- Acknowledging Bard's Origins
- History of Bard
- Learning at Bard
- Academic Calendar
- Division of the Arts
- Division of Languages and Literature
- Division of Science, Mathematics, and Computing
- Division of Social Studies
- Interdivisional Programs and Concentrations
- The Bard Conservatory of Music
- Bard Abroad
- Additional Study Opportunities and Affiliated Institutes
- Civic Engagement
- Open Society University Network
- Campus Life and Facilities
- Graduate Programs
- Educational Outreach
- Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
- The Bard Center
- Scholarships, Awards, and Prizes
- Honorary Degrees and Bard College Awards
- Boards and Administration of Bard College
- Bard College Contact Information
- Bard Campus Map and Travel Directions
Bard College Catalogue 2023-24
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 the following areas: classical vocal performance; classical instrumental performance; composition; jazz (vocal, instrumental, and composition); electronic music; musicology (including music theory and music history); and ethnomusicology (including world music and pop music). The music major explores the history and theory of one of these four areas through coursework and is free to take music courses outside the area of 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 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 serves for students pursuing 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. Visit the program website for specific requirements for each area of specialization.
Recent Senior Projects in Music
- “Do Androids Dream of Improvisation?”
- “Getting under Your Skin until You Jump Out of It: The Psychological Effects of Music on the Experience of Film”
- “Momentary Musics: How Spotify and the Attention Economy Transformed Music from Art Form to Affect”
- “Taking Jazz Singers Seriously: Gender, Race, and Vocal Improvisation”
CoursesMusic Program offerings are grouped under the headings of courses, workshops, and ensembles. Courses cover specific material and one-time-only registration is anticipated; workshops 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 American Tableaux, Art of Collaboration, Bach Arias, Baroque Ensemble, Chamber Music, 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 Theater Performance, 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 Afro-Caribbean Percussion, Balinese Gamelan, Baroque, Big Band, Cello, Chamber Singers, Chinese Music, Eastern European Music, Electric Guitar, Electroacoustic, Georgian Choir, Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Vocal, Percussion, Wind and Strings, and Women Composers.
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.
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.
Beyond Genre: American Popular Music since 1970
After the cultural and artistic upheaval of the 1960s, American popular music settled into a genre map whose borders—based on aesthetics, race, class, and technology—were policed both by the music business, which needed them as marketing labels, and communities that used them as markers of collective and individual identity. Or did it? Through readings and extensive listening, this course explores the changing role of taste and identity over the last 50 years of rock, R&B, country, punk, hip-hop, dance, and pop music.
Why Music Matters
DESIGNATED: OSUN COURSE
What role, if any, has music played in the formation of social groups, the construction of identity, or the spread and internalization of values? What can we learn about history from the study of music as a form of life? The course examines the character and function of musical practices and culture through the analysis of classic texts that explore the comparison between ordinary language and images and music, and how music can be understood as a dimension of the human imagination. Selected moments in the modern social and political history of musical life in Europe and the Americas are also discussed.
Introduction to Western Music
An introduction to the history of Western music through an exploration of the keyboard instruments (organ, harpsichord, piano) and their evolution over the centuries. Students in the class also become acquainted with some of the great keyboard performers of the past and present.
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.
Music Making in Times of Crisis
The course explores how, in spite of difficulties imposed by extreme situations, music (and the other arts) have proven to be essential and irreplaceable survival tools. It spans several centuries, beginning with the work of Heinrich Schütz during the Thirty Years’ War in Germany, then moving on to the music of WWII, including the performance of Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony during the siege of Leningrad, and the creative videos and artistic statements that have arisen during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Sopranos in Wagner and Strauss
The dramatic soprano roles in the operas of Richard Wagner (1813–83) and Richard Strauss (1864–1949) present some of the greatest vocal challenges in Western music. Taking Catherine Clément’s classic feminist text Opera or the Undoing of Women as a starting point, the class investigates whether women are really “undone” in these operas, by analyzing their vocal portrayals and interactions with other characters. Roles studied include Isolde (Tristan und Isolde), Brünnhilde (Der Ring des Nibelungen), Salome (Salome), Elektra (Elektra), and the Marschallin (Der Rosenkavalier).
Against All Odds: Women Composers
A survey of the preeminent women composers of Western music, including Hildegard of Bingen, Barbara Strozzi, Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, Nadia and Lili Boulanger, Florence Price (who, as an African American artist, fought to defy entrenched segregation and racism in addition to sexism), and contemporary powerhouses such as Joan Tower, Kaija Saariaho, and Jennifer Higdon. The course also delves into the influence of jazz improvisers such as Ella Fitzgerald and contemporary songwriters including Lady Gaga and Beyoncé.
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-II
CROSS-LISTED: AFRICANA STUDIES
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 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. Music 172 includes acquisition of the basic skills that make up the foundation of all jazz styles. Jazz language from the bebop era up to the ’60s is also studied.
How to Be a Renaissance Person
CROSS-LISTED: ITALIAN STUDIES
Baldassare Castiglione, a 16th-century Italian courtier and self-conscious Renaissance man, argued that skills—like oration, storytelling, singing, military prowess, and dance—should be cultivated in such a way that they seem effortless. Sprezzatura, the term he uses for this effortlessness, became a tenet of Renaissance life. This course explores the phenomenon of the “Renaissance man” and puts Renaissance skills into practice with a dance workshop, musical composition and performance, storytelling, and public speaking. Readings from Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier (1528), Boccaccio’s Decameron, and Cicero’s De Oratore.
Jazz through the Prism of History
This course explores the history of the Black American art form called jazz against the backdrop of American history. Students identify key jazz players and examine how their lives and innovative contributions have often reflected societal inequalities. In addition to surveying the history of jazz, students gain listening skills that enable them to identify style, instrumentation, and historical and musical content within the jazz idiom.
Introduction to Ethnomusicology
Music 185 / Anthropology 185
DESIGNATED: ELAS COURSE
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.
Music Theory / Ear Training I-II
A survey of the materials of music—as defined for classical music and vernacular musics descended from it, including hymns, Broadway tunes, some popular music and jazz—for students who already read music and have some experience with performance. Topics include the acoustics of pitch, scales, rhythmic notation, triads, seventh chords, voice-leading, chord progressions, and secondary dominants and sevenths. The course consists of lecture and ear-training components.
Form and Structure in Movie Musicals
CROSS-LISTED: FILM AND ELECTRONIC ARTS
The course explores the history and evolution of the movie musical from the early sound era to the present, focusing on how different musical structures and techniques contribute to these changes. In addition to studying and defining the “traditional” Hollywood music (Singin’ in the Rain, The Band Wagon), the class examines how the musical was reimagined by such directors as Jean-Luc Godard (Une femme est une femme), Robert Altman (Nashville), and Lars von Trier (Dancer in the Dark).
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
CROSS-LISTED: AFRICANA STUDIES, AMERICAN STUDIES
This course presents short stories and poems by Rudolph Fisher, Langston Hughes, Ann Petry, and Julio Cortázar. Texts used in this section include Hot and Cool, edited by Marcela Breton, and The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader, edited by David Levering Lewis. In Music 212, students read Gary Giddins’s Visions of Jazz and Robert Gottlieb’s Reading Jazz as well as the words of many jazz greats; consider the historical influence of jazz on culture, race, tradition, and our social experience; and connect with writers like Albert Murray, Ralph Ellison, and Eudora Welty.
Topics in Sound Art
Coined in the early 1980s, “sound art” describes sound-based art that does not follow the rules of traditional music (melody, harmony, gesture, etc.), focusing instead on the physical characteristics of sound, experimental methods, and human perception. Since the 1980s, artists working with sound have expanded the practice in limitless conceptual and technological directions and the field’s growth continues in the present day. The course examines the disparate approaches to contemporary sound art, with a particular focus on composers who are active today.
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.
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.
The Interaction between Music and Film
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.
The course examines the structure, logic, and variations of sonata form as exemplified in the works of European music’s most emblematic composer, Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770–1827). The study of sonata form is based on the latest musicological views as propounded in William E. Caplin’s Classical Form (1998). All periods of Beethoven’s career are studied, along with contextual exposure to C. P. E. Bach, Haydn, Clementi, Mozart, and Hummel.
Introduction to Electronic Music
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 a vintage Serge modular synthesizer.
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.
Pronunciation and Diction for Singers: French, Italian, Spanish
The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) provides a system for understanding the individual sound components of language and, within the context of this course, enables the class to explore the common and disparate sounds and expressive possibilities of French, Italian (with a brief Latin excursion), and Spanish. Through the examination of poetry and vocal literature, students gain a fundamental understanding of the pronunciation rules and rhythms of each language, and the skills required to enunciate with clarity and physical ease. The course has also offered training in English and German pronunciation and diction.
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: Introduction to Max/MSP
CROSS-LISTED: COMPUTER SCIENCE, 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.
The Literature and Language of Music: Medieval and Renaissance
Music 264 surveys selected musical works from Gregorian chant in the Middle Ages to the end of the 16th century. Works are placed in historical context, with a focus on stylistic and compositional traits. In addition, musical terminology, composers, and historical and theoretical methodology are described in relationship to the repertoire. Music 265 examines exemplary Romantic composers and works in different genres from the 19th century, ranging from Beethoven to Mahler. Basic skills in music reading are expected.
Jazz Repertory: Bebop Masters
A performance-based survey of the principal composers and performers of the bebop era. Musicians considered include Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Fats Navarro, Bud Powell, and Max Roach. The course includes readings, recorded music, and films. Students and the instructor perform the music studied in a workshop setting. Prerequisite: Music 171 or permission of instructor. Repertory subjects have also included the music of John Coltrane 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.
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.
John Cage and 1960s Avant-Garde
John Cage (1912–1992) was a cheerful, gentle man who liked turning ideas on their heads—and the most controversial composer of the late 20th century. He influenced artists from Feldman and Stockhausen to Ono, Eno, Reich, Glass, Johns, and Rauschenberg. Students read Silence, Cage’s 1961 collection of essays, explore his varied output, look at the explosive 1960s conceptual art scene he ignited, and trace his lineage to minimalism, ambient music, environmental soundscapes, and other trends.
The development of the physical gesture and rehearsal techniques are the primary goals, but the course also focuses on score reading, ear training, instrumental transposition, and historical performance practice. Repertoire includes both orchestral and choral works. Prerequisites: Music Theory I and II or the equivalent. Open to both Conservatory and Music Program students.
Introduction to Opera
A survey of select masterpieces from the birth of opera (around 1600) to the present, with a special focus on treatments of the Orpheus myth by Monteverdi and Gluck, Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Beethoven’s Fidelio, Wagner’s Die Walküre, Verdi’s La traviata, Strauss’s Salome, and Berg’s Wozzeck. As many of these works are based on literary or dramatic sources, students look at how works of the written and spoken word are transformed into compelling musical theater.
Music of the Black Atlantic
The class explores the music of the West African diasporas, beginning with Indigenous “sacred drum” ceremonial forms and continuing via the evolution of music forms as evidenced in Cuba, Brazil, and Puerto Rico—up to and including salsa and contemporary Afro Cuban jazz. A comparative analysis of forms (secular and religious, traditional and contemporary) evolving out of the West African, Iberian, and Afro Latinx cultural diasporas is investigated.
Musical Imaging of America
CROSS-LISTED: AMERICAN STUDIES
From the beginning, American musicians had an identity crisis. Is our classical music merely an extension of Europe, or does it have its own roots in vernacular music, Yankee inventiveness, and metaphors for nature? This course traces ideas of Americanness in music from the hymns of William Billings and William Henry Fry’s Niagara Symphony (1858), through the self-conscious Americanism of Charles Ives and Aaron Copland, to the Zen practices of John Cage and the West Coast birth of minimalism.
Topics in Sound Studies: Queer Sound
In 2011, musician and scholar Drew Daniel argued that “all sound is queer” in his essay of the same name. Daniel draws a connection between queerness and sound as wholly personal and subjective, where personal and sonic identity is not fixed but instead exists on a limitless spectrum. In “queer sound,” hearing is inextricable from sociopolitical context and personal experience. Using this as a conceptual framework, the course explores many possible realizations of “queer sound” through queer theory readings, experimental sound studies, and performance projects.
East and West: Musical Interactions through the Ages
Non-Western influences on what we habitually call Western music go back many centuries, starting during the Middle Ages, when the Arabs dominated the Iberian Peninsula. The interactions continued over the years and became particularly intense in the 20th century, when the influence began to work both ways. Topics discussed include “exoticism” in 19th-century European music, Asian composers writing in Western genres, and Yo-Yo Ma’s “Silk Road” project. A musical background is useful but not required.
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.
Introduction to Songwriting
An overview of popular songwriting forms and styles, from ballads to Broadway, Bill Callahan to Beyoncé, with a practical focus on refining student work through weekly exercises, workshop feedback, and conversations with special guests. In addition to creative strategies for lyric writing, harmonic and melodic development, arrangement, and basic production techniques, the course addresses the business of songwriting, including royalty structures and performance rights. A basic knowledge of music theory and competence on at least one instrument (or digital home production) is assumed, but not required.
Percussion as Experimental Practice
A percussionist is traditionally defined as a musician who strikes objects, but since the 1960s the role of a percussionist in Western music has grown to include a limitless spectrum of instruments, objects, sounds, notations, and techniques. This course examines the history of percussion, beginning with its role in ancient civilizations and including the earliest percussion-only works in the 1930s–40s by George Antheil, Edgard Varèse, John Cage, and Henry Cowell; its rapid evolution in post-WWII avant-garde music; and 21st-century experiments in timbre, playing technique, psychoacoustics, and more.
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. The class analyzes works by the best-known figures in the style—La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, and John Coolidge Adams—as well as music of the next three generations, including John Luther Adams, William Duckworth, Michael Gordon, Janice Giteck, Lois Vierk, Paul Epstein, and Peter Garland.
Designed for students who wish to work in vocal teaching or coaching as well as advanced vocal students. While the emphasis is on practical application, the course covers basic anatomy and physiology. Students listen differently to the voice, learn how to identify physiological influences while producing sound and how to remedy imbalances through posture and positions of the head and tongue. The main physiological aspects covered are breathing, vocal registers, Valsalva maneuver, and vocal approximation.
Music Theory III
This course looks at formal and harmonic innovations and tendencies in the standard l9th-century repertoire. A major focus is on movements from the symphonies of Gustav Mahler, especially Symphonies 6 and 9. Other works examined include Robert Schumann’s Davidsbundlertanze, Clara Schumann’s Piano Trio in G minor, Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8, Wagner’s Tristan Prelude, and Ethel Smyth’s Mass in D. The beginnings of atonality in Scriabin, Reger, and Schoenberg are also explored. Prerequisites: Music 201 and 202 or the equivalent.
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.
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).
Field Methods in Ethnomusicology
CROSS-LISTED: ANTHROPOLOGY, SOCIOLOGY
Students in this advanced seminar examine the craft, pertinent intellectual frameworks, practical concerns, audio and video recording techniques, and significant ethical considerations associated with contemporary ethnographic field methods. The course focuses on how to collect qualitative data using observation, participation, and interviewing practices. Preference is given to students who plan to pursue ethnographic Senior Projects.
Mozart’s Opera and Enlightenment
Mozart is often viewed as embodying central ideals of the Enlightenment and nowhere is this more apparent than in his operas. This seminar focuses on two relatively early ones (Idomeneo and The Abduction from the Seraglio), his trilogy from the mid-1780s (The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così fan Tutte), and The Magic Flute. These works take us from the teenage Mozart breaking with operatic conventions to his dying months, at age 35. Class sessions are supplemented with screenings of film and DVD performances.
Electroacoustic Composition Seminar
Intended primarily for music majors, the course focuses on the creative work of the students enrolled. Participants are expected to regularly present and discuss their ongoing compositional projects in a workshop setting. They may also take on collaborative works, installations, and intermedia projects.
Advanced Score Study
A workshop for composers, conductors, and instrumentalists wherein a myriad of musical scores from all periods of “classical music” are examined. Discussions emphasize 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, trying to get to the essence of “just what’s so great about this piece?”
Opposites Attract? Beethoven and Schubert
This seminar compares the lives and careers of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) and Franz Schubert (1797–1828), with an emphasis on the genres for which they are best known (e.g., symphony versus song) and how their compositions established musical values that impacted 19th-century musical Romanticism. The class examines the social, musical, and political culture in which they lived and worked in Vienna, and considers the question of what personal and professional interaction they may have had.
Jazz Arranging Techniques
This seminar focuses on 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 instrumentation are examined along with various approaches to section writing.
Analysis of 20th-Century Music
Students examine some of the formative works of 20th-century musical modernism and learn techniques for analyzing 20th-century music in general. Works studied include Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps; Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta; Ives’s Concord Sonata; Messiaen’s Quatuorpour la fin du temps; Ruth Crawford’s Sandburg Songs; Stockhausen’s Gruppen; Babbitt’s All Set; and Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel. Prerequisites: Music 201 and 202, or the equivalent.
20th-Century Composition 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 pre-serial 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. The class listens to and analyzes selected seminal works, from Debussy to Messiaen and Ligeti.
Composers’ and Orchestrators’ Tool Kit
This workshop for composers, conductors, and instrumentalists addresses all aspects of composing, parts formatting, and preparation for students’ original works, from chamber to orchestral. Composition techniques are unveiled by “modeling” historical masters, including Stravinsky, Ravel, Debussy, Schoenberg, Bartok, and Messiaen.
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 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 half focuses on the various techniques used in jazz ensemble writing, from sextet to big band ensembles. Classic tertiary voicings, cluster, quartal and line part writing are covered. Final projects are recorded or performed live at the end of the semester.
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.
Topics in Music History: Choral Literature
An examination of the history of choral music, from chant and early motets through large-scale contemporary pieces. Works by composers such as Guillaume de Machaut, Josquin des Pres, Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, and Igor Stravinsky are studied along with works by Hildegard of Bingen, Clara Schumann, Florence Price, and Caroline Shaw.
Pentatonicism and Culture
CROSS-LISTED: AMERICAN STUDIES, ANTHROPOLOGY
Five-pitch scales are pervasive throughout folk, popular, and art musical cultures around the world. The fraught discourse about the origins of pentatonic scales highlights core questions of ethnomusicological engagements with the concept of culture. This course investigates the shifts in cultural associations made between the musical sounds that the pentatonic scale constructs and the societies they often represent. Readings from the fields of ethnomusicology and musicology, in conjunction with in-class listening, help students identify key histories and geographies associated with the pentatonic scales that have influenced Western musical life.
Minuet, Scherzo, Waltz: A Journey in 3/4 Time
The earliest known minuets were danced at the court of Louis XIV of France in the 17th century; the dance quickly spread across Europe and became a staple in the Baroque suite. When it entered the classical symphony and chamber genres, the form acquired an Austrian accent and morphed into the scherzo. Another related form, the waltz, emerged in the 19th century and took the musical world by storm. The three interconnected genres continue to exert their influence today. The course includes analysis, listenings, and readings.
Algorithmic Composition and Improvisation
CROSS-LISTED: COMPUTER SCIENCE
In this seminar, computers act as composers, improvisers, orchestrators, and accompanists. Students explore conceptual strategies for the real-time computer generation of musical events, while learning fundamentals of object-oriented programming. Topics discussed include artificial intelligence and musical creativity; and pioneering algorithmic works from, among others, Lejaren Hiller, Iannis Xenakis, George Lewis, Tristan Perich, and Holly Herndon. Prerequisite: Music 139, a 200-level computer science course, or permission of the instructor.
Musicology among Enslaved Americans
CROSS-LISTED: COMPUTER SCIENCE
African American music is foundational to musical culture within the United States. Negotiating a gruesome exploitation that would fund the wealth of the nation, enslaved Americans of African descent expressed features of what this music would become. Scholars frequently categorize the musicality of the enslaved into sacred and secular forms, mainly the blues and spirituals. This course also asks: What was the musical discourse among enslaved African Americans? Readings include slave narratives, autobiographies, and accounts of abolitionists and Union officers.
The Recording Studio as a Compositional Tool
This course focuses on working creatively as a composer within the recording studio environment. Topics include multitracking, acoustics, microphone placement, audio mixing, musical notation (from traditional scoring methods to uses of text scores, open scores, and improvisation), digital and analog signal processing, synchronization of audio with video/media, and blending of musical material from MIDI and audio sources. Students write new compositions, centered around specific studio practices, and take part in regular critique sessions. Prerequisites: Music 240 and/or Music 257.