Music 34, syllabus

Submitted by Klara Moricz on Monday, 1/17/2011, at 1:25 PM

Music 34, Detailed Syllabus



“Half-step over-saturation”—Richard Strauss

Music: Salome (scene 1), Morgan 9

Additional reading: Richard Taruskin, The Oxford History of Western Music, vol. 4 (henceforth RT), (see Reader) 36-48

Musical vocabulary: Tristan progression, augmented chords, 9th chords, semitonal expansion/contraction, master array

Recommended listening: more of Salome

Recommended reading: Derrick Puffett, Richard Strauss Salome. Cambridge Opera Handbooks (Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989)


No sections in first week


UNIT 1—Jan. 26 (W); Jan. 31 (M)


Music: Estampes, No. 2 (La Soiré dans Grenade), Morgan 1; “Nuages” from Three Nocturnes (Anthology), “Voiles” from Preludes I (Anthology)

Reading: RT 69-83            

Musical vocabulary: whole-tone scales, pentatonic scales, parallelism, whole-tone chord, pentatonic chords, center of gravity/symmetry

Recommended listening: Three Noctures




UNIT 2—Feb. 2 (W); Feb. 7 (M)


Music: Prelude, Op. 35, No. 3; Etude, Op. 56, No. 4, Prelude Op. 74, No. 3, Morgan 21-25.

Reading: RT 197-227

Vocabulary: French6; altered chords; Skryabin6; tritone link; “Ecstasy chord,” “Mystic chord”, octatonicism (I)

Recommended reading: Taruskin, “Scriabin and the Superhuman,” in Defining Russia Musically: Historical and Hermeneutical Essays (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), 308-359

Recommended listening: Poème d’extase; Alexander Krein, Sonata for Piano


UNIT 3—Feb. 9 (W); Feb. 14 (M)

“Grundgestalt”—Schoenberg I

Music: Opus 16, No. 1, No. 5, Morgan 30-45.

Reading: RT 321-337, 341-343; Simms: The Atonal Music of Arnold Schoenberg 1908-1923 (excerpt)

Vocabulary: atonal triads, set theory, Grundgestalt, “Aschbeg” set, organicism, Klangfarben melodie

Recommended reading: Móricz, “Anxiety, Abstraction, and Schoenberg’s Gestures of Fear,” in Essays in Honor of László Somfai on His 70th Birthday: Studies in the Sources and the Interpretation of Music, ed. László Vikárius and Vera Lampert (Lenham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, 2005), 303-324.

Recommended listening: 2nd String Quartet


UNIT 4—Feb. 16 (W); Feb. 21 (M)

 “Modality and tonality”—Bartók

Music: Bluebeard’s Castle (opening); from Mikrokosmos IV, Nos. 148, 140, 144, Morgan 80-106)

Reading: Somfai’s entry in GROVE; RT 373-418; Móricz, “Cosmic Loneliness”

Vocabulary: pentatonic chords; major-minor chord; “alpha chords,” acoustic scale; “model” scales etc.

Recommended listening: Miraculous Mandarin; Divertimento



UNIT 5— Feb. 23 (W) Feb. 28 (M)


Music: Rite of Spring excerpts (Morgan 107-127), “Chez Petrushka” from Petrushka

Reading: RT “Chez Petrushka”; RT 152-182; 

Vocabulary: octatonic scales (harmonic, melodic), Petrushka chord, Rite chord, etc.

Recommended listening: Petrushka. Rite of Spring


UNIT 5/1—March 2 (W)


Music: Stravinsky, Octet (Anthology)

Reading: RT 478-493;

Musical vocabulary: neoclassical style; counterpoint; sonata form

Oct. 11-14, Mid-semester break


March 7, Jerusalem Conference on Exile at UMass (video screening)


UNIT 5—March 9 (W)


First Piano Concerto etc.


SPRING BREAK March 12-20


UNIT 6—March 21 (M); March 23 (W)

Nomos—Schoenberg II

Music: Piano Pieces Op. 33a, (Morgan 64), Survivor from Warsaw, op. 46 (Anthology)

Reading: RT 680-710; Ethan Haimo, Schoenberg’s Serial Odyssey: The Evolution of his Twelve-tone Method, 1914-1928 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), excerpt

Vocabulary: pitch-class; pitch-set; Tonreihe; inversions; retrograde; transpositions; (P, R, I); twelve-tone technique; combinatoriality; etc.


UNIT 7—March 28 (M); March 30 (W)

“…andere Planeten…”—Webern

Music: Song, op. 3, No. 1; Bagatelles for SQ, op. 9, Nos. 4-5; SQ Op. 28 II (Morgan 11a-b. 12)

Reading: RT 719-741; 345-351

Vocabulary: magic square; properties of rows

Recommended listening: Symphony op. 21


UNIT 8—April 4 (M); April 6 (W)

Melodious dodecaphony—Berg

Music: Five Orchestral Songs, Op. 4, Nos. 2, 5; Lyric Suite I, Morgan 14a-b, 15

Reading: Berg in GROVE; RT 193-197, 710-719

Vocabulary: all-interval row; permutation; palindrome; aggregate harmony, “Mutter akkord”

Recommended listening: Lyric Suite, Violin Concerto

SECOND PAPER DUE, topic TBA (can be related to your chosen composer)


UNIT 9—Apr. 11 (M); Apr. 13 (W)

Religious mysticism—Messiaen (Anthology)

Music: Quartet for the End of Times

Reading: RT 227-242; Messiaen, The Technique of my Musical Language (Paris: Alphonse Leduc, 1944), excerpts

Vocabulary: added values; augmented and diminished rhythms; non-retrogradable rhythms; chord on the Dominant; Chord of Resonance; modes of limited transposition (invariance)


UNIT 9 continued—Apr. 18 (M); Apr. 20 (W)

Messiaen concert.

Review—Discussion (leftover)


April 23,7:30, Quartet for the End of Time, Bezanson Recital Hall, UMASS.


April 25, 27, May 2, 4

STUDENT PRESENTATIONS: pieces can be chosen from Morgan’s Anthology (Hindemith, Sessions, Copland, Elliot Carter, Britten, Babbitt, Ligeti, Stockhausen; Penderecki, Davies, Reich, Ives, Varèse…or others) PRESENTATIONS (you should work on your selected composer from the beginning of the semester; he/she should become your “specialty”)