Bard College Catalogue 2016-17
James Bagwell (director), Erika Allen, Thurman Barker, Robert Bielecki, Alexander Bonus, Leon Botstein, Teresa Buchholz, 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, Matt Sargent, Maria Sonevytsky, Patricia Spencer, I Ketut Suadin, Erika Switzer, Richard Teitelbaum, Joan Tower, George Tsontakis
Performance, composition, and historical study 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 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. Some students pursue Senior Projects in music history, theory, or ethnomusicology. 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 double 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.
By the time of graduation, all music majors are expected to have successfully completed three semesters of music theory and three semesters of music history, including at least one course at the 300 level or above. In addition, music majors are required to complete one class in composition or, with the approval of the Music Program director, four credits in an equivalent course involving personal musical creativity. Participation in a performance class, accompanied by two semesters’ worth of private lessons, is also required (performance class may be replaced by some other class involving public performance). Generally, half of these requirements are completed by the time of Moderation. For their Moderation project, most students give a 25- to 40-minute concert of their own music and/or music by other composers; a substantial music history or theory paper may also be accepted. The Senior Project consists of two concerts of approximately 60 minutes each. Composers may replace one concert with an orchestral work written for performance by the American Symphony Orchestra. In certain cases involving expertise in music technology, a student may submit produced recordings of music rather than give a live performance. An advanced research project in music history or theory can also be considered as a Senior Project.
Recent Senior Projects in Music
- “Body of the Bay,” a composition for orchestra
- “Débarrassons Nous de Nos Mamelles and Half of What She Thinks: Two Recitals in Classical Voice”
- “Flip the Script: A Reflexive Ethnography of American Millennial Hip-Hop Culture”
- “The Versatility of the Cello: From Bach to Barber”
CoursesMusic Program offerings are grouped under the headings of workshops, ensembles, and courses. 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, Baroque Ensemble, Classical Guitar, Composition, Contemporary Electronics, Early Music Vocal Performance, Electronic Music, English and American Art Song, French Art Song, German Diction, Hands-on Music History, Improvisation, Jazz Vocals, Music Software for Composition and Performance, Musical Structure for Performers, Opera, Orchestral and Festival Audition Preparation, Percussion Discussion, Production and Reproduction, Samba School, Sight Reading, Songwriting, Transcription Analysis, 20th-Century Composition, and Voice and Vocal Repertoire for Singers and Pianists.
The descriptions below represent a sampling of courses from the past four years.
Bard College Orchestra
Bard College Symphonic Chorus
Bard College Community Chamber Music
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, Cello, Chamber Singers, Chinese Music, Contemporary Jazz Composers, Electroacoustic, Georgian Choir, Jazz Vocal, Percussion, Samba, Wind and Strings.
Introduction to Music Theory
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.
History of the Keyboard
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.
Unraveling the Song: A Comparative Exploration of Sung Storytelling
This course explores the relationship of text and music to the structures of sung stories. With musical examples from all eras (medieval to contemporary) and forms (classical through popular), the class takes a comparative view of the tools and interpretations of text setting. Students learn to articulate not only what they hear but also why they hear it that way.
Introduction to Jazz History
cross-listed: africana studies, american studies
A survey of jazz from its roots in the combination of African indigenous elements with American popular music of the late 19th century to its establishment as a concert music. Through close listening and reading, students learn to identify the basics of jazz form, the stages of improvisational technique, and the roles of pivotal figures. Also covered: the “neo-classical” movement and institutionalization of jazz; attempts to integrate jazz language into classical music; jazz, drugs, and “hipsterism”; and questions of race, class, gender, and appropriation.
Introduction to Western Music
By presenting selected masterpieces in the Western tradition, this course seeks to demonstrate some of the ways in which music communicates with the listener. In the process, a number of basic concepts underlying musical form and structure are clarified. Students are encouraged to bring their own favorite works to class for general discussion.
An introduction to electronic and experimental music, with a focus on hacking culture, musical sampling, and the history of recording technology. Students participate in hands-on demonstrations of electronic music tools (turntables, transducers, contact mics) and re-creations of classic experimental pieces, and are expected to make several compositions in the electronic music studio.
Mozart and His World: An Exploration of His Life and Works
This course examines Mozart’s extraordinary life and musical legacy. Students become acquainted with key genres (opera, symphony, concerto, string quartet) and classical forms (sonata, rondo, variation), read from his letters, follow his travels, and sample contemporary responses to his music.
Listening to String Quartets
Many composers of string quartets reserved that genre for their most profound and unusual utterances. The class listens to the expressive, conversational music in this form, from its roots in the classical First Viennese School through German Romanticism, European nationalism, the Second Viennese School, and American and European modernism. In addition to developing tools for listening to this complex polyphonic texture, students read composers’ letters, such as Beethoven’s “Heiligenstadt Testament,” and articles from current publications.
Jazz Harmony I and II
This two-semester introduction to jazz harmony helps students identify and understand the chords and chord progressions commonly used in jazz.
Introduction to Ethnomusicology
Music 185 / Anthropology 185
Students explore sounds from around the globe, and consider ways to listen deeply and write critically about music. Topics discussed: how music has been represented in the past and how it is represented today; the utility and value of music as a commodity in our globalized world; the ethics of musical appropriations; questions about musical authenticity, musical origins, universals, comparative frameworks, and the preservationist ethos; and the relevance of music to contemporary indigenous politics and human rights.
Death Set to Music
This course analyzes a number of key musical works that use death and mourning as subject matter, including the requiems of Mozart, Verdi, Brahms, Britten, and Hindemith, as well as Bach’s Johannes-Passion and Ich have genus (Cantata 82).
Music Theory / Ear Training I-II
Basic musical notation is the starting point, after which the class moves to scales, recognition of triads and seventh chords, and 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.
From Orpheus to Oedipus: Greek Themes in Western Music from 1600 to the Present
This course focuses on selected works (operas, oratorios, symphonic poems, art songs) based on ancient Greek topics, looking at how composers of different eras, nationalities, and stylistic orientations found inspiration in the same literary sources and how they reinterpreted those sources to give expression to their own artistic personalities. Works studied include Monteverdi’s Orfeo; Gluck’s Orfeo and Iphigénie en Tauride; Schubert’s Prometheus, Ganymed, and Gruppe aus dem Tartarus; Strauss’s Elektra; Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe; Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex and Perséphone; and Birtwistle’s The Mask of Orpheus.
The Roaring Twenties: Music and Society in Europe and the United States
This course explores the music of the 1920s in New York, Paris, Petrograd/Leningrad, Berlin, and Vienna, with an emphasis on the relationships between composers and other artists and musical institutions. Among the issues explored are the meaning of the term “avant-garde” and interactions between various Western and non-Western art forms. Composers studied include Gershwin, Copland, Stravinsky, Milhaud, Weill, Schoenberg, Berg, and Shostakovich.
Jazz in Literature I and II
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.
Introduction to Conducting
The development of the physical gesture and rehearsal techniques are the primary goals, but the course also addresses score reading, ear training, instrumental transposition, and historical performance practice. The repertoire includes both orchestral and choral works.
Repertoire for Classical Voice
A survey of the 20th- and 21st-century repertoire for classical solo vocalist, beginning with works of the late Romantic era and Second Viennese School through to the latest works of contemporary American composers. Students develop their knowledge and understanding of trends in composition and structure, the intersection of poetry and music, and the art of concert programming and repertoire selection. Highly recommended for voice majors and pianists interested in vocal collaboration.
Socialist Musical Imaginaries
cross-listed: anthropology, gis, res
Taking examples from China, Cuba, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union, this course surveys the cultural policies of socialist states and their effects on the lives, listening habits, and creative output of musicians and music consumers. From the politics of Azeri opera, to the subversive sounds of Siberian punk, to the performance of masculinity in Chinese and Cuban pop music, the class investigates how political ideologies generated state support for certain kinds of music while suppressing other forms of unofficial, underground, and protest music.
Explorations in World Music
This course takes an ethnomusicological approach to the study of musical traditions from around the globe, asking questions about how music makes meaning and is made meaningful in diverse social locations and cultural contexts. Topics include music as ritual, performance practices and systems of traditional musics, the commodification of “world music,” and cross-cultural notions of musical talent. Prerequisite: one semester of music theory or familiarity with basic Western musical terms and systems.
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.
Music, Sexuality, and Gender
cross-listed: anthropology, gss
A survey of musicological approaches to the study of sexuality and gender that considers how music informs and reflects cultural constructions of femininity and masculinity. The class investigates how modern gendered subjectivities are negotiated through musical practices such as composition, performance, and consumption, with examples from opera, popular music, folk music, and indigenous musics.
The History of Electronic Music
The development of electronic music is traced from the invention of the theremin, ondes Martenot, and trautonium in the 1920s through the innovation of magnetic tape recording in the 1940s; experimental works by John Cage and David Tudor that reintroduced the live performer to the electronic medium; the advent of more personal synthesizers (invented by Moog, Buchla, and others) in the 1960s and ’70s; and recent developments in computer music. In addition to readings, the course encourages live performances of classic pieces as well as new compositions and improvisations.
Introduction to Electronic Music
This course focuses on the creation of original work through the use of digital and analog tools and processes. Students are introduced to foundational practices in electroacoustic sound production and their contemporary/digital analogues, with particular emphasis on signal processing, studio and field recording, and modes of diffusion, including multichannel installation and live performance. They also receive instruction in Pro Tools for multitrack recording, editing, and mixing. In addition to the digital workstations, students can explore analog synthesis techniques using the vintage Serge modular synthesizer.
Music of the European Avant-Garde
Topics discussed include the lives and activities of European composers after World War II and new musical techniques of the mid- to late 20th century, such as dodecaphony and pointillism (Schoenberg, Webern), total serialism (Messiaen, Boulez, Stockhausen), aleatory music (Boulez, Stockhausen), micropolyphony (Ligeti), tone clusters (Lutos?awski, Penderecki, Maksimovi´c), instrumental theater (Kagel, Globokar), electronic music (Stockhausen, Varèse), and music’s cross-fertilization with architecture and science (Xenakis). Prerequisite: at least one semester of Music 264-265 or the equivalent.
Making of the Band: A History of Musical Instruments and Ensembles, from the Medieval Age to the Present
This course surveys a variety of past and present “bands,” their instruments, and their repertoire, in order to uncover some neglected details about musical history. From medieval town pipers to Victorian brass bands to today’s electroacoustic groups, the class documents musical history from the instrument’s perspective. Topics include instrument construction, performance styles, and compositional analysis.
Introduction to Analog Synthesis
After introducing the basic acoustics of music, the course concentrates on the concept and uses of the voltage-controlled synthesizer. Also covered: voltage-controlled oscillators, amplifiers, filters, envelope generators, and envelope followers and their creative patching. The class connects these and other modules to external sound sources via microphones, computers, and brain wave amplifiers. Students should have access either to analog hardware of their own and/or virtual analog synthesizers available online. Both compositional and improvisational approaches are encouraged.
Electronic and Computer Music Composition
In this course, intended primarily for music majors, students are expected to bring in ongoing original work in the form of recordings, scores, and/or digital realizations. These are examined and discussed by the instructor and other class members. Installation and intermedia works are also welcome. Additionally, the course features analyses of classic works by such composers as Stockhausen, Cage, and Lucier.
Pronunciation and Diction for Singers
Music 254A, 254B
This two-semester course offers an introduction to the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) as well as 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.
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.
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
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. Since students use scores in class discussions, basic skills in music reading are expected.
Jazz Repertory: American Song
cross-listed: africana studies, american studies
This performance-based course surveys 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. Students and the instructor perform the music studied in a workshop setting. Repertory subjects have also included John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, and bebop masters. Prerequisite: Music 171-172 or permission of instructor.
Literature and Language of Music III
This course explores selected masterpieces of the late Romantic and early Modernist periods (roughly 1870 to 1920), and provides an in-depth study of the composers Wagner, Bruckner, Strauss, Debussy, Stravinsky, Mahler, Schoenberg, Webern, and Berg. Particular attention is paid to Wagner and his legacy as well as the musical activities in fin-de-siècle Vienna around the circles of Mahler and Schoenberg.
The Music and Writings of Stockhausen, Nono, and Cage
Karlheinz Stockhausen and Luigi Nono were leaders of the postwar European avant-garde. They came from very different backgrounds—Stockhausen, a German Catholic, and Nono, an Italian Communist—but both espoused serialism early on, before turning away from its strict application to expand their horizons in far freer directions. In this respect, the work of California native John Cage was a major influence. All three composers utilized acoustic and electronic media in their works as well as theatrical and multimedia techniques, breaking new ground in their efforts.
Introduction to Opera
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.
This course provides practical instruction in field research and analytical methods in ethnomusicology. Topics include research design, grantsmanship, fieldwork, participant observation, writing field notes, interviews and oral histories, survey instruments, textual analysis, audiovisual methods, archiving, performance as methodology, historical research, and the ethics and politics of cultural representation. Students design and carry out a limited research project over the course of a semester.
Advanced Analysis Seminar: Charles Ives
Charles Ives’s groundbreaking music, most of it written between 1890 and 1925 but some of it anticipating later trends, blends tonality and atonality, cacophony and Americana, microtonality and high Romantic idioms. One of the most inconsistent of composers, he often composed through improvisation but at other times through intricate systems. This course analyzes Ives’s iconic work, the Concord Sonata, along with the accompanying book, Essays before a Sonata. Prerequisite: Music Theory I and II, and preferably another theory course involving analysis.
The Arithmetic of Listening
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.
Sound as a Sculptural Medium
cross-listed: studio arts
“This course explores methods of physicalizing sound through the creation of installations and objects, as well as the work of artists who use sound as a material. The class examines unconventional techniques, including acoustic and nonelectronic methods of generating, focusing, and amplifying sound. Certain projects also utilize sculptural processes such as casting and laser engraving. Technical demonstrations, field trips, and slide shows inform discussions.
Bach, the Baroque, and Beyond
cross-listed: experimental humanities
“Who was J. S. Bach?” is something of a trick question; the answer depends on the specific historical moment at hand. In his own lifetime, Bach was not as admired (or even recognized) as we might assume. This seminar delves into Bach’s life, his sizable musical family, and his creative influences. Some of his most revered compositions are analyzed and compared to other repertoire from the 17th and 18th centuries. The course also highlights landmark performances that served to promote Bach’s greatness in following generations.
This course traces the development of harmony from Field and Chopin to the “Music of the Future” (Berlioz, Liszt, Wagner, Bruckner, Mahler) and “New German” composers (Mendelssohn, Robert and Clara Schumann, and Brahms), before ending at the dawn of the 20th century with Scriabin, Debussy, and Schoenberg. The emphasis is on Roman numeral analysis of augmented sixth chords, borrowed chords, enharmonic modulations, and chromatic voice leading. Also considered are the wealth of thematic transformation techniques that made late Romanticism such a fluid and extramusically referential language.
Musical Electronics: Analog Synthesis and Processing
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.
A History of Rhythm: Finding the Beat in European Music, 1000–2000 c.e.
“In the beginning, there was rhythm,” states the opening of an influential 19th-century study on time, motion, and labor. Although catchy, the adage is utterly fallacious. As this course shows, there was never agreement about the phenomenon of “rhythm” in the whole of human history. Indeed, musical time changes over the course of time itself. This course explores various definitions for “the beat” as well as practices that dictated “good rhythm” within various musical cultures. An ability to read music is required.
Monsters! Madness! Mayhem! The Wild Side of Baroque Music
cross-listed: experimental humanities
Baroque music has a reputation for being elegant and soothing—a background soundtrack intended for fancy dinner parties. 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.
High/Low: Tensions and Agreements in 20th- and 21st-Century Music
Musicologist H. Wiley Hitchcock described American music as often being caught between vernacular traditions (folk and popular idioms) and cultivated traditions (European-based classical music). This seminar examines the tensions and agreements between these distinct traditions by investigating specific musical works that reflect characteristics of both categories. Each class meeting focuses on works composed in a separate decade in the 20th and 21st centuries, including music by, among others, Igor Stravinsky, Charles Ives, Miles Davis, and Philip Glass.
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.
Introduction to Experimental Music
This course deals with the experimental tradition, from Henry Cowell’s radical innovations in the early 20th century through those of his students, preeminently John Cage. The primary focus, however, is on the development of new forms, media, and social organizations in the 1960s and ’70, such as the Fluxus movement’s text-based “event” pieces; minimalist works by Young, Riley, Reich, and Glass; live electronic music; and the influence of “open form” and “free jazz” in the work of Braxton, Lewis, and others.
“Viva La Libertà!” Mozart’s Opera and the Enlightenment
Mozart is often viewed as embodying central ideals of the Enlightenment, and nowhere is this more apparent than in his mature operas. This seminar focuses on six of them, beginning with Idomeneo and The Abduction from the Seraglio, continuing with his trilogy from the mid-1780s (The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così fan Tutte), and concluding with The Magic Flute. These works take us from a teenage Mozart breaking with conventions to his dying months, at age 35.
Geographies of Sound
Music 343 / Art History 343
See Art History 343 for a full course description.
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
The focus of this course is on MAX/MSP, an object-oriented programming environment for real-time audio processing, computer-assisted composition, live laptop performance, musical interactivity, video generation, and more. Students learn fundamental concepts of digital audio and computer programming while engaging in creative projects. The class also explores examples of programming utilized in contemporary music and sound art repertoire.
Jazz: The Freedom Principle IV
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.
Analyzing Late Beethoven
Beethoven’s last five piano sonatas and last five string quartets, along with the Ninth Symphony, Missa solemn is, and his last two cello sonatas, have long been considered the most profound and transcendent music ever written. Starting with the “Archduke” Trio, this course explores Beethoven’s music from 1811 to 1827, with particular attention paid to how he increasingly molded all movements of a multimovement form from a single idea, and how he managed to overlay genres such as sonata form, variations, and fugue into a single movement.
Electronic, Electroacoustic, and Computer Composition
Intended primarily for music majors. Participants are expected to regularly present and discuss their ongoing compositional projects. They may also take on collaborative works, installations, and intermedia projects. Analysis of 20th- and 21st-century electroacoustic repertoire (Stockhausen, Cage, Lucier) is also expected.
Advanced Score Study
A workshop for composers, conductors, and instrumentalists, wherein a myriad of musical scores from all periods of classical music are examined, with an emphasis on what makes the particular piece work, whether it be its dramatic power, balanced form, figuration design, orchestral flair, or melodic and harmonic uniqueness. In short, the class tries to get to the essence of “just what’s so great about this piece?” Prerequisites: advanced theory and general music experience.
Opposites Attract: Beethoven and Schubert
By the age of 35, Beethoven had emerged as Europe’s leading composer; during the remaining two decades of his life, his compositions further expanded musical horizons. Franz Schubert, 27 years younger, worshipped Beethoven and built a career in his shadow. This seminar compares specific aspects of the lives and careers of these two composers, with an emphasis on the genres in which they excelled and the contexts in which their works were created—and received.
Arranging Techniques for Jazz
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.
The Classics of Modernism
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.
20th-Century Compositional Techniques
A course in composing based on historical models. The first decade of the 20th century saw an explosion of innovative compositional theories and directions. Led by Debussy and preserial Schoenberg, composers began to reshape the future of music. Harmonic symmetries commingled with traditional diatonic and chromatic practices brought new colors, textures, form, and freedom, leading to the wide array of musical styles and aesthetics heard today. Selected seminal works, from Debussy to Messiaen and Ligeti, are analyzed in their historical context.
Music of Japan
The course begins with the ancient repertories of Buddhist chant (shomyo) and court music (gagaku), which form the basis for Japanese classical music. Other traditional genres studied include the Zen-inspired shakuhachi (end-blown bamboo flute) honkyoku, and music for biwa (lute), shamisen, and koto. Also explored: the impact of Western music on Japan in the 19th and 20th centuries, the combination of traditional Japanese instruments and forms with Western contemporary classical techniques; postwar experimental groups; and recent developments in “noise” music.
Advanced Contemporary Jazz Techniques
An introduction to methods used by 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, with a repertoire including 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 I-II
This course covers the practical aspects of notation, instrumentation, Sibelius/Finale, and score/parts preparation that are necessary for the remainder of the two-year sequence. The first semester’s focus is on the less-structured realm of modal harmony. Students compose and have their pieces performed in class on a weekly basis, allowing them to find their voice and master the techniques necessary for a successful performance of their work. The second semester covers diatonic jazz harmony, starting with traditional forms of functional harmony and the interplay between the major and minor systems, followed by the progression of its breakdown into a more fluid, chromatic, and open-form system.
Music of Debussy and Ravel
Works by these French composers, including piano and chamber music as well as symphonic and stage pieces, are examined in the context of their time. Topics discussed include their innovations in harmony and timbre, and their connections with literature and the visual arts. Readings from the Cambridge Companion to Debussy and Cambridge Companion to Ravel.