Fall 2014 Courses

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MUS 1015. Women and the Blues.
An in-depth interdisciplinary examination of historical, social, and cultural contexts of women and blues music of the twentieth century. Focuses on the lives, careers, and social realities of female African American blues singers such as Bessie Smith and Gertrude ‘Ma’ Rainey and their contributions at the forefront of blues development. Also looks at the influence of blues oral tradition on song lyrics and vocal techniques, from the psychedelic blues of Janis Joplin to women performing jazz, from a socio-cultural perspective. No musical performance background is expected. Course involves both analytical writing and creative projects.
MUS 1051. Fundamentals of Music.
For the entry-level student. Explores the fundamental elements of music—form, harmony, melody, pitch, rhythm, texture, timbre—and teaches basic skills in reading and writing Western music notation for the purposes of reading, analyzing, and creating musical works.
MUS 1101. Sound, Self, and Society: Music and Everyday Life.
Explores the role of music and sound as social practice, political catalyst, market commodity, site of nostalgia, environment regulator, identity tool, and technology of the self. Enables students to communicate about sound and music. Addresses music in relation to: mood manipulation; signification and “noise”; taste and identity; race, class, gender, and sexuality codes; repetition and form; “urban tribes” and subcultures; the cult of the expert; economics and politics; power; authenticity; technology; and multinationalism. Musical genres will be primarily within American popular music. Case studies may include: gym, study, road trip, and party playlists; karaoke; tribute bands; music in film; music revivals; “cock rock”; the gendered nature of instruments; suburban punk; Muzak; advertising jingles; and Starbucks.
MUS 1269. CuBop, Up-Rock, Boogaloo, and Banda: Latinos Making Music in the United States.
Surveys the musical styles of Latinos in the United States. Discusses the role of these musics in articulating race, class, gender, and sexual identities for U.S. Latinos, their circulation along migration routes, their role in identity politics and ethnic marketing, their commercial crossover to Anglo audiences, and Latin/o contributions to jazz, funk, doo-wop, disco, and hip-hop. Case studies may include Mexican-American/Chicano, Puerto Rican/Nuyorican, and Cuban-American musics; Latin music in golden age Hollywood; Latin dance crazes from mambo to the Macarena; rock en español; the early 2000s boom of Latin artists like Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, and Jennifer Lopez; reggaetón, race politics, and the creation of the “Hurban” market; and the transnational Latin music industries of Los Angeles, New York, and Miami.
MUS 1401. Introduction to Music Theory.
Designed for students with some beginning experience in music theory and an ability to read music. Covers scales, keys, modes, intervals, and basic tonal harmony.
MUS 2281. History of Jazz II.
Provides a socio-cultural, historical, and analytical introduction to jazz music from around 1950 to the present. Students will learn to understand the history of jazz in terms of changes in musical techniques and social values and to recognize music as a site of celebration and struggle over relationships and ideals. Students will increase their ability to hear differences among performances and styles. They will gain greater knowledge of U.S. history as it affects and is affected by musical activities and learn to appreciate the stakes and motives behind the controversies and debates that have often surrounded various styles of African American music.
MUS 2291. Black Women, Politics, Music, and the Divine.
Seminar. Examines the convergence of politics and spirituality in the musical work of contemporary Black women singer-songwriters in the United States. Analyzes material that interrogates and articulates the intersections of gender, race, class, and sexuality, generated across a range of religious and spiritual terrains with African diasporic/Black Atlantic spiritual moorings, including Christianity, Islam, and Yoruba. Focuses on material that reveals a womanist (Black feminist) perspective by considering the ways resistant identities shape and are shaped by artistic production. Employs an interdisciplinary approach by incorporating ethnomusicology, anthropology, literature, history, and performance and social theory. Explores the work of Shirley Caesar, the Clark Sisters, Me’shell Ndegeocello, Abby Lincoln, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and Dianne Reeves, among others.
MUS 2301. The Western Canon.
The Western canon—the repertory of works and composers at the core of classical music—may seem pretty immutable. But in fact works and composers continually fall in and out of it, or move up and down in its hierarchy. At the same time, it has been extraordinarily difficult for the canon to include works by women, people of color, and non-Western composers. Examines the processes of, and pressures on, canon formation from about 1780 until the present and a number of pillars of classical music, from Handel’s Messiah and Haydn’s Creation to the symphonies of Shostakovich and the works of Nadia Boulanger’s students.
MUS 2403. Songwriting and Song Analysis.
An intensive project-oriented course in which students will learn skills such as melodic and rhythmic writing, arranging, studio production, text-setting, and basic chromatic harmony, and how those elements combine to affect listeners on an emotional level. Repertoire studied will largely be chosen by students, but will also include songs by the Beatles, various Motown artists, Joni Mitchell, Prince, and Radiohead. Small-group and individual lab sessions scheduled separately. Not open to students who have credit for Music 151.
MUS 2551. Introduction to Electronic Music.
Examination of the history and techniques of electronic and computer music. Topics include compositional aesthetics, recording technology, digital and analog synthesis, sampling, MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface), and computer-assisted composition. Ends with a concert of student compositions.
MUS 2603. Art of Singing.
A study of singing traditions, emphasizing American popular music and classical music. Topics comprise vocal color and production, the influence of language on singing, performing practices, improvisation, and aesthetic response. Projects include performances and analyses of recorded music.
MUS 2769. Middle Eastern Ensemble.
Meets once a week on Monday evenings, and performs pieces from the Arabic, Turkish, Armenian, and Greek traditions. Coached by oud player Amos Libby and percussionist Eric La Perna, the group performs one concert per semester. No experience is required to join; students have the option of singing, learning new percussion instruments, or playing an instrument with which they are already familiar.
MUS 2771. Chamber Choir.
An auditioned group of about thirty-five student singers. Repertory ranges widely, from Renaissance music to American contemporary music and folk music of the world. The choir performs at festivals and society meetings in the U.S. (American Choral Directors Association and Society of Composers), and it tours abroad during some spring breaks. Recent trips have taken the ensemble to Germany, Ireland, England, Chile, Hungary, and Slovakia. Monday through Thursday late afternoons must be reserved, but the choir usually rehearses only three of those days.
MUS 2773. Chorus.
An auditioned ensemble of students, faculty, staff, and community singers. At least one of the semesters features a large-scale work for chorus and orchestra. Recent tours have included all the major cities of New England, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece. Rehearsals are Thursday and Sunday evenings. Sight reading ability is desired but not required.
MUS 2773. Chorus.
An auditioned ensemble of students, faculty, staff, and community singers. At least one of the semesters features a large-scale work for chorus and orchestra. Recent tours have included all the major cities of New England, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece. Rehearsals are Thursday and Sunday evenings. Sight reading ability is desired but not required.
MUS 2775. Concert Band.
An ensemble open to all students with wind and percussion experience that performs several major concerts each year on campus, along with performances at campus events and ceremonies. Repertoire consists of a variety of literature, from the finest of the wind band repertoire to light classics, show tunes and marches. Students have been featured as soloists and conductors, and student compositions have been premiered by the ensemble. Rehearsals are Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
MUS 2777. Ensemble Performance.
Ensemble Performance is for instrumentalists who play orchestral instruments or piano and would like to play in chamber ensembles and the chamber orchestra. Participants (except pianists) must reserve Sunday evenings from 7:00 p.m. until 8:55 p.m., and chamber ensemble coachings will be scheduled on an individual basis.
MUS 2781. Afro-Latin Music Ensemble.
Performs the musical forms of black populations in Latin America and the Caribbean, with particular emphasis on the marimba and drumming traditions of Afro-Colombians. May also include Afro-Cuban, Afro-Peruvian, Afro-Puerto Rican, Afro-Dominican, and other musics. Students learn and perform multiple instruments, drumming, singing, and dance, culminating in a concert every semester. Occasional texts and audiovisual materials supplement musical learning by offering cultural and aesthetic contextualization. Rehearsals are Monday and Wednesday evenings.
MUS 2783. Jazz Ensembles.
Groups of four to six students, formed by audition, and performing both modern and classic standards, plus some original compositions by students and faculty. They perform one concert a semester on campus, and appear occasionally in other venues. Rehearsals are arranged to suit the players’ and coach’s schedules.
MUS 2805. Individual Performance Studies.
MUS 2806. Individual Performance Studies.
MUS 2807. Individual Performance Studies.
MUS 2808. Individual Performance Studies.
MUS 2809. Individual Performance Studies.
MUS 3101. Sound Travels: From Mozart to MP3.
Traces histories of the political economy of music. Examines the politics, economics, ethics, and senses of belonging that accompany global and transcultural networks of musical exchange along paths of conquest, commerce, religion, and technological change. Case studies may include Orientalist operas, colonial African and Asian brass bands, music and pilgrimage, African musics in 17th seventeenth-century Portugal, Scottish music in Meiji Japan, karaoke in the Vietnamese diaspora, music in Second Life, crooners and the massification of intimacy, the ethics of world music sampling, questions of agency and homogenization in the culture industry, the economics of file sharing, and sound as property in copyright law from the player piano to the Wacky Quacker soundmark case.
MUS 3805. Advanced Individual Performance Studies.
MUS 3806. Advanced Individual Performance Studies.
MUS 3807. Advanced Individual Performance Studies.