Spring 2009

Seminar in the Anthropology of Music: Eastern European Musical Minimalism and the Present Age

Listed in: Music, as MUSI-49


Jeffers L. Engelhardt (Section 01)


This course examines the phenomenon of musical minimalism in the work of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt and others. We will explore the aesthetic, symbolic, and theological aspects of musical minimalism within a set of global cultural formations and social transformations. Our focus on Pärt’s music and persona will include representations of Pärt in media and scholarship, the use of his music in the films of Tom Tykwer, Werner Herzog, Jean-Luc Godard, Michael Moore, and others, and the impact of record labels like ECM, for instance. This will enable us to engage a number of issues critical to the present age, including the ways in which popular, jazz, classical, and non-Western musics interact, the appeal of spirituality and religious orthodoxy in a secular world, and the ways in which cosmopolitan identity and post-Soviet nationalism are expressed musically. This course will culminate in written, composition, or performance projects. Fulfills either the departmental seminar requirement or the comprehensive exam requirement for the major. Requisite: Music 31 or consent of the instructor. Spring semester. Professor Engelhardt.