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Bard College Catalogue, 2019–20
I Ketut Suadin, Erika Switzer, David Sytkowski, Richard Teitelbaum, Joan Tower, George Tsontakis
In addition to the BA 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 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 coursework 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 10 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 serves for students pur-suing those fields. 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
- “Invisible Forces: Music and Magic in Early German Romantic Opera”
- “A Little Bit of a Whole ‘Bunch’,” “Misah Ivrit: A Hebrew Mass and the Intersection of Worlds,” and “Separation,” two concerts and an orchestral piece
- “Something that just hovers . . .’: Charting Feldman’s Neither
- “When We Dead Awaken: A Chamber Opera in Two Acts,” an adaptation of the play by Henrik Ibsen, translated by William Archer
CoursesMusic Program offerings are grouped under the headings of courses, workshops, and ensembles. Courses cover specific material and one-time-only registration is anticipated; work-shops are project oriented, allowing a student to enroll repeatedly in the same one. Courses, workshops, and ensembles are open to music majors and nonmajors alike. Some 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 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 Community 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, Eastern European Music, Electric Guitar, Electroacoustic, Georgian Choir, Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Vocal, Percussion, and Wind and Strings.
Introduction to Music
The Western symphony orchestra can have as many as 100 members, with a well-defined hierarchy and well-established customs, conventions, rules, and regulations. The music written for orchestra—symphonies, concertos, tone poems, etc.—is diverse, colorful, and exciting, animating communities of music lovers around the world. This course explores the institution of the orchestra and the music written for it, through reading and, most importantly, listening.
History of Music on the Stage: Poppea and Hamilton
Opera as “high art” is often seen in contrast to the Broadway musical as a form of public entertainment. Yet in mid-17th-century Venice, at the beginning of its history, opera was showbiz par excellence. Operas by Cavalli, Sacrati, and Monteverdi (and their production and reception) more closely resemble today’s Broadway musicals than contemporary opera. This course offers a comparative study of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (1642) and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton (2015), works that are both based on a historical narrative and offer the audience an irresistible musical-dramatic experience.
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.
Introduction to Electronic Music
This course focuses on the creation of original work through the use of digital and analogue 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 analogue synthesis techniques using the vintage Serge modular synthesizer.
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.
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.
Jazz Histories of Sound and Communication
CROSS-LISTED: AFRICANA STUDIES, AMERICAN STUDIES
Jazz history is plural, beginning with histories of African descendants in the New World. These histories foreground assertions of jazz as both an American sound and the sound of something broader. Through the framework of exploring the history of jazz, the course surveys the development of musical aesthetics set within specific social contexts that reveal how improvisation wields the production and reception of sounds and communications within and beyond the bandstand.
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
An introduction to the basic harmonic structures of the blues and the Tin Pan Alley songs that modern jazz musicians used as vehicles for improvisation. Basic keyboard skills are learned, including transposition. The course includes a short historical survey of blues and jazz, from ragtime to the swing era, to better understand the practice of the technical/aesthetic fundamentals specific to jazz as a 20th-century African American music.
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 habe genug (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.
Gender and Sexuality in Italian Opera
CROSS-LISTED: AFRICANA STUDIES, AMERICAN STUDIES
From its earliest beginnings in Italy, opera has been a drama of identities in which characters, from lovers to mythological figures, declare their identities through song. Gender and sexuality played a crucial role in these identities and were often quite fluid: men playing women’s parts, women dressed as men, women dressed as men dressed as women. And countless plots had homoerotic overtones. This course explores gender and sexuality in 17th- and 18th-century works such as Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, Handel’s Giulio Cesare, and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro.
The Roaring Twenties
The class explores music of the 1920s in New York, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, and Petrograd/Leningrad, with an emphasis on the relationships among composers and other artists and musical institutions in their historical and social contexts. Topics include the meaning of the term “avant-garde” and interactions between Western and non-Western art forms. Composers studied: Gershwin, Copland, Stravinsky, Milhaud, Weill, Schoenberg, Berg, and Shostakovich.
Jazz in Literature I and II
Gary Giddens’s Visions of Jazz and Robert Gottlieb’s Reading Jazz are studied, in order to bring attention to important literature on jazz, and to consider its historical influence on culture, race, tradition, and our social experience. The class also considers its connections with writers like Albert Murray, Ralph Ellison, and Eudora Welty, who attempt in their works to illuminate the significance of the potential musicians inherit and the creative options they exercise.
Sounds of a World in Uproar
Nineteen-sixty-eight was a year of world-wide student protests, wars, and assassinations. It was also a banner year in music—in classical, jazz, and rock alike. By focusing on a single year (allowing for a few side glances a couple of years ahead and back), the course attempts to place the music in a broad historical, political, and artistic context. Seeking to transcend conventional boundaries of genre, the class considers artists ranging from Stockhausen and Ligeti to the Beatles and Rolling Stones (and beyond).
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.
Topics in Music History: American Opera Narrative
Since the 1934 premiere of Virgil Thomson 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.
Interaction between Music and Film: A Historic Overview
CROSS-LISTED: FILM AND ELECTRONIC ARTS
A look at the use of music in film from the silent era through the present. The class examines how music was incorporated into such films as Citizen Kane (Welles), Rapsodia Satanica (Oxilia), King Kong (Cooper), Black Orpheus (Camus), Singin’ in the Rain (Donen), On the Waterfront (Kazan), Forbidden Planet (Wilcox), A Woman is a Woman (Godard), 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick), Easy Rider (Hopper), and Pulp Fiction (Tarantino). While the main focus is historical, specific techniques used to heighten storytelling are also addressed.
Evolution of the Sonata
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.
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 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 analogue hardware of their own and/or virtual analogue 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.
Ethnography: Music and Sound
How have recent ethnomusicologists and anthropologists written about traditional and popular musics around the world? Students discuss chapters from recent book-length examples of musical ethnography, continually assessing how writing represents and analyzes local and global practices of production, circulation, and consumption, as well as how such works participate in emergent scholarly traditions.
Postmodern Music, Postmodern Listening
Postmodern has been a notoriously difficult term to apply in music with any consistency. The late theorist Jonathan Kramer advanced a view that postmodern is less a musical attribute than a style of listening. This course uses his posthumous book Postmodern Music, Postmodern Listening as a text, and explores questions such as: Can music reorder our sense of linear time? How do we know when to listen ironically? Is postmodern music inherently a critique of modernism or a new historical period?
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.
Special Topics in Ethnomusicology: Loudspeakers as Culture
CROSS-LISTED: EXPERIMENTAL HUMANITIES
How do loudspeakers construct musical culture? How does listening to a loudspeaker reorganize social behavior? The course looks at the importance of loudspeakers from the perspectives of ethnomusicology, sound studies, and audio science, and considers the relationship between music, technology, and culture. Themes include critical organology, intersections of local and global influences, manufacturing and nationalism, cultural imperialism, strategies of resistance, generational change, race and bass, gender and power, digital technology, fidelity and loss as technological and cultural ideas, and ethnographic inquiry.
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.
Topics in Music Software: Video Game and Media Composition
CROSS-LISTED: EXPERIMENTAL HUMANITIES
Students learn how to integrate sound and music into interactive experiences, primarily using the Unity game engine and editor, a tool that allows users to publish stand-alone applications on multiple platforms, including desktop, mobile, web, and virtual reality. They also learn basic programming concepts. Specific topics include contrasting sample-based versus procedural sound design, musical cues that adapt to user input, algorithmic or generative music, and techniques for designing convincing spatial audio.
Literature and Language of Music I-II
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 the late 18th and 19th centuries. 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: John Coltrane
An immersion in the music of a jazz master. The course includes readings, recorded music, and films. Coltrane’s music is also performed in a workshop setting by students and the instructor. Visiting artists play and discuss the music. Prerequisite: Jazz Harmony II or permission of the instructor. Other repertory subjects have included bebop masters, Thelonious Monk, and American popular song.
Literature and Language of Music: 20th and 21st Centuries
A survey of Western art music of the last 100 years. Using the Oxford History of Western Music (College Edition), the class studies the major trends and composers of the era, with an emphasis on active, critical listening and discussion. Parallel phenomena in literature and the visual arts are explored as time permits.
Sound Studies / Critical Listening
CROSS-LISTED: EXPERIMENTAL HUMANITIES
From the perspective of both ethnomusicology and the audio sciences of sound reproduction, this course provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of sound studies. Throughout, it engages how critical listening techniques and features of sound studies discourses can be mutually informative for musicians, sound artists, listeners, writers, and cultural theorists who are interested in identifying the significance of musical or extramusical sounds within specific social contexts. Students discuss articles and chapters that focus on prominent keywords within sound studies discourse.
J. S. Bach’s Musical Imagination
J. S. Bach has long dominated concert programs and music history curricula as the foremost representative of Baroque music. This fact has distorted how we see Bach and the music of his age. In an attempt to put Bach back into his own time, the course looks at the musical and cultural contexts in which he worked. Bach’s sonatas, concertos, suites, organ works, and cantatas are compared with those of his contemporaries; vocal music, theoretical issues, and questions of a more aesthetic nature are also addressed.
High/Low: Tensions and Agreements in 20th- and 21st-Century American 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. Each class meeting focuses on works composed in a separate decade in the 20th and 21st centuries, including music by Igor Stravinsky, Charles Ives, Miles Davis, and Philip Glass, among others.
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
The human ear can distinguish about 250 pitches per octave, so why do we satisfy ourselves with only 12? This course, on the mathematics of harmony and the history of tuning, ponders that question, looking first at the development of scales and harmony from the ancient Greeks through the tuning arguments of the period between the 15th and 18th centuries. The second half explores modern experimental tunings, including quarter-tone music, 72-tone music, and just intonation, as well as pitch tendencies of Indian, Thai, Indonesian, and Arabic musics.
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.
Musical Offering and the History of Bach Interpretation
An exploration of Musical Offering, one of the final, enigmatic works by Johann Sebastian Bach, consisting of 10 canons, two majestic fugues, and a sonata. The class analyzes the movements and reads 18th-century documents and modern interpretations of the piece to understand the historical background, Bach’s compositional mechanisms, and different perspectives of interpretation. The history of Bach performance from the 19th century to the present is also addressed.
This courses traces the development of harmony, the most important ongoing innovation in 19th-century music, in historical context. After starting with Field and Chopin, the class weaves back and forth between the so-called “Music of the Future” (Berlioz, Liszt, Wagner, Bruckner, Mahler) and the “New German” composers (Mendelssohn, Robert and Clara Schumann, Brahms), before ending at the dawn of the 20th century with Scriabin, Debussy, and Schoenberg. Students look at form, orchestration, and Roman numeral analysis of augmented sixth chords, borrowed chords, enharmonic modulations, and chromatic voice leading.
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.
A History of Rhythm: Finding the Beat in European Music, 1000–2000 CE
“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
Music from the Baroque era is full of wild things—furious gods, enraged lovers, clashing armies, hideous villains, and chaotic storms, to name just a few. This course explores a variety of French, German, and Italian compositions that embrace these more volatile and violent aspects of Baroque culture. Particular emphasis is placed on the mythological origins and literary inspirations for these musical works. Each week, students synthesize diverse materials and contribute to class discussions by offering analyses and opinions on reading and listening assignments.
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, 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).
Introduction to Experimental Music
An overview of the experimental tradition, from Henry Cowell’s radical innovations in the early 20th century through those of his students, particularly John Cage. The primary focus, however, is on the development of new forms, media, and social organizations in the 1960s and ’70s, such as the Fluxus movement’s text-based “event” pieces; minimalist works by La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass; and the influence of “open form” and “free jazz” in the work of Anthony Braxton 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.
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.
Topics in Music Software
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 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.
Analysis of 20th-Century Modernist Music
Unlike that of earlier eras, 20th-century music is highly contextual, and no particular method of analysis applies to every example. Techniques helpful for earlier music, particularly Roman numeral analysis, are rarely of use here. Instead, students learn to deduce what kind of analysis is appropriate by looking for both small- and large-scale patterns. Works considered: Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta; Stockhausen’s Gruppen; Babbitt’s All Set; Crawford’s String Quartet; Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps; Satie’s Socrate; Ives’s Concord Sonata; and Feldman’s Rothko Chapel.
Topics in Music Production: Electronic Music in Live Performance
Students learn techniques essential for live electronic performance through hands-on tutorials with common mixing consoles, speaker arrays, microphones, and audio interfaces. Using these techniques, they develop new live electronic compositions and improvisations; through peer response, they then refine their compositional ideas, while evaluating the technical strategies of their performance.
Composition Techniques for Musicians and Orchestrations Tool Kit
This multifaceted workshop is designed to help composers, conductors, and instrumentalists prepare for original chamber and orchestral works. Students model the composition techniques of historical masters in order to enhance their own work, and offer works to review as well, including conductor’s and performer’s score study.
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 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.