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Music

Year:

2022-23

101 Listening Through History

This course aims to instill an appreciation of various types of music mainly from the so-called classical tradition of Western music from  eleventh-century Gregorian chant through twentieth-century genres such as the American musical, minimalism, and jazz (the blues, swing, bebop, and cool jazz). Additionally, our chronological survey will include genres such as the symphony, the concerto, program music, piano music (Romantic character pieces and ragtime), and opera. In addition to works by long-canonized composers (e.g. Bach, Beethoven, and Gershwin), we will study compositions by musicians who have been excluded from or marginalized in the “classical” canon because of race and/or gender (i.e. Hildegard von Bingen, Duke Ellington, Scott Joplin, and Fanny Mendelssohn). Assignments include listening to works of music with attention to how its elements combine to convey meaning and emotion, reading historical documents related to our listening, and short writing assignments. No prior experience with “classical” music or the ability to read music required.

Spring Semester. Professor Schneider. Omitted 2021-22. 

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

103 Music and Totalitarianism

In 1936 the official Soviet newspaper Pravda denounced Dmitri Shostakovich’s latest opera as “muddle instead of music.” In 1942 the Party used his “Leningrad” Symphony as propaganda in the Soviet Union’s war against Nazi Germany. Shostakovich’s career demonstrates both the unlimited government support and the unlimited control totalitarian states exercise over their artists. This course explores musical life under totalitarian regimes: the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, the GDR, Socialist Hungary, China at the time of the Cultural Revolution, and North Korea. Classes will center on musical works affected by such control, including Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth and his Symphony No. 5, and the Chinese ballet The Red Detachment of Women. We will watch propaganda films such as Eisenstein’s Alexander Nevsky and Leni Riefenstahl's The Triumph of the Will as well as films about the perils of totalitarianism such as István Szabó’s Mephisto, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s The Life of Others, and the documentary From Mao to Mozart. Readings will include Hannah Arendt’s analysis of totalitarianism and historical documents pertinent to interpreting musical works in their political context. No previous knowledge of music is required.

Fall semester. Professor Moricz.

2021-22: Offered in Fall 2021
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

104 Writing Through Popular Music

This course will introduce students to important concepts in effective academic writing by thinking about and thinking through popular music. Our complex relationships to popular music confront us with a host of challenging social, cultural, political, and ethical issues. How do we use music to construct, maintain, or challenge private and public identities? How are race, gender, class, sexuality, and the nation constructed through popular music? What is the role of music in our everyday lives? How do concepts of intellectual property, new technologies and forms of musical creativity, and commercial interests influence the music that we listen to? Thinking critically about these issues will refine students’ writing, and writing well about these issues will refine students’ thinking. These questions, among others, will generate a series of assignments designed to encourage students to develop clear and persuasive writing styles. As an intensive writing course, we will focus on fundamentals of writing style, grammatical accuracy, thesis development, and research methodologies crucial to successful written communication. We will use weekly reading assignments drawn from the field of popular music studies to frame and debate important issues emanating from global popular music cultures and to provide models of successful written scholarship. Peer review and a strong focus on editing and revising will be central to the course. Students will also be encouraged to take advantage of the resources of the Writing Center.

Students admitted in consultation with the Office of Student Affairs and/or their academic adviser. Preference given to first-year students. Limited to 12 students. Professor Robinson. Omitted 22/23.

2021-22: Offered in Spring 2022
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2021

105 African Popular Music

(Offered as BLST 204 [A] and MUSI 105)  This course focuses on twentieth-century African popular music; it examines musical genres from different parts of the continent, investigating their relationships to the historical, political and social dynamics of their respective national and regional origins. Regional examples like highlife, soukous, chimurenga, and afro-beate will be studied to assess the significance of  popular music as a creative response to social and political developments in colonial and postcolonial Africa. The course also discusses the growth of hip-hop music in selected countries by exploring how indigenous cultural tropes have provided the basis for its local appropriation. Themes explored in this course include the use of music in the construction of identity; popular music, politics and resistance; the interaction of local and global elements; and the political significance of musical nostalgia. 

Fall semester.  Limited to 30 students. Five College Professor Omojola.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Spring 2016, Fall 2020, Fall 2022

108 Science and Music

(Offered as MUSI 108 and PHYS 108) Appreciating music requires no special scientific or mathematical ability. Yet science and mathematics have a lot to tell us about how we make music and build instruments, what we consider harmonious, and how music is processed by the ear and brain. This course will delve into the fundamentals of music theory, perceptual psychology, and physics in exploring such topics as scales and tunings, the physical properties of sound, Fourier analysis, organizing principles of musical forms, fundamentals of instrument construction, vocal sound production, and elements of sound recording and music production. We will consider ways in which science can be part of the creative process as well as the role creativity plays in scientific discovery. The course will include laboratories during the usual class times that cover a variety of topics ranging from basic acoustics to the formants of vowel sounds. The semester will culminate in an artistic or scientific project located at the crossroads of music and science. No background in music or physics is required. Students are expected to be well versed in high-school-level mathematics, but no knowledge of calculus will be assumed.

Spring semester. Limited to 20 students. Professors Sawyer and Friedman

2021-22: Offered in Spring 2022
Other years: Offered in Spring 2023

110 The Symphony Orchestra: Institution, Repertoire, and Performers

In this class we will study the history of the symphony orchestra from its origins in seventeenth-century Europe to the virtuosic ensembles found in many of the world's great cities today. At the heart of our exploration of these groups will be understanding the development of their repertoire by tracing the history of the major genres of orchestral music: symphony, overture, symphonic poem, and concerto. In addition to studying long-canonized musical figures (e.g. Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Gershwin), we will study composers and performers who have been marginalized in the "classical" canon because of race and/or gender (i.e. Dean Dixon, William Grant Still, Florence Price, George Walker, and Clara Wieck). Fulfills the "historical studies" requirement for the music major.

No prior experience with symphonic music or the ability to read music is required. 

Omitted 2022-23. Professor Schneider.

2021-22: Offered in Fall 2021
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Fall 2021

111 Introduction to Music

This course is intended for students with little or no background in music who would like to develop a theoretical and practical understanding of how music works. Students will be introduced to the technical details of music such as musical notation, intervals, basic harmony, meter and rhythm. Familiarity with basic music theory will enable students to read and perform at sight as well as provide an introduction to the composition of melodies with chordal accompaniment. The music we analyze and perform will draw from folk, popular, and concert traditions. Assignments will include oral and written exercises, and preparation of music for class performance. This course serves as a requisite for many Music Department offerings. Students with some musical experience contemplating MUSI 111 are encouraged to take a self-administered placement exam available at the Music Department website. Students are also encouraged to discuss placement in music theory with a member of the Music Department. Limited to 20 students. Fall semester: Professors Engelhardt and Harper. Spring semester: Professors Móricz and Pukinskis. Two class meetings and one ear training section per week.

2021-22: Offered in Fall 2021, Spring 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

116 Live Music

Most of us listen to music by putting on our headphones and connecting to the internet, but not that long ago, such a feat was physically and technologically impossible. In the space of little more than a generation, there has been a sea change in how we listen to music. What are some of the implications of this transformation? If we are usually alone when we’re doing it, can listening to music still be considered a communal activity? Have we privatized the musical space? Have we democratized it? Has live music become a quaint vestige of the past?

In this course, we will closely examine what is at stake for performers and listeners in live music settings. Through attendance at rehearsals and performances, as well as lectures and panel discussions by guest speakers, we will engage the communities of musicians and listeners in the region and familiarize ourselves with the rich heritages of music found here. Through reading and writing assignments, we will critically examine how the live music experience changes or stays the same across formats, styles, and cultures: a metal concert in a bar, a hip hop concert in a stadium, a singer-songwriter’s performance in a café, a symphony performance in a concert hall. We will also examine ideas about virtual music that bring into question the very notion of liveness. Coursework includes attendance at roughly one music event per week outside of class.

Limited to 30 students. Spring Semester. Professor Harper. 

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2023

123 Sacred Sound

This course examines the relationship between music, sound, and religion in a broad, comparative perspective. We will devote particular attention to the intersections of religious sounds and racialized and minoritized communities. In the context of major world religions, new religious movements, and traditional spiritual practices, we will address fundamental issues concerning sacred sound: How does music enable and enhance the ritual process? How is sound sacred and what are its effects and affects? What happens as sacred sound circulates globally among diverse communities and in secular spaces? Listening, reading, and discussion will include Sufi music from Pakistan, Haitian Vodou, the songs of Ugandan Jews, Orthodox Christian hymns from Estonia, Islamic popular music from Malaysia, Chinese Buddhist chant, spirit possession music from Bali, and the music of Korean shamans. We will also engage with practitioners, scholars, performers, and the sacred sounds of religious communities in Amherst and beyond. Two class meetings per week.

Limited to 25 students. Professor Engelhardt. Omitted 2022-23

2021-22: Offered in Spring 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2009, Fall 2012, Fall 2016, Fall 2020

126 Hip Hop History and Culture

(Offered as MUSI 126 and BLST 134 [US]) This course examines the cultural origins of hip hop and how this small, minority, Bronx-based subculture expanded into one of the most influential styles of music in the world. The course will begin by analyzing the cultural conditions out of which hip hop arose in the mid-1970s; from there it will turn to examining how hip hop music, over the last thirty-five years, has sounded out the identity of its creators as they have grappled with six major questions: What musical elements are crucial components of hip hop’s sound? What does realness in hip hop sound like, and why does it matter? How have artists negotiated expressing their specific geographic origins while simultaneously embracing globalization? How does this genre fit into the music industry, and how has the music industry affected hip hop? Should hip hop be political, and how should artists express their politics? How have technological developments altered hip hop’s sound? Through answering these questions, students will gain an understanding of how hip hop has developed into the styles that we hear today, and how hip hop has radically transformed American racial politics and popular culture more broadly.

Limited to 30 students. Professor Coddington. Fall semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2021, Fall 2022

128 The Blues Muse: African American Music in American Culture

(Offered as MUSI 128 and BLST 344). This course examines the relationship between blues music and American culture. Using Amiri Baraka's influential 1963 book of music criticism, Blues People, as a central text, we will explore ways in which the "blues impulse" has been fundamental to conceptions of African-American identity. At the same time, we will trace the development of African-American music through its connection to West African musical traditions and through its emergence during slavery and the Jim Crow South. Our investigation will survey a number of precursors to the blues, work songs, spirituals, and minstrels and see how these impacted early blues styles, including delta blues, classic blues, and early blues-oriented gospel practices. The blues played a fundamental role in the emergence of new popular musics in the 1940s and 1950s, most notably rock and roll. Embedded within these new musical practices were ideas about African American modernism, urbanity, and self-representation. Culminating in an examination of hip-hop culture, we will analyze the connection between African-American musical practices and larger debates about race, class, gender, and ethnicity. We will see how the blues serves as a mode of activism, and how blues musicians engage questions about racial and ethnic identity through music making.

Limited to 18 students. Professor Robinson. Omitted 2022-23. 

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2020

129H Beginning Voice Class

An exploration of the physiology and acoustics of the human singing voice in a group setting. We will learn the fundamentals of singing including breathing, tone production, and diction. Vocal technique is taught in a group format as a healthy foundation for choral performance in both classical and non-classical singing styles. Learn basic vocal and musical vocabulary.

Lecturer Arianne Abela. Fall and Spring Semester.

2021-22: Offered in Fall 2021, Spring 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

130H Jazz Ensemble

The Amherst College Jazz Ensemble meets a minimum of 2X per week in rehearsals and gives a minimum of three performances each semester. Membership is possible for those who perform on traditional jazz instrumentation (saxophones, brass, piano, guitar, bass, drums, vibes) as well as vocalists. An exciting opportunity each year is the chance to give a world premiere of a piece composed especially for the membership of the jazz ensemble. This always current piece goes along with other repertoire that is chosen from the last 100 years of jazz. Students are also encouraged to create original compositions and arrangements. May be repeated for credit.

Half credit. Fall and spring semesters.

 

2021-22: Offered in Fall 2021, Spring 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

131H Jazz Combo

Participation in a jazz combo involves 2 coached sessions per week and a minimum of 3 performances each semester. Players are placed in groups according to their ease with the skill of improvisation. Repertoire is taken from traditional, standard jazz resources as well as more popular music and original compositions. Though prior experience is helpful, we can find a place for virtually all who wish to be a part of this vibrant program. New to us in 2021-2022, Jazz@Friedmann Room provides a club-like atmosphere for our students to share their musical progress. We encourage membership in groups to be the same from Fall into Spring semester. May be repeated for credit.

Half credit. Fall and spring semesters.

 

2021-22: Offered in Fall 2021, Spring 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

132H Symphony Orchestra

The Amherst Symphony Orchestra is open by audition to all students regardless of major.  It rehearses twice a week from 7-930pm on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and performs three concerts per semester.  Membership ranges in size from fifty to eighty.  Repertoire includes overtures, concertos, symphonies and tone poems by canonic composers from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern periods in addition to works by a diversity of historically underrepresented artists. The Symphony Orchestra also occasionally performs film music, operas and musicals, and appears on tour at universities such as Stanford and venues such as Symphony Space in New York City. Close listening, collaborative and interpretive skills are developed and refined, and historical, biographical, analytical and stylistic knowledge is acquired. Consistent, conscientious and punctual attendance as well as part preparation is required.  Lecturer Swanson.  Fall and Spring Semester.  May be repeated for credit.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023

133H Chamber Music Performance

Many young musicians find the close collaboration and artistic give-and-take of chamber music to be uniquely rewarding. Possible chamber music configurations include but are not limited to string quartets, piano trios, woodwind and brass quintets, and other ensembles with piano. Both self-formed and instructor-suggested groups are feasible, and enrollees are permitted to select repertoire from an array of choices recommended by the instructor. Groups typically meet twice a week for at least an hour per session--once on their own and once with a coach (either the instructor or another member of the Music Department faculty). Opportunities for coaching by visiting professional artists on the prestigious Music at Amherst series are often also available. Culminating performances of selected movements or entire works are presented in varying venues both within the Department and on campus, as well as off campus. Consistent, conscientious and punctual attendance as well as part preparation is required. Participation in Symphony Orchestra by auditing or registration is a co-requisite, except for pianists. Lecturer Swanson. Fall and Spring Semester. May be repeated for credit.

2021-22: Offered in Fall 2021, Spring 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

142 Tango to Reggaetón: Popular Music in Latin American Literature

(Offered as SPAN-319, LLAS-319 and MUSI-142) The early twentieth century development and popularization of new technologies like the radio and the phonograph fomented a shift toward popular music production in Latin America that could reach an international Spanish-speaking audience. Musical genres that Ángel Quintero Rivera terms “músicas mulatas” question boundaries between races, social classes, and nations. In this course, we will investigate how Latin American short stories and novels from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries represent these “músicas mulatas” as the site of different kinds of transgression and fusion. Specifically, we will study the possible functions and effects of incorporating el tango, el bolero, la bachata, la salsa, and el reggaetón into literary texts. By reading a variety of voices, particularly those of Afro-descendent and women authors, we will pay special attention to the ways in which musicalized texts create and question representations of race and gender and seek to transgress borders of all kinds. To enrich our study of literature, we will learn about each of the featured musical genres through secondary readings, guest lectures, and several dance classes. Students will have the opportunity to annotate musically a text and create a podcast, among other assignments. No prior experience with musicology or performance is expected. Conducted in Spanish.

Prerequisites: Spanish 301 or permission of the instructor. Spring Semester.  Lecturer Piazza.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2023

211 Exploring Music

Through composition, analysis, listening practice, and performance, we will build a solid working understanding of many principles of music common in Western musical traditions. The course aims to develop comfort and dexterity in engaging with music via listening, analysis, and creative work. Assignments include harmonizing melodies, writing short melodies and accompaniments, creative representation and listening projects, and annotated analysis. On several occasions we will use our instruments and voices to bring musical examples to life in the classroom. Two class meetings and one ear training section per week.

Students who have not previously taken a course in music theory at Amherst College are encouraged to take a self-administered placement exam available on reserve in the Music Library and on the Music Department Website (www.amherst.edu/~music/TheoryPlacement.pdf ). Students are also encouraged to discuss placement in music theory with a member of the Music Department.This course or MUSI 213 is considered a point of entry to MUSI 341, and serves as a prerequisite to many other Music Department offerings. Requisite: MUSI 111, or equivalent ability gained by playing an instrument or singing. Limited to 18 students. Fall semester: Visiting Professor Pukinskis.

2021-22: Offered in Fall 2021, Spring 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

213 Jazz Theory and Improvisation I

This is a beginner-level course designed to explore jazz harmony and improvisation from theoretical and applied standpoints. Students will study common harmonic practices, modes and scales, rhythmic practices, 32-measure song form, and the blues, and will learn the historical contexts in which these practices have developed. An end-of-semester performance of material studied during the semester will be required alongside regular individual meetings with the instructor. One-hour ear training sections will be scheduled outside of regular class meetings. Two class meetings and two ear training section per week. This course is considered a point of entry to MUSI 341 and a pre-requisite of MUSI 246.

Prior performance experience on a harmonic instrument or voice at a basic proficiency level is assumed and necessary to fully participate in the learning examples and outcomes. Feel free to inquire about your own experience level and how it relats to the course content.

Students who have not previously taken a course in music theory at Amherst College are encouraged to take a self-administered placement exam on reserve in the Music Library and on the Music Department Website (www.amherst.edu/~music/TheoryPlacement.pdf). Students are also encouraged to discuss placement in music theory with a member of the Music Department.Limited to 12 students. Senior Lecturer Diehl. 

2021-22: Offered in Fall 2021
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

215 Musical Theater Analysis

Musical theater tells its stories through a blend of spoken words in scenes and text in song. In combination with music, words blur the edges between “real life” and “song” in a performance, clouding our understanding of where reality begins and ends in the theater. Text can communicate a message; it can become the driving force for musical motives. Each week in Musical Theater Analysis, we will look at musicals such as The Color Purple, Waitress, Ragtime, Hadestown, and Rent to unpack how music helps tell the story and shape characters through harmony, melody, motivic development, text, and text setting, all working together to shape the overall structure, content, and resultant effect of a performance. We will emphasize musicals written in the past thirty years (or revived after 2000), with a focus on diversity of stories, styles, and composer representation. The musical as a primary source will be supplemented by listening, score study, as well as readings on reception, poetry, and other critical analyses.

Requisite: Must be able to read music and have a basic understanding of music theory. MUSI-111 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Visiting Professor Pukinskis.

2021-22: Offered in Spring 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022

221 Voices from a Bygone Time

(Offered as MUSI 221 and EUST 221) Monks living in monastic seclusion, troubadours serving their ladies and fighting wars, mad princes writing complicated polyphonic music, male castrato singers celebrated as the pop-stars of opera houses are just a few of the fascinating characters who participated in music making from the Middle Ages until the middle of the eighteenth century in Europe. The music they produced is frequently called "early music," a falsely unifying label that hides the kaleidoscopic nature of this fantastic repertory, ranging from monophonic chant to opera. In this course we will study how the invention of musical notation affected the development of music, turning an oral tradition of chant into a written tradition of complex polyphonic textures unimaginable without the help of notation. Reading historical documents and listening to selected pieces of music, we'll visit the soundscape of this bygone time that still influences our thinking about music. Assignments include listening, reading, and short papers. Knowledge of musical notation at least at the rudimentary level is recommended.

Requisite: MUSI 211 or consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Professor Móricz.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2021, Fall 2022

222 Music and Culture II

(Offered as MUSI 222 and EUST 222) One of three courses in which the development of Western music is studied in its cultural-historical context. Occasionally we will attend concerts in Amherst and elsewhere. Composers to be studied include Beethoven, Rossini, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, Wagner, Verdi, Mussorgsky, and Brahms. Regular listening assignments will broaden the repertoire we encounter and include a wide sampling of Classical and Romantic music. Periodic writing assignments will provide opportunities to connect the music with historical-cultural interpretation. Readings will focus on Gibbs/Taruskin Oxford History of Western Music with additional historical documents and selected critical and analytical studies. This course may be elected individually or in conjunction with other Music and Culture courses (MUSI 221 and 223). Two class meetings per week.

Requisite: MUSI 111, 211, or consent of the instructor. Spring semester. Professor Schneider.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2023

223 The Musical Symptoms of Modernism

(Offered as MUSI 223 and EUST 223) Two World Wars, the Holocaust, the Cold War, and the dropping of the atomic bomb were cataclysmic events that made the twentieth century one of the most traumatizing time periods in human history. And yet music did not fall silent. Composers continued writing music, giving aural expression to symptoms characteristic of the condition of modernism. How did Richard Strauss's opera Salome about a necrophiliac princess lusting for a severed head become one of the most successful operas in Europe? Why did Stalin alternately persecute and reward the Soviet Union's most talented composer, Dmitri Shostakovich? Why did composers insist on writing unlistenable, incomprehensibly complex music after World War II? Listening to a wide variety of music from Mahler to Kaija Saariaho, reading historical documents and other relevant essays, we'll explore symptoms of modernism and how composers and their music interacted with their culture milieu and historical context. Assignments will include regular listening, periodic short papers, and a culminating project.

Requisite: MUSI 111 or 211, or consent of the instructor. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Moricz.

2021-22: Offered in January 2022, Spring 2022
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, January 2022

225 Jazz Film: Improvisation, Narrativity, and Representation

(Offered as MUSI 225 and FAMS 375) Jazz occupies a special role in the development of American film. From The Jazz Singer (1927), the first American film that included synchronized sound, to the sprawling Jazz: A Documentary (2001) from Ken Burns, filmic representations of jazz speak to fundamental ways that Americans negotiate difference and imagine national identity. This course examines the relationship between jazz and American culture through three modalities: improvisation, narrativity, and representation. How might jazz improvisation influence the construction of film? Is there an "improvised film"? Moreover, jazz musicians often speak about "telling stories" through their music. How might this influence narrative structure in film and inform the ways that stories about jazz musicians are constructed in film? How might this influence narrative structure in film? And how might these stories about jazz musicians reflect larger debates about race, gender, sexuality and nationality? Assignments will include guided viewing of several important jazz films, required reading, and a series of essays.

Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Robinson.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2019, January 2021

226 Jazz History to 1945: Emergence, Early Development, and Innovation

(Offered as MUSI 226 and BLST 334 [US]) One of two courses that trace the development of jazz from its emergence in early 20th-century New Orleans to its profound impact on American culture. This course examines its early roots in late 19th-century American popular culture and its role as American popular music in the 1920s, '30s, and '40s. Using themes that connect the evolution of jazz practices to social and racial politics in American popular culture, we will look closely at the work of well-known historical figures (Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, and several others) as well as the vibrant communities that nurtured and prompted their innovative musical practices. As an exception for fall semester of 2020, students may petition to have the course fulfill a departmental seminar requirement for the Music major. Students wishing to do this will be required to complete an additional research project.

Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Robinson. 

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2014, Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Fall 2020

227 Jazz History After 1945: Experimentalism, Pluralism, and Traditionalism

(Offered as MUSI 227 and BLST 344 [US]) One of two courses that trace the development of jazz from its emergence in early 20th-century New Orleans to its profound impact on American culture. This course explores the emergence of bebop in the 1940s, the shift of jazz's relationship with American popular culture after World War II, and the dramatic pluralization of jazz practice after the 1950s. We will also look at the emergence of fusion and the jazz avant-garde of the 1960s and 1970s, and theorize the reformulation of "tradition" during the 1980s. Central to our examination will be the phenomenon of "neoclassicism" common in jazz discourse today, measuring that against the radical diversity of jazz practice around the world. Many figures central to the development of the varied post-bebop directions in jazz will be discussed: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Ornette Coleman, the New York Downtown scene, and many others. Two class meetings per week.

Spring semester. Professor Robinson.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2020, Spring 2023

229H Glee Club

The Amherst College Glee Club, founded in 1865, is the fifth oldest collegiate choral ensemble in the United States. In this course, the ensemble will meet twice a week to develop the skill and knowledge to perform a wide range of musical styles and genres. Participation in this course will help singers develop their vocal ability in a positive environment, interact with living composers on newly composed repertory, as well as engage in the study of repertory from the Western and non-western choral canon. The ensemble frequently interacts with other choral ensembles, visiting instructors and guests, locally and on tour, both domestically and internationally. Students enrolled in this course must have some experience with music notation and the ability to match pitch, though experience singing in a choral setting is not required. 

Lecturer Arianne Abela. Fall and Spring Semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023

230 Rhythm

What is musical rhythm and why does it matter? How is rhythm perceived, measured, notated (or indicated) and performed in different musical cultures and what does rhythm “mean” within each system?  In this course we will examine rhythmic traditions within their historical, social, and cultural contexts, develop ways of understanding rhythms across cultures and traditions, and learn how to hear and perform rhythms of various traditions. We will use staff notation of Western music as an analytical tool and comparative model to investigate rhythmic complexity, polyrhythm, cross rhythm, mixed and odd meters, groove, incremental repetition and ecstaticism induced by rhythm, as well as pedagogical and conceptual models from musics beyond the Western tradition, such as solkattu from South Indian Carnatic music, but also concepts like quantization in MIDI programming, transcription, and time unit box notation systems (TUBS). Coursework will include reading, listening, and viewing assignments, learning and performing rhythmic exercises discussed in class, brief writing and class presentation projects, and a final project. While there are no course prerequisites for this class, students should be familiar with basic rhythmic concepts of Western staff notation.

Spring Semester. Professor Robinson and co-instructor TBD.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2023

232 Listening, Hearing, and the Human

(Offered as MUSI 232 and ANTH 233) If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? A provisional answer from the field of sound studies is: no, the falling tree produces vibration, but does not make a sound absent a listening, hearing human subject. Take another step, and we arrive at ethnomusicologist John Blacking’s time-honored (but not unproblematic) definition of music as “humanly organized sound” and “soundly organized humanity.” In this course, we linger at the intersections of sound and music, listening and hearing to learn about the human. What happens as we encounter music, sound, and voice as forms of vibration available to our senses rather than as texts and sonic objects? How are listening and hearing culturally specific practices shaped by particular histories, identities, technologies, hierarchies of the senses, capitalist desires, human ecologies, concepts of ability and disability, and the work of performers, scholars, and sound artists? In addressing these questions through listening exercises and readings in music, sound, media studies, and anthropology, and listening exercises, we will employ what Pauline Oliveros calls “Deep Listening” (an ethical practice of listening to other humans and non-humans and to music) as a research methodology. Ultimately, this course will attune us to the urgency of listening to the sounds of protest, hearing voices speaking and singing across differences of power and privilege, and attending to what the sounds of the Anthropocene signal.

Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Professor Engelhardt. 

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Spring 2021, Spring 2023

238 Soundscapes of the Connecticut River Valley

(Offered as MUSI 238, ANTH 239 and FAMS 312) This course is about exploring, participating in, and documenting the musical communities and acoustic terrain of the Connecticut River Valley. The first part of the course will focus on local histories and music scenes, ethnographic methods and technologies, and different techniques of documentary representation. The second part of the course will involve intensive, sustained engagement with musicians and sounds in the Amherst vicinity (and beyond). Course participants will give weekly updates about their fieldwork projects and are expected to become well-versed in the musics they are studying. There will be a significant amount of work and travel outside of class meetings. The course will culminate in contributions to a web-based documentary archive of soundscapes projects. We will also benefit from visits and interaction with local musicians. Two class meetings per week. Visit http://www.valleysoundscapes.org/ for more information.

Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professor Engelhardt.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2023

244 Methods of Musical Analysis

This course engages global music theories from the perspective of ethnomusicology and analytic approaches drawn from sound studies. The music we analyze will come from popular, folk, and classical traditions around the world, including West African drumming, Caribbean dance genres, East Asian court and religious traditions, American roots music, classical traditions from the Arab world and Indian subcontinent, and several global popular styles. At its core, the course addresses three questions: What do musicians working in the traditions we study hear in and think about the music they make? What methods are available to better understand these kinds of music? How does analysis develop our skills as musicians and listeners? Students will learn methods of musical transcription (notating or visually representing sound) and software-aided analysis to develop translatable ways of approaching timbre, texture, rhythm, groove, meter, harmony, mode, tuning, and musical form. Understanding the ways people theorize music in the process of performance, improvisation, composition, and teaching across musical cultures will give students new tools for creating, performing, and analyzing music. Although not a performance course, class sessions feature hands-on involvement with instruments and singing. Coursework includes weekly listening, transcription, and analysis assignments; basic projects in composition; and music-making presentations.

This is an upper-level musicianship course designed for majors or students with experience analyzing and performing music. This course may be used to fulfill the second required musicianship course (in addition to MUSI 341) for the major.

Requisite: MUSI 341 or consent of the instructor. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Engelhardt. 

2021-22: Offered in Fall 2021
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

267 Song Writing

The writing of songs based upon a study of song forms in a variety of styles, including blues, rock, Tin Pan Alley, American folk song, and more. A composition course with much individual attention. Significant class time will be spent discussing student compositions, with occasional meetings with the instructor outside of class hours. Special attention will be paid to the interactions of African American, Latin American, and European American musical traditions in American popular song. The creation of lyrics will also be considered. Two class meetings per week.

For the 2021 academic year, this course will fulfill the music major requirement represented by MUSI 342/343/344. Students wishing to fulfill this requirement will have occasional additional meetings with the instructor outside of class hours on topics of advanced harmonic usage to be employed in their song writing.

Requisite: Students should have some background in music performance, chords, or writing. Students fulfilling the MUSI 242/243/244 requirement must have completed MUSI 341. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Sawyer. 

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2010, Fall 2016, Spring 2020, Fall 2020

269 Composition I

What does it mean to compose? What do you need to know in order to do it? We will investigate the practice of music composition across recent decades and create original work inspired by the music and techniques we encounter. We will study the use instruments and voices, how to provide a clear musical score for interpretation by performers, and how improvisation and technology can inform and become part of a composition. Students may bring any style or tradition to the table. The class will focus especially on three lineages through the twentieth century into the twenty-first: modern Western art music, instrumental music from the African-American tradition, and the gamut of American popular song. Each composition will be presented in class, with the assistance of performers from inside and outside the class. We will develop the skill of providing one another constructive feedback. The class will culminate in a concert performance of final compositions.Two class meetings per week.

Requisite: MUSI 111, some background playing an instrument or singing, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 10 students. Fall semester. Professor Sawyer.

2021-22: Offered in Fall 2021
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

329H Concert Choir

The Amherst College Concert Choir is the premier performing and touring ensemble at Amherst College. Singers will learn to refine aural and vocal skills while singing challenging music from all genres and styles in this chamber setting. Participation in the Glee Club is a co-requisite for Concert Choir. Meets twice a week for 90 minutes and once a week for 30 minutes. Lecturer Arianne Abela. Fall and Spring Semester.

2021-22: Offered in Fall 2021, Spring 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

341 Tonal Harmony and Counterpoint

As musicians, we sometimes forget how powerful harmony is. We casually drop the term in conversation. We think of it as common knowledge. Well, in a way, it is. Emerging in the 17th century in Western Europe and eventually spreading to many places around the world, this musical system has come to play a tremendous role in our perception of musical structure and our emotional experience as listeners.We find harmony in concert halls, coliseums, and coffeehouses, jazz clubs, movie theaters, and mosh pits. Inextricably bound to our digital-download algorithms for "happy", "focus-flow", and "lo-fi cool down", it is built into our playlists. Through composition, analysis, dictation and performance, we will develop theoretical and practical tools to cultivate a deep understanding of the conventions of tonal harmony across a variety of styles. We will use counterpoint - the combination of melodic lines - to amplify our examination.

This course is the first of the required music theory sequence for majors. Three class meetings and two ear-training sections per week. Students who have not previously taken a course in music theory at Amherst College are encouraged to take a self-administered placement exam available on the Music Department Website (https://www.amherst.edu/academiclife/departments/music/theoryexam). Students are also encouraged to discuss placement in music theory with a member of the Music Department.

Limited to 18 students. Professor Coddington. Fall and Spring semester.

2021-22: Offered in Fall 2021, Spring 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

342 Form in Tonal Music

How can a piece of instrumental music with no words tell a story? How can a song with words convey a sense of perfect abstract design? Musical form is an interaction of melody, harmony, rhythm, and other musical parameters that can be used to structure a temporal experience into a narrative experience. We will consider several genres across musical eras and traditions, including Baroque counterpoint, classical sonata forms, and American popular song forms, seeing how the shaping of common practice harmony gives voice to many shades of individuality within each tradition. Students will have the opportunity to get inside of each stylistic language by writing guided compositions inspired by the models we study. Fulfills one of the required music theory sequences for majors. Two lectures and one ear-training section per week.  Requisite: Music 341 or consent of the instructor. Spring semester. Professor Sawyer.

2021-22: Offered in Spring 2022
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2023

343 Jazz Form and Analysis

An upper level theory course designed for majors or students with prior jazz performance or theory experience. Students do not need a background in jazz to enroll in this course, and this course may be used to satisfy one of two required courses for the theory and analysis requirement for the music major.

Among the topics to be explored in the course will be melodic, harmonic and formal concepts from: hot jazz of the 1920s, big bands of the 1930s and 1940s, bebop of the 1940s, the post-bop legacies of hard bop, cool jazz and their manifestations today, as well as the jazz avant-garde and fusion of the 1960s and 1970s. Students will gain an understanding of the formal principles of various types of small and large ensemble jazz composition and improvisation.

Required coursework will include melodic, harmonic and formal/structural analysis of compositions, arrangements, and improvisations from various historical and stylistic periods within the development of jazz. We will carry out these investigations through listening, transcription, and composition/writing projects. This is not a performance course; however, certain assignments will require basic performance exercises on piano and/or another instrument with which the student is familiar (including voice).

Requisite: MUSI 341, a background in jazz, or consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Professor Robinson.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014, Fall 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2022

344 Researching Music and Sound

How can I participate in the conversations about music and sound I am studying? This seminar creates space for students to answer that question by experiencing a range of music and sound research in the context of the liberal arts. Our focus is on students developing research projects that can lead to thesis work, summer fellowship and internship opportunities, and other new directions in their intellectual and artistic lives. In the spirit of music as a liberal art, we will engage with research oriented toward learning about what is possible in performance and creation, understanding sound and style through analysis, and using historical and ethnographic methods to interpret music's social significance. And in the same spirit of music as a liberal art, we will explore how music and sound afford innovative approaches to research in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields. As a community, students will work with visiting scholars and artists, research staff at the Frost Library, publishing and media professionals, and Amherst College graduates at developing research projects aligned with their intellectual and artistic interests, experimenting with research methodologies, and communicating their research in accessible ways to diverse audiences. Throughout this seminar, we will maintain critical interest in how issues of representation and inclusion shape research in music and sound—what gets researched, and who is able to do that research? Seminar work will be varied, moving from reading, listening, and discussion to writing and media workshops, mini-conferences, and opportunities for peer feedback. Ultimately, students will craft research proposals and produce early-stage research that are useful beyond the frame of the seminar itself, seeding future work at Amherst College and beyond. Fulfills either the departmental seminar requirement or the comprehensive exam requirement for the major.

Not open to first-year students. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Engelhardt.

2021-22: Offered in Fall 2021
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021

346 Jazz Theory and Improvisation II

A continuation of MUSI 113, this course is designed to acquaint students with the theory and application of advanced techniques used in jazz improvisation. Work on a solo transcription will be a main focus throughout the semester. An end-of-semester performance of material(s) studied during the semester will be required of the class. A jazz-based ear-training section will be scheduled outside of the regular class times. Two class meetings per semester.

Requisite: MUSI 113 and/or performance experience in the jazz idiom strongly suggested. Musical literacy sufficient to follow a score. Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 16 students. Omitted 2022-23. Senior Lecturer Diehl.

2021-22: Offered in Spring 2022
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2012, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2020

371 Seminar in Composition I

Immersive composition projects tailored to the needs and experience of the individual student, deepening the experience gained in creative courses like Music 269. One class meeting per week and one individual meeting per week. Group meetings will include discussions on compositional topics, study of repertory from a wide range of styles and traditions, and sharing of music by students and visitors in a workshop environment. The semester includes partnerships to write for professional musicians, as well as a final class concert. This course may be repeated as topics and projects change each semester. Music 387 and Music 388 need not be taken in order.

Requisite: MUSI 269 or the equivalent, or consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Professor Sawyer.

2021-22: Offered in Fall 2021
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

385 Hip Hop Production

How is hip hop made, and why does it sound the way it does? In this course, we will examine the history of hip hop production by creating hip hop, analyzing how technological inventions and changing aesthetic practices have contributed to the sound and style of hip hop’s beats. Through close listening, together with reading first-person accounts, critical reviews, musical instrument manuals, ethnographies, and musical analyses, students in this course will develop a historical understanding of the aesthetics and musical contributions of important hip hop producers and how these producers have embraced new technologies and instruments. Informed by this historical background, students will compose hip hop beats using a variety of instruments and software and using celebrated tracks by producers such as Rick Rubin, the Bomb Squad, the Dust Brothers, Organized Noize, J Dilla, and Metro Boomin as models for their compositions.

Requisite: MUSI 126/BLST 134 or the equivalent, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Spring semester. Professor Coddington and Valentine Visitor TBD.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2023

388 Composition Seminar II

A continuation of MUSI 387. One class meeting per week and weekly private conferences. This course may be repeated. Spring 2023 will focus on song covers and arrangements.

Requisite: MUSI 269 or the equivalent and consent of the instructor. Spring semester. Professor Pukinskis.

2021-22: Offered in Spring 2022
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2023

390, 390H, 490, 490H Special Topics

Independent reading course. A full course.

Fall and spring semesters. The Department.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

420 Seminar on Opera and Musical Theatre

(Offered as MUSI 420, EUST 320 and THDA 320) This course examines the two genres of lyric theater (opera and musical) with special attention to composers’ musical characterizations of the women and men who populate them. The first part of the class will focus on case studies of works by Mozart, Verdi, Puccini,  Rogers & Hammerstein, and Sondheim. Analyzing these works will help us develop an understanding of how composers work with conventions of vocal type and musical gesture to define character. The second part of the class will be devoted to developing independent research projects. Health conditions permitting, some of the works studied will be chosen in coordination with performances we can attend in New York or Boston.

Omitted 2022-23. Professor Schneider.

2021-22: Offered in Spring 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019

428 Seminar in Popular Music and Identity

Music often serves as one of the primary ways that we create and maintain identities. Our social groups--peers, colleagues, acquaintances--are often determined by shared affinities for specific musical styles, artists, and the world views they come to represent. Yet music is also frequently used to catalyze various forms of social and political activism, challenge our relationship to society and structures of power, and initiate change. This seminar explores the nature of popular music and its relationship to culture, politics, and identity. The first part of the course surveys popular music studies and the various trends in cultural studies that have prompted new ways of examining the relationship between popular music and social and cultural identities. We will use these tools to analyze an array of popular music cultures in and beyond the United States. The second part of the course focuses on developing multifaceted research projects that put these theories to use. Students will be encouraged to combine ethnographic research (interviews, location-based research) with historical and critical analysis to generate a unique, personal project exploring the relationship between music and identity. Two class meetings per week. Fulfills either the departmental seminar requirement or the comprehensive exam requirement for the major.

Requisite: MUSI-111 or consent of the instructor. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Robinson.

2021-22: Offered in Spring 2022

439 Seminar in Improvised Music

Functioning as a combined seminar and performance workshop, this course explores the theory and practice of musical improvisation. Rather than focus on one specific musical style, we will define “improvised music” in an inclusive way that draws equally from American and European experimental musics, various approaches to post-1965 jazz improvisation, and several musical traditions from around the world that prominently use improvisation. Students will be encouraged to develop new performance practices drawn from and in dialogue with these diverse musical traditions. Reading, listening, and video assignments will help familiarize students with the burgeoning field of improvised music studies and will serve to guide class discussions. Students with any musical/stylistic background are encouraged to enroll. Two class meetings per week. Fulfills the departmental seminar requirement for the major.

Requisite: Basic instrumental or vocal proficiency. Limited to 10 students. Fall semester. Professor Robinson.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Spring 2013, Fall 2015, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2022

441 Selling Music

The music industry is quickly changing. Over the last year, the concert touring industry has been devastated, as concerts have been cancelled en masse due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, increasing attention has been placed on the racial inequality of the music industry, an industry where white artists and executives over the last century profited from unfairly compensating black musical expression. How are artists and record companies making money in our contemporary moment, and how does that compare to the past?

In this seminar we will analyze the myriad of ways music is sold to the public, focusing on music’s role as a commodity which monetizes musical expressivity. We will start the semester by examining the structure of the music industry, interviewing musicians about their current circumstances to shed light on how the music industry is organized. We will also explore how artists situate themselves in a musical ecosystem quickly evolving thanks to technological innovations and new venues for listener engagement such as TikTok, Patreon, and Soundcloud. Then, we will expand to a more historical perspective, focusing on the ways that the music industry has profited from selling racialized sounds. Through analyzing advertisements and speaking with industry professionals, we will better understand the racial politics of how music is sold to the public as well as how music is used to sell other products while simultaneously selling itself. Students will engage in a semester-long research project focusing on an artist or company of their choice; reading assignments alongside primary source research will help provide context and content for the research project. Fulfills either the departmental seminar requirement or the comprehensive exam requirement for the major.

Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Coddington. Course will be taught synchronously over zoom, with additional online elements occuring on slack and the course website.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

443 Seminar in The Virtual Realities of Romantic Music

Romantic composers loved to escape from the realities of every life into the perilous virtual worlds they created in their music. How can we explore these worlds and understand the technical means with which they were created? How can we interpret the splendid sound of music by using words whose discursive strength seems to endange music's ephemeral nature? Through close reading of nineteenth-century music by Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, and Brahms, we will explore the possibilities of musical expression and meaning, searching for parallels between poetic and musical interpretation. Works will be considered from a number of different analytical perspectives including methods current in the nineteenth century and those developed more recently. Writing assignments will combine technical analysis with petic interpretation.

Two class meetings and two ear-training sections per week. Fulfills the departmental seminar equirement for the major.

Requisite: MUSI 342, 343, or 344. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Móricz.

2021-22: Offered in Fall 2021
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2021

444 Formation of the Self in Twentieth-Century Music

How can we recognize a composer's voice in different pieces of music? How do composers develop a personal style? In this seminar we will study what constitute composers' personal style. Our primary text will be compositions by strong personalities from twentieth-century music, among them Claude Debussy, Arnold Schoenberg, Igor Stravinsky, Béla Bartók, and Olivier Messiaen, whose style had a disproportionately large influence on composers coming after them. We will learn to read and understand their complex scores and to write about them in a way that explains both their compositional technique and captures the particular sonic world of their music. For their final projects, students will analyze the style of a composer of their choice or of their own developing compositional voice. Two class meetings and two ear-training sections per week. Fulfills either the departmental seminar requirement or the comprehensive exam requirement for the major.

Requisite: MUSI 341 or 342, or consent of the instructor. Spring semester. Professor Móricz. 

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Spring 2011, Spring 2023

449 Seminar in the Anthropology of Music: Voice

(Offered as MUSI 449 and ANTH 449) This seminar explores the sound and significance of the human voice in broad perspective. What do we communicate with our voice? Why are certain voices powerful or unforgettable? How are voices culturally shaped and constrained? How do people use their voice along the continuum between speech and song? What happens when the voice turns text into sound? What does it mean in terms of politics and personhood to have a voice? How does vocal sound relate to knowledge of the body and ideas about race, gender, and identity? To engage these questions, we will begin by examining the classic premise that the voice is a sonic medium for music, language, and other forms of communicative expression whose production (singing, speaking, vocalizing) and uptake (listening, recognizing, empathizing) are basic to social life and inhabiting one's environment. Throughout the term, we will push this premise in critical new directions by remembering that song and language affect us because the voice is not merely a medium. What Roland Barthes famously describes as "the grain of the voice" is its profound, compelling sonic presence beyond its role as a medium. Thinking about the significance of vocal sound and timbre in this light, we will explore a host of voices and vocal styles from throughout the world, including how we use our own creativel, in performance, and relative to the constraints of a voice-impacting global pandemic. We will listen and read widely, benefiting from each others' experience and insights as well as those of singers and scholars who will join us. Fulfills either the departmental seminar requirement or the comprehensive exam requirement for the major.

Fall semester. Professor Engelhardt. 

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017, Spring 2018, January 2021, Fall 2022

498, 498D, 499, 499D Senior Departmental Honors

A double course. Advanced work for Honors candidates in music history and criticism, music theory, ethnomusicology, composition, or performance. A thesis, a major composition project or a full-length recital will be required. No student shall elect more than one semester as a double course.

Fall semester. The Department.

2021-22: Offered in Fall 2021
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

Music Lessons

151H Piano Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in piano with a focus on repertoire from the Western classical tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

152H Voice Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in voice with a focus on repertoire from the Western classical tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

153H Violin Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in violin with a focus on repertoire from the Western classical tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

154H Viola Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in viola with a focus on repertoire from the Western classical tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

155H Trumpet Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in trumpet with a focus on repertoire from the Western classical tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

156H Percussion Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in percussion with a focus on repertoire from the Western classical or jazz tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

157H Saxophone Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in saxophone with a focus on repertoire from the Western classical and/or jazz tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

158H French Horn Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in French horn with a focus on repertoire from the Western classical tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

159H Clarinet Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in clarinet with a focus on repertoire from the Western classical tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

160H Cello Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in cello with a focus on repertoire from the Western classical tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

161H Classical Guitar Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in guitar with a focus on repertoire from the Western classical tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

162H String Bass Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in string bass with a focus on repertoire from the Western classical tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

163H Flute Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in flute with a focus on repertoire from the Western classical tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

166H Fiddle Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in fiddle with a focus on repertoire chosen with the instructor. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

167H Banjo Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in banjo with a focus on repertoire decided on with your instructor. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

168H Jazz Piano Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in piano with a focus on repertoire from the jazz tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

169H Jazz Voice Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in voice with a focus on repertoire from the jazz tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

170H Jazz Guitar Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in guitar with a focus on repertoire from the jazz tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

171H Jazz Bass Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in bass with a focus on repertoire from the jazz tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

172H Bassoon Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in bassoon with a focus on repertoire from the Western classical tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

173H Organ Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in organ with a focus on repertoire from the Western classical tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

174H Tuba Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in tuba with a focus on repertoire from the Western classical tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

175H Trombone Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in trombone with a focus on repertoire from the Western classical and/or jazz tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

176H Harp Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in harp with a focus on repertoire from the Western classical tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

177H Oboe Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in oboe with a focus on repertoire from the Western classical tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

178H Mallets Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in mallets with a focus on repertoire from the Western classical and/or jazz tradition. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

179H Recorder Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in recorder with a focus on repertoire from traditions from that era. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

180H Harpsichord Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in harpsichord with a focus on repertoire to be determined by the instructor. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

181H Improvisation Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in improvisation with a focus to be determined by the instructor. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

182H Digital Music Production and Recording

This course provides individual performance instruction in digital music production and recording including sound capture, mixing, mastering, and use of Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) to create music. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.

Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollment. Admission with consent of the instructor. Fall and spring semesters.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023

183H Balalaika Performance Instruction

This course provides individual performance instruction in balalaika with a focus on repertoire to be agreed upon with the instructor. Students have weekly lessons with the instructor with an expectation of five hours per week of practice. The course is open to students of any level, beginning to advanced, and it may be repeated.Prerequisite: any MUSI full course during the first semester of enrollmentPermission of instructor. Half Credit. Fall and spring semester.

2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023