Musicology

Musicology Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Spring 2018
Fall 2017
Spring 2017
Fall 2016
Older Courses


Spring 2018

MUY 502 Introduction to Ethnomusicology
j Kyker

Introduction to Ethnomusicology: This course charts the genealogies of thought over the last several centuries that inform our contemporary understanding of ethnomusicology. It will provide a historical overview of the field, highlighting many of the important figures and works that have marked the discipline’s history and have led to shifts in the way ethnomusicologists understand the relationship of music, society, and culture. We will explore what it is that an ethnomusicologist does (or once did) by studying a variety of approaches to fieldwork methods and ethnographic representation. We will explore several theoretical orientations—drawing from the disciplines of anthropology, linguistics, performance theory, media studies, and philosophy—that inform the work of past and present ethnomusicologists, and introduce a range of musical styles, practices, and ways of thinking about sound in different parts of the world through the study of select musical ethnographies.

 MUY592 Romanticism Workshop
H Watkins

This course traces the philosophical, political, and aesthetic shift from Enlightenment to Romantic values that took place between the 1770s and the mid 1800s.  We will engage in in-depth study of primary sources such as the writings of Rousseau, the plays of Schiller, and the criticism of E. T. A. Hoffmann; the string quartets, symphonies, and vocal works of composers including Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, and Wagner; and secondary sources drawn from musicology, music theory, and intellectual history.  The class will be organized as a workshop in which students choose items for study from a general bibliography and works list, and then plan and lead portions of the seminar devoted to their material of choice.  In addition to these presentations, students will write a substantial final research paper building on the entire semester’s work.

MUY592 Media, Sound, Culture, Music
D Mueller

This class is a critical exploration of scholarship on the aesthetics, history, politics, and poetics of sonic media in relation to music. Although we will read broadly in media, sound, and cultural studies, music will be our common thread as a means of engaging with various scholarly conversations about mediation and circulation; about performance and sonic experimentation; about performing bodies and voices; about mobility, disability, and labor; about senses and subjectivity; about cultural power and registers of representation; and about race and gender. Focusing on the entwined nature of media and sound in the Edison era, this seminar will equip scholars with ways of listening to and through media. Through reading, writing, and discussion, participants will also engage with theoretical tools that will allow them to understand media as a category of analysis for music research.

 

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Fall 2017

MUY501 Introduction to Musicology
M Esse

This course will provide an introduction to the scope, bibliography, and prominent methodologies of musicology. To that end, it will explore the history and development of the discipline, focusing especially on the current trends and their background: provide a practical introduction to the diverse sources of information in the field; and give experience employing solid research and writing strategies.

MUY591 Music and the Cold War
L Jakelski

This course examines the compositional trends, aesthetic debates, and music institutions that were implicated in the Cold War, a conflict that was as cultural as it was political. Beginning in the late 1940s, the United States and the Soviet Union strove to prove their supremacy in contests of cultural prowess; these struggles impacted artistic policy and musical life in the two superpowers as well as the regions that lay within their competing spheres of influence. We will investigate musical life during the Cold War from several distinct geopolitical vantage points. We will examine primary sources, read recent scholarship, and discuss music that either provoked significant critical reactions or sheds light on the politicization of music in the mid-twentieth century. Our main task will be to think about how local concerns intersected with the Cold War’s broader issues.

MUY591 Critical Approaches to South Asian Musics
A Desai-Stephens

This course will offer an introduction to South Asian musical practices and cultures with attention to recent important theoretical and conceptual issues in the field. Drawing on texts from ethnomusicology and musicology, anthropology and history, we will investigate South Asian musics in relation to critical analytical frameworks such as colonialism and post-coloniality, gender and respectability, media and technology, Hindu-Muslim relations, and and the construction of the nation. At the same time, we will deploy close listening and experiential practice to gain insight into and familiarity with an array of musical genres and practices, including Hindustani and Karnatic “classical” musics, Hindi film song, Sufi music, Northeastern folk music, and more. This course thus provides a deeper understanding of South Asian music as a simultaneously sonic, aesthetic, social, and political phenomenon.

 

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Spring 2017

MUY 502 Introduction to Ethnomusicology
J Kyker

Introduction to Ethnomusicology: This course charts the genealogies of thought over the last several centuries that inform our contemporary understanding of ethnomusicology. It will provide a historical overview of the field, highlighting many of the important figures and works that have marked the discipline’s history and have led to shifts in the way ethnomusicologists understand the relationship of music, society, and culture. We will explore what it is that an ethnomusicologist does (or once did) by studying a variety of approaches to fieldwork methods and ethnographic representation. We will explore several theoretical orientations—drawing from the disciplines of anthropology, linguistics, performance theory, media studies, and philosophy—that inform the work of past and present ethnomusicologists, and introduce a range of musical styles, practices, and ways of thinking about sound in different parts of the world through the study of select musical ethnographies.

MUY 592 Pierre de la Rue and His World
H Meconi

An exploration of the music and world of sixteenth-century composer Pierre de la Rue, including his patrons, his contemporaries, and the manuscript complex of the Habsburg-Burgundian court that transmitted his compositions across Europe.

MUY592 Staging the Nineteenth-Century in Italian Opera
M Esse

How does Italian opera of the nineteenth century engage with key issues of the era—politics and nationalism, travel and literature, gender and the body? Through close study of works by Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, and Puccini, this course illuminates specific operatic practices by placing them in broader social contexts. In-depth examination of both individual scenes and complete operas will give students a firm grounding in verbal and musical forms, text/music relationships, and the expressive power of operatic conventions. Our exploration will include consideration of staging, reception, and how practices such as self-borrowing and singers’ interventions all contribute to the well-known fluidity of operatic works. Finally, we will consider how useful close reading of a musical text can be in a genre so dependent on convention and in which the sense of an authoritative work resides as much in the performance as in the written score.

 

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Fall 2016

MUY501 Introduction to Musicology
H Watkins

This course will provide an introduction to the scope, bibliography, and prominent methodologies of musicology. To that end, it will explore the history and development of the discipline, focusing especially on the current trends and their background: provide a practical introduction to the diverse sources of information in the field; and give experience employing solid research and writing strategies.

MUY591 Monteverdi to Rossi
R Freitas

This seminar will consider Italian vocal chamber music from roughly 1600 to 1660, covering the period from Monteverdi’s mature madrigal books through the canzonettas and cantatas of Luigi Rossi (and contemporaries). We will focus especially on the relationships between music and poetry in this period, identifying conventions as well as meaningful disruptions. We will also study the sources of this repertoire (print and manuscript), how the various genres might have been performed, how they could have signified culturally and politically, and how they may have related to other artistic discourses. We will explore the extensive secondary literature surrounding Monteverdi and then push ahead into the much less studied cantata repertoire. Everyone will complete a short editing project and a significant final paper.

MUY591 Music of the Hours
M Anderson

One of the most heavily transmitted musical events from the Middle Ages – the Liturgy of the Hours (or Divine Office) – is one of least studied in music history. Each day and night of the year, monastic institutions, cathedrals, and court chapels of the Latin West performed services commemorating a range of devotions. By the late Middle Ages, the owner of a “book of hours” could imitate privately the performance of liturgies using a guided prayer with cues for song. The course will begin with a chant “boot camp,” including the Divine Office, before centering on the latent musical qualities of books of hours in the absence of notation. Students who take this course will be able to identify the wide range of music heard across the liturgical day, situate this music in a ritual context, decipher medieval chant manuscripts and books of hours that reveal offices, and articulate scholarly issues around the Divine Office repertory.

 

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