Bard College Catalogue 2017-18
James Bagwell (director), Erika Allen, Thurman Barker, Alexander Bonus, Leon Botstein, Teresa Buchholz, John Esposito, Kyle Gann, Luis Garcia-Renart (emeritus), Christopher H. Gibbs, Marka Gustavsson, Paul Hembree, Erica Kiesewetter, Peter Laki, Erica Lindsay, Ilka LoMonaco, Blair McMillen, Rufus Müller, Matt Sargent, Maria Sonevytsky, Patricia Spencer, I Ketut Suadin, Erika Switzer, Joan Tower, George Tsontakis
Performance, creativity, and historical study in the areas of classical music (including new music), jazz, world music, and electronic music, among others, are the primary focuses of the Bard Music Program. Students may take private lessons in voice, composition, and on many instruments, in a range of styles. Performance opportunities are frequent, and include moderation and senior recitals; chamber music and ensemble concerts; Indonesian gamelan and other world-music ensembles; and, for composers, a concert of student works by a professional ensemble every semester. All senior musicians are eligible either to perform with or have their work played by The Orchestra Now, the College’s in-house graduate orchestra, at the annual Commencement concert. Bard offers a state-of-the-art electronic music studio with a wide range of software and analogue instruments and a variety of performance spaces across campus, including installation rooms, a recital hall, a converted garage, and the acoustically magnificent Sosnoff Concert Hall at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. Performances at other venues in the Hudson Valley are common. Some students pursue Senior Projects in music history, theory, or ethnomusicology, and in hybrid areas, combining performance with research or with other disciplines.
In addition to the B.A. program in music, 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 is free to take music courses in areas 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 between eight and ten specific requirements, depending on their area of study. The requirements include courses in both music theory and history; one class in composition or, with the approval of the adviser, 4 credits in an equivalent course involving personal musical creativity; and a performance class, accompanied by two semesters’ worth of private lessons (performance class may be replaced by some other class involving public performance). Generally, half of these requirements should be 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 written for a class may also be accepted. The Senior Project consists of two concerts of approximately 45 to 60 minutes each. Composers may replace one concert with an orchestral work written for performance during the Commencement Concert. 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
- “Chrome Island: An Experiment in Sonic Insulation”
- “Live for the Funk,” presenting original and arranged material
- “The Shape of Jazz That Was” and “Double Bass II,” senior concerts
- “The Troubadours and the Song of the Crusades”
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 Prepa-ration, Percussion Discussion, Production and Reproduction, Samba School, Sight Reading, Songwriting, Transcription Analysis, 20th-Century Compositions, 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 1 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, Electroacoustic, Georgian Choir, Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Vocal, Percussion, Samba, and Wind and Strings.
Introduction to Music Theory
An introduction to tonal music for nonmusic majors and potential majors who have had little or no exposure to reading music. It begins with the basics of musical notation and progresses to the identification of scales, triads, and seventh chords. An ear-training component allows for practical reinforcement of the aural concepts.
Beethoven and His World
Ludwig van Beethoven has long been viewed as the quintessential Romantic artist: an eccentric suffering genius whose music mirrored his life. This course investigates these assumptions through a survey of his life and works in the context of the culture and politics of Vienna in the early 19th century. The class samples compositions in various genres—keyboard, chamber, and vocal music, as well as orchestral (symphonies, overtures, and concertos), dramatic (especially the opera Fidelio), and religious music—and compares Beethhoven’s accomplishments with those of his musical predecessors and contemporaries.
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.
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 “neoclassical” 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.
Big Brother Is Listening: Music and Politics through the Ages
The course explores two kinds of political music: music written in support of a state or regime, and music written in protest against a state or regime. After surveying examples from the Middle Ages through the classical era, the class moves to more recent points in time to investigate political music under modern democratic and totalitarian governments. Both classical and popular genres are considered.
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.
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. The reading list includes Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Donald Barthelme, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, Julio Cortázar, Ann Petry, and Eudora Welty.
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.
Topics in Music History: American Opera Narrative
Since the 1934 premiere of Virgil Thomson’s and Gertrude Stein’s Four Saints in Three Acts, the most interesting American operas have veered away from European conventions. American composers often constructed works that sidestepped theatrical realism (e.g., Harry Partch’s vernacular dance plays, Meredith Monk’s nonverbal Atlas, Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach) or distanced themselves from Europe in subject matter (George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, John Adams’s Nixon in China). The course weaves between these traditions, looking for links that define an American approach to opera.
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.
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.
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.
Bartók and Stravinsky
An investigation of the music of Béla Bartók and Igor Stravinsky, two of the greatest composers of the 20th century. Both were influenced, albeit in different ways, by folk music; both exhibited neoclassical tendencies, again in very different ways; and both ended up in the United States and died in New York City. The class explores their respective cultural milieux in Budapest, St. Petersburg, Paris, and New York, and analyzes their most important compositions, comparing and contrasting them at each stage of their careers.
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.
Analysis of the Classics of Modernism
The half century from 1910 to 1960 saw an explosion of dissonance, complexity, and apparent musical chaos. And yet, beneath the surface, it was also an era of unprecedented intricacy of structure and musical systematization. This course analyzes in depth several works that changed the way we think about composing and that pioneered the growth of an atonal musical language, including works by Stravinsky, Ives, Bartók, Webern, Stockhausen, and Nancarrow. Intended for music majors, but other strongly motivated students are welcome.
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.
Musical Protest in the United States
cross-listed: american studies
Can a song change a mind? Can a song change the world? This course explores musical protest in the United States from the Civil War to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, considering what the function, potential, and limits of musical protest have been in transforming American civic life. The class looks at musical protest aligned with “the right side of history” as well as music that challenges this very notion.
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 Popular Song
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 the 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.
Advanced Analysis Seminar: Minimalism
Minimalism reintroduced simplicity, drones, and repetition into music in the 1960s. Some of its formal structures have become important paradigms for postmodern music, particularly in expanding the listening frame beyond the scale of normal concert performance. Works analyzed include Young’s The Well-Tuned Piano; Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians; Glass’s Einstein on the Beach; Adams’s Phrygian Gates; and postminimalist works by Duckworth, Vierk, Epstein, Garland, and others. Prerequisite: any 200-level theory course or permission of the instructor.
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.
Designed for students who wish to work in vocal teaching or coaching, and for advanced vocal students interested in exploring their own voice in more depth. The emphasis is on practical application, although basic anatomy and physiology are also covered. Students learn to listen differently to the voice, identify physiological influences while producing sound, and remedy imbalances through posture and positions of head and tongue. Physiological aspects addressed include breathing, vocal registers, the Valsalva maneuver, and vocal approximation. Prerequisite: two years of vocal training.
Students develop an understanding of how basic electronic components are used in audio circuits and how to read schematic diagrams. Topics discussed include voltage control, synthesis, filtering, wave shaping, phase shifting, ring modulation, theremins, and circuit bending. Familiarity with basic electronics and the use of hand tools is helpful but not a prerequisite.
Sound as a Sculptural Medium
Music 321 / Arts 321
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.
Gustav Mahler and His World
An examination of the musical, cultural, and political world of fin-de-siècle Vienna, with a focus on the life and work of Gustav Mahler. The class considers the genesis of his songs and symphonies, their literary and intellectual sources, and the reaction to his works in Europe and America. Mahler’s accomplishments are situated with regard to his older and younger musical contemporaries, most notably Wagner, Brahms, Strauss, Schoenberg, Webern, and Berg.
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
Segments of this survey of jazz history include the big band or swing era (1927–1942), with emphasis on bandleaders such as Jimmie Lunceford, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Teddy Wilson, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington; modern jazz from 1937 to 1950, with a focus on Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillispie, and Max Roach; the cross-pollination of postbop with free jazz in the period from 1958 to the mid-1960s (Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Max Roach, Eric Dolphy, Charles Mingus, and Horace Silver); and jazz from 1952 to the early ’70s, with a look at the extreme shifts in jazz styles from cool to hard bop to the avant-garde (Stan Getz, Lee Konitz, Hank Mobley, Anthony Braxton, and Muhal Richard Abrams).
The Interaction between Music and Film: A Historic Overview
cross-listed: film and electronic arts
This course traces the use of music in film from silent films in the early 20th century to the present. Films discussed include Citizen Kane, Rapsodia Satanica, King Kong, Black Orpheus, Singin’ in the Rain, On the Waterfront, Forbidden Planet, A Woman Is a Woman, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Easy Rider, and Pulp Fiction. While the main focus is historical, the class also examines specific techniques that composers and directors use to heighten storytelling through music.
“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.
Music in Shakespeare, Shakespeare in Music
cross-listed: theater and performance
A look at the role of music in the performance of Shakespeare’s plays in Shakespeare’s time. With the help of Ross W. Duffin’s Shakespeare’s Songbook, the class studies the surviving original songs in the context of the dramas in which they appear, and then moves on to later compositions—operas, symphonic poems, chamber and vocal music—inspired by Shakespeare’s works. Composers considered include Schubert, Rossini, Berlioz, Verdi, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, and Adès.
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.
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?
Jazz Arranging Techniques
This accelerated seminar focuses on the various techniques used in writing for jazz ensembles, from trios to large 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.
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.
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.
Chamber Jazz Composition Workshop
The workshop combines genres and instrumentations found in both jazz and classical orchestration, and explores the possibilities for melding traditional chamber instrumentation with that of the jazz ensemble. For students who have completed Jazz Composition I and II, as well as Jazz Arranging Techniques, or with the permission of the instructor.
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.