertoire includes jazz standards and compositions of the instructor. Open to moderated students who have successfully completed Music 171-172, Jazz Harmony I and II, and previous jazz repertory classes.

Jazz Composition
Music 367
This course explores the strategies of jazz composition, including basic modal harmony and melodic and rhythmic development.

Music of Debussy and Ravel
Music 379
This course considers a broad selection of the composers’ works, including piano and chamber music as well as symphonic and stage works. Topics include innovation in the areas of harmony and timbre, and connections with literature and the visual arts.