Past Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Spring 2015
Fall 2014
Current Courses


Spring 2015

MUY 502 Introduction to Ethnomusicology
E. Koskoff

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 19c Opera: Italy and Beyond
R. Locke

This seminar examines the major composers of 19th-c. Italian opera (Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini, Verdi) and the stylistic and structural conventions that they established, elaborated, exploited, and, over the passing decades, sometimes resisted. Important consideration is given to the structures of operatic life: impresarios; opera houses and seasons; types of singers and roles; and the power of performers, critics, publishers, and audience members and historians/ commentators (a work’s “receivers”) to shape a work and, over time, re-shape it and determine its enduring impact. One important aspect to be explored is the increasing impact of stylistic and aesthetic forces from outside of the primo Ottocento tradition, not least French Grand Opera, with its emphasis on local (and period) color, hence also on exotic style markers (e.g., in Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine and Verdi’s Aida).

MUY 592 Musical Diasporas in the United States
E. Koskoff

What happens to musics and their meanings when social groups move from their homelands (voluntarily or involuntarily) and create new musical communities elsewhere? How do the historical circumstances of their movement and resettlement affect both traditional and new musical practices? How can new scholarship on globalization, transmigration, and diasporic communities help us understand this often circuitous and complicated process? This course examines musical diasporas within the United States (both contemporary and historical), focusing on social and musical communities that are simultaneously connected to a homeland and to creating new American identities. In addition to weekly readings, students will develop a semester-long research or fieldwork project addressing these issues.

[return to top]


Fall 2014

MUY 590 Introduction to Musicology
L. Jakelski

The goal of this course is to provide a detailed survey of musicological methodologies, present and past. After exploring the origins of musicology as a discipline, we will consider a broad range of scholarly approaches to and critical studies of music. Students will intervene in the ongoing arguments by writing a five-page paper every week that responds to and critiques the readings.

MUY 591 Music of Marian Devotion
M. Anderson

Music of Marian Devotion: This course acquaints students with the large repertory of late-medieval and early Renaissance music for the Virgin Mary, along with scholarship on Marian devotion from this period. It responds to the high status of the Mary in the devotional lives of late-medieval Christians. The course traces the pervasive phenomenon of Marian devotion in music from the eleventh to the sixteenth century, chiefly through the lens of musicological scholarship of the past two decades. Students will be introduced to Mariology through a variety of perspectives (e.g. in repertories, festal commemorations, sources, institutions, patronage, visual culture, and prayer). A significant part of the course will explore the convergence of sacred and secular topoi in musical expressions to the Virgin. Each student will lead two source presentations, and a substantial research paper will be due at the end of the term.

MUY 591 Opera in 17th-Century Venice
R. Freitas

In this seminar we will explore the genre of opera as it was practiced in Venice in the seventeenth century. This period—covering the output of Monteverdi and Cavalli, among others—was crucial for the genre and generated many of the traditions recognizable in opera today. We will not only study the genre itself—its librettos and the musical responses of its composers—but will also consider the role of opera in contemporary Venetian society. Indeed, the investigation of several non-musical institutions will be essential. Accordingly, we will employ a variety of methodological approaches, from the study of sources to the investigation of performance practices to the application of feminist and other cultural criticisms.

[return to top]

Spring 2014

MUY 502  Introduction to Ethnomusicology
J. Kyker

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  Improvisation in the Nineteenth Century
M. Esse

This course explores improvisational practice and the discourses surrounding it throughout the long nineteenth century. Many of the important shifts in musical culture during this period—including the emergence of the work concept and the increasing importance of the score as object of reverence—have been invoked to explain improvisation’s decline or marginalization by the turn of the twentieth century.  We will critically evaluate such broad changes, asking whether they truly did act to quash improvisation and if so, how.  Our work will be framed by recent theories of improvisation that move beyond the musical scene and seek to trace improvisation’s importance in wider cultural contexts.

MUY 592  Mode in Balinese Music
E. Koskoff

Until fifty years ago, the concept of mode (pathet) did not exist in Balinese music. This concept, largely borrowed from Javanese music discourses of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, became central to the pedagogy of music in the national music high schools and conservatories that sprouted up throughout Indonesia in the 1960s. What, exactly is mode, and how does it apply to Balinese music and social structures? This course will examine mode as a general process and question whether or not this form of musical structure and composition applies specifically to Balinese music. Students will be asked to transcribe, analyze, and write about a variety of Balinese musics played by five- and seven-tone ensembles, as well as by the unique four-tone gamelan angklung cremation ensemble.

[return to top]


Fall 2013

MUY 590  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.

MUY 591  Hildegard of Bingen
H. Meconi

The course examines the music of twelfth-century composer, poet, saint, and doctor of the church Hildegard von Bingen by placing it within the context of her biography and her holistic creativity in areas such as theology, hagiography, natural science, medicine, language, and letters. The course will also explore aspects of notation, transmission, performance practice, chronology, and differing interpretations of the surviving—often contradictory—evidence concerning her biography and output.

MUY 591  Music and the Cold War
L. Jakelski

Music was played for high stakes in the Cold War. Beginning in the late 1940s, the United States and the Soviet Union strove to prove their supremacy in contests of cultural prowess. The struggle between the two great powers of the Cold War likewise impacted cultural policy and musical life in the nations that lay within their competing spheres of influence. This course will examine the compositional trends, artistic debates, and musical institutions that arose in response to the era’s global political conflict. We will view the Cold War from a variety of vantage points, including Europe, North America, and the Global South; we will examine primary sources, read recent scholarly work on the cultural aspects of the Cold War, and discuss selected pieces of music (including works by Babbitt, Copland, Shostakovich, Schnittke, Boulez, Eisler, Lutosławski, Penderecki, Nono, Ligeti and Kurtág).

[return to top]


Spring 2013

MUY 502  Introduction to Ethnomusicology
J. Kyker

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  Eighteenth-Century Dramma per musica
C. Bazler

This seminar will focus on the Italian dramma per musica from the time of its early emergence during the 1690s through the last decades of the eighteenth century. Over the semester we will examine in great detail the genre’s defining musical and dramatic conventions, the changes brought about by major reform movements of this period, and the often tenuous relationship between eighteenth-century dramatic theory and contemporary operatic practice. Readings and class discussions will cover such topics as the social function of opera in Italy, the performance and reception of opera abroad, and the problems of genre and periodization posed by the rise of the galant style in Naples during the 1720s. Representative works by A. Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Handel, Vinci, Hasse, Traetta, Gluck, and Mozart will be examined.

MUY 592  Music and the Exotic from the Renaissance to Today
R. Locke

Portrayal of exotic places, peoples, and cultures—including exotic musical styles—has been a central (but often misunderstood) shaping factor in Western music. This course explores a variety of ways in which composers have engaged in musical exoticism despite the fact that music—unlike painting or the novel—is not inherently representational. Important trends are noted and case studies examined: from British broadside ballads about Native Americans, French ballets de cour featuring “Chinese” dancers, Handel’s and Rameau’s Byzantine and Incan tyrants, Mozart’s “Rondo alla turca,” Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade; to Debussy’s “Pagodes,” Bernstein’s West Side Story, and Tan Dun’s culture-bridging Symphony 1997: Heaven, Earth, Man. One extended unit of the course will focus on the years 1500-1800, i.e., the period ending where discussions of musical exoticism usually begin: with the “alla turca” craze.

[return to top]


Fall 2012

MUY 590 Introduction to Musicology
H. Watkins

The goal of this course is to provide a detailed survey of musicological methodologies, present and past. After exploring the origins of musicology as a discipline, we will consider a broad range of scholarly approaches to and critical studies of music. Students will intervene in the ongoing arguments by writing a five-page paper every week that responds to and critiques the readings.

MUY 590 Debussy
H. Watkins

This course pairs in-depth study of Debussy’s music with consideration of developments in art, literature, and social relations in late nineteenth- and early twentieth century France. The class will explore Debussy’s relation to both Wagner and fin-de-siècle French composers. Vocal, piano, and orchestral music will be emphasized. Students should be prepared to engage in significant musical analysis. In-class presentations, short papers, a final presentation, and a final research paper will be required.

MUY 590 Music of Marian Devotion
M. Anderson

It is difficult to overestimate the status of the Virgin Mary in the devotional lives of late-medieval Christians. Believers sought the unparalleled intercession of Jesus’s mother in countless ways, including through prayer, visual culture, literature, and music. This course will probe the pervasive phenomenon of Marian devotion in music from the eleventh to the sixteenth century, chiefly through the lens of musicological scholarship of the past two decades. Students will be introduced to Mariology through a variety of perspectives (e.g. in repertories, festal commemorations, sources, institutions, and patronage). A significant part of the course will explore the convergence of sacred and secular topoi in musical expressions to the Virgin. The course requires a few student-led presentations, and a substantial term paper will be due at the end of the term. Some knowledge of Latin or French is helpful, but not mandatory.

MHS 590 Choreographers and Composers
K. Teal

In this course, we will consider the relationship between music and movement through the lens of significant collaborative dance pieces from the 19th and 20th centuries. Beginning with an introduction to Romantic ballet, we will also consider the central place of Tchaikovsky’s works in the classical ballet canon, the daring experiments in sound and movement that brought attention to the Parisian Ballets Russes in the early 20th century, the origins of modern dance, and ongoing choreographer/composer relationships like those between Balanchine and Stravinsky and Cunningham and Cage. One short paper and a longer final research paper and presentation will be required.

MHS 590 Mass: Chant to Stravinsky
P. Macey

The Mass has served over a period of 2,000 years as a central rite of sacrifice in the Christian tradition, and music plays a crucial role. The course will examine early chants for Christmas and the Requiem, and polyphonic settings by Leonin and Perotin, Machaut, Josquin, Palestrina and Monteverdi. Attention then turns to the Baroque concerted Mass and Bach’s Mass in B-Minor, as well as the symphonic Masses of Haydn and Beethoven. Aspects such as use of cantus firmus and musical borrowing, as well as religious function and meaning are explored. For the 20th century, Stravinsky’s Mass forms the focus of discussion. Students prepare a paper and make a class presentation on a particular work or composer, as well as several short written projects during the semester.

[return to top]


Spring 2012

MUY 590 Introduction to Ethnomusicology
E. Koskoff

This course offers a historiography of ethnomusicology, charting the genealogies of thought over the last several centuries that form our contemporary understanding of the discipline. It will provide a historical overview of the field of ethnomusicology, highlighting many of the seminal 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 590 Music in Baroque Rome
R. Freitas

The seminar will focus on the music and culture of Rome from roughly 1623 to 1676 (covering the reigns of Urban VIII to Clement X). This period and place represent the heart of the baroque, as defined by most artistic and cultural historians (outside music). We will study recent work on the nature of “baroque culture,” investigate the reigning aesthetics of the period, and become familiar with the major patrons and institutions in the city. All such “interdisciplinary” study will then be brought to bear on the prominent musical genres of baroque Rome, including at least opera, cantata, and oratorio; indeed, we will closely investigate a number of central works. The seminar will involve a significant research project.

MUY 590 Contemporary Aesthetics
H. Watkins

This course examines significant contributions to the discourse of musical aesthetics ranging from the late eighteenth century to the present. Careful readings of Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer will provide the background for the study of later figures including Adorno, Jankélévitch, Nancy, Badiou, and Žižek. Themes to be considered include the historical, social, and economic dimensions of aesthetic discourse; current possibilities for the intersection of aesthetics, musicology, and music theory; and music’s relation to philosophical concepts of time and space. Several short papers/presentations and a final research paper will be required.

MHS 590 Bach Cantatas and Chorales
D. Zager

Bach’s sacred cantatas and organ chorale preludes found their functional place in the liturgy (Gottesdienst) of eighteenth-century Germany. This course explores various dimensions of those two genres—musical styles, liturgical function, reception by listening congregants, and questions of theological meaning. Certain topics will receive particular emphasis: the early cantatas and chorale preludes, viewed in part from the perspective of Georg Böhm’s and Dieterich Buxtehude’s works in those genres; the second cycle (Jahrgang) of Leipzig cantatas (1724–1725), which emphasizes the chorale; and part III of the Clavier-Übung (1739), one of Bach’s few published works, which also takes as its point of departure the chorale tradition.

MHS 590 Singers in 19th Century Opera
M. Esse

Scholars often depict the history of nineteenth-century opera as a struggle for control between singers and composers. In this tale, composers, with increasing success, transform or discard supposedly worn-out conventions (such as the cabaletta) because they emphasize vocal display at the expense of realism and dramatic action. This course explores a possible revision to the story by placing stylistic innovation in the larger context of changing singing styles and new models of vocal production. We will gain a broader view of such phenomena as the decline of trousered sopranos and the rise of trumpeting tenors by exploring how scientific studies of the human voice (exemplified in Manuel Garcia Jr.’s treatise) affected both vocal pedagogy and views of the “natural” relationship between voice and gender. Most importantly, instead of pitting singers against composers, we will examine their working relationships in detail in an effort to understand nineteenth-century opera as a collaborative affair that emerges through specific performance practices as well as musical and scenic conventions.

MHS 590 Debussy
H. Watkins

This course pairs in-depth study of Debussy’s music with consideration of developments in art, literature, and social relations in late nineteenth- and early twentieth century France. The class will explore Debussy’s relation to both Wagner and fin-de-siècle French composers. Vocal, piano, and orchestral music will be emphasized. Students should be prepared to engage in significant musical analysis. In-class presentations, short papers, a final presentation, and a final research paper will be required.

MHS 590 Ellington’s Blues Pieces
W. Dobbins

Ellington’s Blues Pieces: The course will focus on compositions of Duke Ellington from the 1920s through the early 1970s which are either based on, or include as part of a larger formal structure, some variant of the the twelve-bar blues form. Each student will select a particular Ellington work to analyze, present to the class, and document in a paper at the end of the semester.

MHS 590 Listening To Popular Music
J. Kyker

Profoundly multivalent, musical sound offers multiple interpretive possibilities for audiences, requiring them to navigate ambivalent and potentially contradictory shades of meaning. While listening constitutes a dominant mode of sonic engagement for many individuals around the world, it has not constituted a major area of inquiry within the field of musical ethnography, which has focused primarily on issues of active musical performance, rather than reception. In this course, we will address the many theoretical and methodological challenges of conducting research on musical listening. Focusing primarily on the reception of mediated, commercial, and popular music, we will examine some of the varied trajectories taken by musical sound.

[return to top]


Fall 2011

MUY 590 Introduction to Musicology
M. Esse

The goal of this course is to provide a detailed survey of musicological methodologies, present and past. After exploring the origins of musicology as a discipline, we will consider a broad range of scholarly approaches to and critical studies of music. Students will intervene in the ongoing arguments by writing a five-page paper every week that responds to and critiques the readings.

MUY 590 The Motet 1470-1550
P. Macey

The composition of motets grew exponentially in the late 15th and 16th centuries, and this seminar will examine cultural contexts that spurred this growth, as well as recently developed analytical approaches. Manuscript anthologies of motets served the gift economy, and the devotional practices of patrons played a role in the development of the genre. Did humanist thinking affect the development of the motet? What was the role of rhetoric? We will work with representative motets by Josquin, Obrecht, Isaac, and Mouton, as well as motets by members of the subsequent generation, including Verdelot, Gombert, Clemens non Papa, and Willaert.

MUY 590 Music And The Cold War
L. Jakelski

Music was played for high stakes in the Cold War. Beginning in the late 1940s, the United States and the Soviet Union strove to prove their supremacy in contests of cultural prowess. The struggle between the two great powers of the Cold War likewise impacted cultural policy and musical life in the nations that lay within their competing spheres of influence. This course will examine the compositional trends, artistic debates, and musical institutions that arose in response to the era’s global political conflict. We will move through a series of units grounded in distinct geographical locations; stops on our itinerary will include New York, Moscow, Paris, Darmstadt, East and West Berlin, Budapest, and Warsaw. At each destination, we will examine primary sources, read recent scholarly work on the cultural aspects of the Cold War, and discuss selected pieces of music (including works by Babbitt, Copland, Shostakovich, Schnittke, Boulez, Eisler, Lutosławski, Penderecki, Nono, Ligeti and Kurtág). Throughout the course, we will think about how local concerns at each destination intersected with the broad issues of the Cold War. We will also consider points of similarity among the places we study, investigating how music created ties that bound together East and West during this period, as well as reinforcing the divisions that separated them. Seminar assignments will include weekly readings, listening, and score study; a final research paper/presentation; and regular presentations to facilitate class discussion.

MHS 590 Romantic Music and Critics
H. Watkins

This course seeks to clarify the nature of German Romanticism as a musical and cultural phenomenon through close study of scores and contemporary writings on music. Rather than taking our bearings solely from musical works, we will consider how nineteenth-century music criticism illuminates how people listened to music and what they listened for. Readings will illustrate the broad spectrum of aesthetic, moral, and historical concerns that made up the Romantic movement. Among our aims will be to understand how Romantic notions of nature, subjectivity, meaning, and nationhood were thought to resonate in music. Figures for discussion include Wackenroder, Hoffmann, Hegel, Beethoven, Schumann, Berlioz, Wagner, and others. Periodic in-class presentations, a final extended presentation, and a final paper are required.

MHS 590 Improvising Musician
E. Koskoff

Improvisation, from simple ornamentation to “composition-in-performance” is a process that affects many world musics. The class will examine various musical traditions, such as Baroque keyboard genres, European vocal epics, Indian ragas, Persian/Iranian dastgahs, Central Javanese shadow puppet plays, and Japanese shakuhachi traditions focusing on the structure of improvisational grammars and how these are realized in performance. Various notation systems will be examined in relation to what is “set” and what is “added” to create an elegant performance. Further, improvisation as a process will be examined in light of more general beliefs concerning music as a form of communication and social interaction. Students will be asked to listen to, transcribe, and analyze various world music performances that involve improvisation and to read relevant literature from both western and non-western sources. No previous knowledge of or ability to improvise is required.

MHS 590 East-Central Europe 20th Century
L. Jakelski

From Witold Lutosławski to Arvo Pärt, Sofia Gubaidulina to György Kurtág East-Central Europe witnessed an extraordinary flowering of compositional activity during the late twentieth century. This course offers a comparative study of music in Poland, Hungary, and Russia from the 1950s to the present day. Our primary task is to gain a thorough understanding of a diverse body of repertoire, by composers both familiar and relatively unknown. We will also consider the social and cultural contexts in which this music has been written, performed, and made meaningful. On the broadest level, we will explore questions of local, regional, and international identity; changing patterns of institutional support; and the impact of socialism (and post-socialist transformations) on the arts. Assignments will include weekly readings, listening, and score study; brief in-class presentation; and final paper/presentation.

MHS 590 German Lied
J. Thym

The seminar sets out to explore text-music relations in German Lieder of the nineteenth century, more specifically relations between poetic and musical structure. Questions of how poetic structure influences musical settings, how the musical form realizes or contradicts the poetic structure, and how a text is interpreted through music will be central for seminar discussions. The goal of the course is to gain a deeper understanding of poetic forms and their musical settings in the nineteenth century as well as some familiarity with the most recent scholarly literature. Even though not exclusively focused on matters of performance practice, the seminar by its very nature will address issues of analysis and performance.

MHS 590 Voice and Spectacle 20th Century
M. Esse

This course will explore the productive intersection between vocal expression and extravagant visual display in the twentieth century through the lens of film and performance theory. A major focus will be on film and opera, but we will range widely across multiple genres in order to move beyond the “high-low” split and talk across different performance contexts. We will pay particular attention to vocal spectacles that mix the live and the recorded, from early silent film’s fascination with opera to multimedia works and rock concerts.

MHS 590 Handel’s Italian Vocal Music
R. Freitas

From his arrival in Italy in 1706 to his abandonment of opera ca. 1740, George Frideric Handel’s Italian vocal music—primarily operas and cantatas—stood at the center of his musical efforts. Over the last twenty years or so, both performers and scholars have increasingly engaged them. Now, as Handel’s operas are staged ever more frequently, major new books by Winton Dean and Ellen Harris have further enriched the discourse. In the seminar, we will consider Handel’s operas and cantatas from multiple perspectives, highlighting especially their status as literary, musical, and cultural practices. We will also consider the relevant performance techniques of the era. This approach should help both to comprehend how these works communicated to their original audiences and to suggest ways they might continue to communicate today. A final research project, presented to the seminar, will be required. talk across different performance contexts. We will pay particular attention to vocal spectacles that mix the live and the recorded, from early silent film’s fascination with opera to multimedia works and rock concerts.

[return to top]


Spring 2011

MUY 590 Introduction to Ethnomusiciology
E. Koskoff

Introduces the basic readings, history, and methods of ethnomusicology. Course work will include class readings, discussions, transcription projects, and a semester-long fieldwork project undertaken in the Rochester area. Readings will be taken primarily from the fields of ethnomusicology, anthropology, and cultural studies.

MUY 590 Classicism, Romanticism, and Opera
M. Esse

Most accounts of nineteenth-century Italian opera stress the genre’s indebtedness to romanticism; this course will also explore its equally strong tendency toward neoclassicism. Whether it is manifest in plots drawn from ancient Greece or in critical debates about ideals of performance, the operatic scene in Italy often treats the classic and the romantic as two sides of the same coin. We will investigate the popularity of neoclassical subjects (such as La Vestale and Medea) and the links between neoclassical ideals and salon culture. We will also explore places (such as Naples) where neoclassicism in the arts thrived, and learn how beliefs about the connections between poetic and musical inspiration influenced improvisational and compositional practice. Given the broad applicability of the issues we will explore in the course, students are welcome to craft final research projects focusing on any aspect of the nexus of romanticism and classicism in different regions or musical traditions. Workload: Weekly readings, brief mid-term essay, final research project.

MUY 590 Exoticism and National Styles
R. Locke

Portrayal of exotic places, peoples, and cultures—including exotic musical styles—has been a central (but often misunderstood) shaping factor in Western music. This course explores a variety of ways in which composers have engaged in musical exoticism despite the fact that music—unlike painting or the novel—is not inherently representational. Important trends are noted, and case studies examined: from Handel’s and Rameau’s Byzantine and Incan tyrants, Mozart’s “Rondo alla turca,” Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade; to Debussy’s “Pagodes,” Bernstein’s West Side Story, and Tan Dun’s culture-bridging Symphony 1997: Heaven, Earth, Man. One extended unit of the course will focus on the years 1500-1800, i.e., the period ending where discussions of musical exoticism usually begin: with the “alla turca” craze. Major assignments: two five-page papers, some short written work, and a major term paper.

MHS 590 Baroque Music and Dance
A. Dean

Numerous intersections occur between music and dance in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, and these will be explored in the course. Students will develop a method for interpreting the works of J.S Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi according to their roots in the dance styles common to the seventeenth century. As part of this investigation students will also acquire a familiarity with earlier French and Italian instrumental genres, especially suites and partitas for lute, keyboard, and string ensemble. Students will be responsible for readings, individual presentations, score study, and one large research paper/presentation.

MHS 590 19th Century Performance Practice
R. Freitas

This seminar will explore the nature of performance and performance style in the nineteenth century, a new but burgeoning field of inquiry. We will investigate not only how musicians played and sang in different times and places, but also in what performance contexts. In addition to recently published studies, we will work with primary treatises (on various instruments and the voice) and increasingly available early recordings. This class will offer an opportunity not only for original research, but also for free experimentation with what can sometimes seem a remarkably foreign performance tradition. A final project, presented to the seminar, will be required.

MHS 590 I Got Rhythm
W. Dobbins

The course will focus on the jazz compositions and classic improvisations that are based on the harmonic progression of the popular Gershwin standard, I Got Rhythm. In addition to hearing, analyzing and discussing several landmark tunes and solos selected by the instructor, students will select a tune and an improvised solo from which it derives to transcribe from the recording, present to the class and document in an essay/analysis to be completed during the semester. The course is open to DMA/JCM majors, and is available to other DMA students with the instructor’s permission. A strong background in tonal music theory is essential for this course.

MHS 590 19th Century Opera: Italy and Beyond
R. Locke

Italian opera was a core international genre in the 19th century, as it had been in the two previous centuries. This seminar examines the major composers (Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini, Verdi) and the stylistic and structural conventions that they established, elaborated, and, in various ways, exploited and, over the passing decades, sometimes resisted. Attention will be given also to how opera composers in other countries negotiated the tensions between their own national operatic traditions and the Italian manner—composers such as Schubert, Weber, Meyerbeer, Auber, Berlioz, Glinka, Balfe, Gounod, Wagner, Bizet; post-Verdians such as Massenet, Puccini, and the verismo composers; or the operatic parodies in Offenbach or in Gilbert and Sullivan. (Some of these will be options for student presentations and papers.) The course will involve a midterm exam, several short written assignments, and a term paper. Two major non-Italian works to be considered are Wagner’s Die Walküre (receiving a new production in this year’s Met Opera season) and Massenet’s Manon (to be performed by Eastman Opera Theater, March 31-April 3).

MHS 590  Music, Gender and the Body
E. Koskoff

What, exactly, is gender? How does one’s historical and geographic “place” help shape and define gender? How is one’s gender performed in music through the body and in interaction with other bodies? This course examines ways in which various cultures construct notions of gender and body and how these are both reflected in and affect the music and musical practices of both men and women. Students will examine a wide range of theories about gender and the body and how they may be applied to western and non-western musical systems, such as western classical and popular music, Indian religious music, Korean shaman traditions, and Indonesian court music. Readings will be drawn from anthropology, literary criticism, musicology, and popular music studies. Other assignments will include weekly discussions, a midterm exam and a final paper.

MHS 590  Wagner and the 19th Century
C. Applegate

This course will focus on Richard Wagner, his life, his art, and his relations with his contemporaries and theirs with him. In methodological terms, we will be exploring the variety of ways that one can place an artist in his/her political and cultural context—some of which tend towards the reductionist (the artist as a mere reflection of his/her times) and others of which tend in the opposite direction, towards regarding the artist as the shaper and leader of all he surveys. We will look at RW and revolution, RW and gender relations, RW and the cultural marketplace, RW and nationality, RW and race, RW and the non-musical arts, among other topics. Finally, we will spend the final weeks of the course considering his legacy in the twentieth century. The readings consist of biographical material on Wagner, critical commentary on Wagner (including that of contemporaries), Wagner’s own writings, and the musical dramas themselves. Since the instructor is a historian and not a musicologist, the readings and class discussions will not rely much on music analysis, except what students themselves bring to the table. Course requirements include readings and a choice between three 7-10 page papers or one longer research paper. Celia Applegate is professor in the History Department at the University of Rochester.

[return to top]


Fall 2010

MUY 590 Introduction to Musicology
M. Esse

The goal of this course is to provide a detailed survey of musicological methodologies, present and past. After exploring the origins of musicology as a discipline, we will consider a broad range of scholarly approaches to and critical studies of music. Students will intervene in the ongoing arguments by writing a five-page paper every week that responds to and critiques the readings.

MUY 590  Chansonniers
H. Meconi

Collections of French secular music from the Middle Ages and Renaissance, known as chansonniers, represent some of the most fascinating manuscripts and prints of the time period. The French chanson is the most popular secular genre surviving from the period before the sixteenth century, making the international transmission of this music of particular importance. The class will examine both the music and texts contained in chansonniers as well as the social roles that these objects—often truly luxurious collections—played in the society that gave birth to them.

MUY 590  Mode in Balinese Music
E. Koskoff

Until fifty years ago, the concept of mode (pathet) did not exist in Balinese music. This concept, largely borrowed from Javanese music discourses of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, became central to the pedagogy of music in the national music high schools and conservatories that sprouted up throughout Indonesia in the 1960s. What, exactly, is mode, and how does it apply to Balinese music and social structures? This course will examine mode as a general process and question whether or not this form of musical generation applies specifically to Balinese music. Students will be asked to transcribe, analyze and write about a variety of Balinese musics played by five- and seven-tone ensembles, as well as by the unique four-tone gamelan angklung cremation ensemble.

MHS 590  Music and Politics
L. Jakelski

How have musical works, compositional techniques, and performance practices contributed to the creation of national identities? In what ways has music been used to support political regimes, and how has it served as a vehicle for political protest? What roles has music played in periods of war and political upheaval? This course will probe the frequently messy intersections between music and politics in Europe and the United States from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. Our primary tasks are to listen critically to a broad repertoire, analyze primary source readings, and engage with recent musicological writings to establish an understanding of how music has influenced—and been influenced by—political contexts in the past. We will then use this understanding as a framework for considering relationships between music and politics in the post-9/11 United States. Assignments will include weekly readings, listening, and score study; a few short papers; and final paper/presentation.

MHS 590  Mass: Chant to Stravinsky
P. Macey

The Mass has served over a period of 2,000 years as a central rite of sacrifice in the Christian tradition, and music plays a crucial role. The course will examine early chants for Christmas and the Requiem, and polyphonic settings by Leonin and Perotin, Machaut, Josquin, Palestrina and Monteverdi. Attention then turns to the Baroque concerted Mass and Bach’s Mass in B-Minor, as well as the symphonic Masses of Haydn and Beethoven. Aspects such as use of cantus firmus and musical borrowing, as well as religious function and meaning are explored. For the 20th century, Stravinsky’s Mass forms the focus of discussion. Students prepare a paper on a particular work or composer, as well as several short written projects during the semester.

MHS 590 Singers in 19th Century Opera
M. Esse

Scholars often depict the history of nineteenth-century opera as a struggle for control between singers and composers. In these accounts, composers transform or discard supposedly worn-out conventions (such as the cabaletta) because they emphasize vocal display at the expense of realism and dramatic action. This course explores a possible revision to the story by placing stylistic innovation in the larger context of changing singing styles and new models of vocal production. We will gain a broader view of such phenomena as the decline of trousered sopranos and the rise of trumpeting tenors by exploring, for example, how scientific studies of the human voice (exemplified in Manuel Garcia Jr.’s treatise) affected both vocal pedagogy and views of the “natural” relationship between voice and gender. Most importantly, instead of pitting singers against composers, we will examine their working relationships in detail in an effort to understand nineteenth-century opera as a collaborative affair that emerges through specific performance practices as well as musical and scenic conventions. Requirements: class presentations, short paper, final research project.

MHS 590 20th Century Music in Eastern Europe
L. Jakelski

From Witold Lutosławski to Arvo Pärt, Sofia Gubaidulina to György Kurtág—East-Central Europe witnessed an extraordinary flowering of compositional activity during the late twentieth century. This course offers a comparative study of music in Poland, Hungary, and Russia from the mid-1950s to the present day. Our primary task is to gain a thorough understanding of a diverse body of repertoire, by composers both familiar and relatively unknown. We will also consider the social and cultural contexts in which this music has been written, performed, and made meaningful. On the broadest level, we will explore questions of local, regional, and international identity; changing patterns of institutional support; and the impact of socialism (and post-socialist transformations) on the arts. Assignments will include weekly readings, listening, and score study; periodic in-class presentations; and final paper/presentation.

MHS 590 19th Century American Soundscape
M. Anderson

This course aims to chart the transformation of American musical culture in the nineteenth century. Beginning with imported European repertories, we will both incorporate and move beyond traditional art music and major composers in search of a balanced picture of musical life in the United States. Topics will include musical reform, performance culture, theatre and minstrelsy, parlor music, and works connected to the Civil War. Running as a thread through the semester— culminating in works by Charles Ives—will be the fundamental dichotomy between individual/elite musics and popular/accessible musics in the formation of American musical culture and a canon of diversity. Students will make two in-class presentations during the semester and will also be responsible for a final research project on a relevant topic.

MHS 590 Baroque Sonata and Concerto
A Dean

The sonatas and concertos of Vivaldi, J.S. Bach, and Handel are staples of the “High Baroque” concert repertory. But these canonical pieces originated in a period that is less well-known: the instrumental music of the late sixteenth and seventeenth century. This course will investigate the origins of the Baroque sonata and concerto, including the earlier genres of ricercar, canzona, and fantasia, as well as the later development of the concerto in Bologna, Venice, and Rome. The works of Frescobaldi, Marini, Corelli, and Torelli will provide a basis for analysis of the masterworks of the early eighteenth century. Coursework will involve weekly readings, musical analysis, presentations, and one large research project. Alexander Dean completed the PhD in Musicology at Eastman in 2009.

[return to top]


Spring 2010

MUY 590 Introduction to Ethnomusiciology
S. Fiol

As a historiography of ethnomusicology, the course will chart the genealogies of thought over the last several centuries that inform our contemporary understanding of the discipline. 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. Finally, we will assess challenges to the discipline, and chart a course for an ethnomusicology of the 21st century.

MUY 590 Stage to Screen
M. Esse

This course focuses on different performance spaces and aesthetics in late 19th- and early 20th-century American musical life, dealing specifically with genres and practices that unite the visual and the aural: theater, opera, melodrama, and especially film. We will be particularly concerned with exploring the negotiation between live and “mechanically reproduced” performance as film becomes the dominant form of entertainment in the U.S. Through study of incidental music for melodramas, musical (and spoken) accompaniment for silent films, and practices of opera staging we will investigate contemporary notions of presence, voice, and body as live performance was displaced in the American imagination first by the film image and later by recorded sound. Our concern will be primarily with those “messy“ years before the widespread popularity of synchronized sound“the era when the real and recorded were combined in fascinating ways.

MUY 590/592 Musical Exoticism 1500-1800
R. Locke

This course ends where discussions of musical exoticism begin: with the “alla turca” craze, to which Gluck, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven contributed, and with the growing fascination with folk music from what were often perceived as the outer edges of Europe (namely the four S’s: Scotland, Spain, Scandinavia, and the Slavic lands). Most of the semester will focus on earlier developments: 1) How composers began to write pieces in various national and ethnic styles in the 1500s and 1600s and also used music to bolster stage performances in which various exotic “foreigners” (local dancers in foreign costumes) danced and mimed. 2) The central role that exotic locales and peoples played in the development of opera in its first two centuries (1600-1800). 3) How exoticism intertwined interestingly with certain sacred genres at the time—not least because Bible tales (which were retold in oratorios by Handel and others) take place in lands far from Europe, and because the Jesuits proudly reenacted in sacred operas their extensive missionary efforts in such places as India and Japan. 4) How Venice, Paris, and London—remarkably cosmopolitan cities for their time— became central locales for the development of musico-theatrical portrayals of distant places and peoples. Coursework includes short assignments and a major term paper.

MHS 590 Handel’s Italian Vocal Music
R. Freitas

From his arrival in Italy in 1706 to his abandonment of opera ca. 1740, George Frideric Handel’s Italian vocal music—primarily operas and cantatas—stood at the center of his musical efforts. Over the last twenty years or so, both performers and scholars have increasingly engaged them. Now, as Handel’s operas are staged ever more frequently, major new books by Winton Dean and Ellen Harris have further enriched the discourse. In the seminar, we will consider Handel’s operas and cantatas from multiple perspectives, highlighting especially their status as literary, musical, and cultural practices. We will also consider the relevant performance techniques of the era. This approach should help both to comprehend how these works communicated to their original audiences and to suggest ways they might continue to communicate today. A final research project, presented to the seminar, will be required.

MHS 590 All the Things You Are
W. Dobbins

A study of the great Jerome Kern song and numerous classic jazz improvisations that are based on its melody and harmonic structure. Each student will choose an important solo by an influential jazz soloist to transcribe, analyze and present to the class. Motivic development, harmonic embellishment and the relationship between the original theme and improvised variation swill be a major topic to be researched and discussed.

MHS 590 Mozart’s Concertos
G. Wheelock

In this course we will focus on the piano concertos Mozart composed and performed in Vienna, from the early chamber settings to the fully public late works. As background to this core repertoire, we will consider Mozart’s earliest “pastiche” concertos and works of the Salzburg years. In studying the mature concertos, we will address a variety of issues, including: performance venues and set-ups; formal procedures and functions; orchestration and scoring; improvisation and performance practices, then and now; the influence of opera and dance styles; and the relation of autograph to published score. In addition to preparing weekly reading and listening assignments, students will be responsible for a brief written project as well as a final project for presentation in class.

MHS 590 Postmodernism
H. Watkins

This course examines various theories and instances of postmodernism in music, the arts, and culture at large. Beginning with select musical trends and cultural transformations dating to the 1960s, the class moves through a wide variety of music, and as far into the present as possible, in hopes of assessing the meaning and usefulness of the idea of postmodernity. In particular, we will be concerned with the degree to which postmodern characteristics of recent art, architecture, economics, and the media can also be identified in music, and what those correspondences suggest about the nature of postmodern culture in general. Periodic in-class presentations, a final extended presentation, and a final paper are required.

MHS 590 Bali Local/Global Negotiation
E. Koskoff

The island of Bali, Indonesia, is both a global tourist “paradise” and home to a long-standing local Hindu indigenous population. Musical performance provides a lens through which to see how contemporary Balinese have negotiated their local/global position. This course explores the musical fault lines between global/local and economic/political forces in Bali today, and examines music as a performance of Balinese 21st century identity. Students will be exposed to a variety of Balinese musics and will have an opportunity to learn pieces of Balinese music using the resources of the School’s gamelan, the Lila Muni. Musicology Interested DMAs may register for any of our musicology seminars (MUY 592) as a substitute for required MHS 590s. They may take these courses for three rather than four credits by registering for them as “MUY 590.” Permission of the teacher is required in all cases. Course descriptions and scheduled meeting times for MUY seminars are listed below.

[return to top]


Fall 2009

MUY 501 Introduction to Musicology
H. Watkins

The goal of this course is to provide a detailed survey of musicological methodologies, present and past. After exploring the origins of musicology as a discipline, we will consider a broad range of scholarly approaches to and critical studies of music. Students will intervene in the ongoing arguments by writing a five-page paper every week that responds to and critiques the readings.

MUY 591 Opera in 17th-C. Venice
R. Freitas

In this seminar we will explore the genre of opera as it was practiced in Venice in the seventeenth century. This period—covering the output of Monteverdi and Cavalli—was crucial for the genre and generated many of the traditions recognizable in opera today. We will not only study the genre itself—its librettos and the musical responses of its composers—but will also consider the role of opera in contemporary Venetian society. Indeed, the investigation of several non-musical institutions will be essential. Accordingly, we will employ a variety of methodological approaches, from the study of sources to the investigation of performance practices to the application of feminist and other cultural criticisms. The secondary literature in this field is rich and has further expanded in recent decades, with crucial contributions from Ellen Rosand, Wendy Heller, Jonathan and Beth Glixon, Tim Carter, and many others. The seminar will culminate in a large research project from each student.

MUY 591 Music and the Cold War
L. Jakelski

Music was played for high stakes in the Cold War. Beginning in the late 1940s, the United States and the Soviet Union strove to prove their supremacy in contests of cultural prowess. The struggle between the two great foci of the Cold War likewise impacted cultural policy and musical life in the nations that lay within their competing spheres of influence. This course will examine the compositional trends, artistic debates, and musical institutions that arose in response to the era’s global political conflict. We will move through a series of units grounded in distinct geographical locations; stops on our itinerary will include New York, Moscow, Paris, Darmstadt, East and West Berlin, Budapest, and Warsaw. At each destination, we will examine primary sources, read recent scholarly work on the cultural aspects of the Cold War, and analyze selected pieces of music (including works by Babbitt, Copland, Shostakovich, Schnittke, Boulez, Eisler, Lutosławski, Penderecki, Nono, Ligeti and Kurtág). Throughout the course, we will think about how local concerns at each destination intersected with the broad issues of the Cold War. We will also consider points of similarity among the places we study, investigating how music created ties that bound together East and West during this period, as well as reinforcing the divisions that separated them. Seminar assignments will include a final paper/presentation, short midterm paper, and regular presentations to facilitate class discussion.

MHS 590 The Improvising Musician
E. Koskoff

Improvisation, from simple ornamentation to “composition-in-performance” is a process that affects many world musics. The class will examine various musical traditions, such as Baroque keyboard genres, European vocal epics, Indian ragas, Persian/Iranian dastgahs, Central Javanese shadow puppet plays, and Japanese shakuhachi traditions focusing on the structure of improvisational grammars and how these are realized in performance. Various notation systems will be examined in relation to what is “set” and what is “added” to create an elegant performance. Further, improvisation as a process will be examined in light of more general beliefs concerning music as a form of communication and social interaction. Students will be asked to listen to, transcribe, and analyze various world music performances that involve improvisation and to read relevant literature from both western and non-western sources. No previous knowledge of or ability to improvise is required.

MHS 590 Music in the Himalayas
S. Fiol

How have the geographical conditions of the Himalayas impacted the development of musical and social life? How has the relationship to the environment contributed to the cultural isolation of groups within the region? Conversely, how has this relationship facilitated the sharing of musical forms and cultural practices across Himalayan regions, leading to the development of regionalist or nationalist movements? We will read and discuss a number of musical ethnographies set in Tibet, Nepal, North India, and Pakistan, and this will allow us to compare and contrast the cosmologies and musical practices of Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, and Sikh communities. Through reading, listening to recordings, and learning to perform on one or more instruments in a central Himalayan percussion ensemble, students will become familiar with a range of musical styles produced and consumed for devotional, commercial, and traditional purposes.

[return to top]


Spring 2009

Musicology PhD Seminars

MUY/ETH 502 Introduction to Ethnomusicology
S. Fiol

As a historiography of ethnomusicology, the course will chart the genealogies of thought over the last several centuries that inform our contemporary understanding of the discipline. 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. Finally, we will assess challenges to the discipline, and chart a course for an ethnomusicology of the 21st century.

MUY 592 Bach Cantatas & Organ Chorales
D. Zager

This seminar provides an opportunity for musicologists, organists, and choral conductors to explore the sacred cantatas and organ chorales of J. S. Bach within musical, liturgical, and theological contexts. Musical forms, procedures, and styles in the organ chorales and cantatas of Bach’s predecessors and contemporaries will be explored as musical contexts for Bach’s works. Questions of how cantatas and organ chorales functioned liturgically in the worship services of late-seventeenth- and early-eighteenth-century Thuringia and Saxony may be assessed by studying Lutheran Mass and Office liturgies, lectionaries, and hymnals of that era. The influences of both Lutheran orthodoxy and pietism, as well as Bach’s personal theological library (including two editions of the writings of Martin Luther), provide theological contexts fundamental to exploring the meaning of these sacred genres—for Bach and for the congregants who were the first listeners to his cantatas and organ chorales.

MUY 592 Music, Society, & Culture 1800-1900
R. Locke

The aim of this course is to explore a number of different approaches to the relationship between music and its cultural and social contexts during the nineteenth century. It does not attempt to cover all the major contributions of the major composers, nor all the wider trends in musical life. Instead, we will be “sampling” a broad spectrum of issues, methods, and music-historiographical “problems,” with an emphasis on “open” rather than “closed” cases and with preference given to recent writings by musicologists and “allied” scholars.

Wherever possible, we will connect the discussion of musicological issues to musical repertory; thus score study, analysis and listening will be an important aspect of the seminar (thereby resisting the common prejudice that contextual issues can be perfectly well treated with no regard to musical experience and to aesthetic considerations).

The teaching styles will range from instructor and student presentations (the latter in the form of short reports) to discussions based on reading assignments and other outside projects.

MUY 592 Postmodernism
H. Watkins

This course examines various theories and instances of postmodernism in music, the arts, and culture at large. Beginning with select musical trends and cultural transformations dating to the 1960s, the class moves through a wide variety of music, and as far into the present as possible, in hopes of assessing the meaning and usefulness of the idea of postmodernity. In particular, we will be concerned with the degree to which postmodern characteristics of recent art, architecture, economics, and the media can also be identified in music, and what those correspondences suggest about the nature of postmodern culture in general. Periodic in-class presentations, a final extended presentation, and a final paper are required.

MHS 590 Asian Classical Musics
E. Koskoff

Classical musics exist throughout the world. Historically connected to economic and political court systems, classical traditions persist in contemporary times as highly valued cultural expressions. Here, we will examine classical musics in five different contemporary Asian musical cultures—Iran (Persia), India, Indonesia, Japan, and China, concentrating on contemporary issues of reception, preservation and on how various classical music discourses contribute to local, national, and global politics.

[return to top]


Fall 2008

MUY 591 The Motet before 1360
Michael Anderson

The motet represents one of the most important, if enigmatic, innovations in the realm of early polyphonic composition. Its origins are contained in Paris in the great musical corpus that contributed to an elaborate liturgy at the cathedral of Notre Dame toward the end of the twelfth century. This course will outline the rise of the motet and its relationship to discant clausulae from the Magnus liber organi and will trace further its development in some of the major sources of polyphony from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, culminating in the works of Guillaume de Machaut. Of particular concern in the Notre Dame repertory will be the clusters of motets based on a single tenor. Also, students will examine the array of sacred and secular themes that regularly converge in the early motet. There will be several short presentations and an article-length paper due as the final term project. Some knowledge of Latin or French is helpful, but not mandatory.

MUY 591 Sondheim
Kim Kowalke

The seminar will explore in depth the oeuvre of Stephen Sondheim, who has been the central creative figure in the American musical theater for the last half century. Because much of his output references the history, style, and genres of the past as “metadramatic” commentary, we will also study selected works from the standard repertory in parallel with Sondheim’s works. Assignments will include weekly listening, reading, and viewing; several seminar presentations, as well as a final “professional” paper.

[return to top]


Spring 2008

MUY 592  The Cantata in Rome, ca. 1620-ca. 1670
R. Freitas

A product of the experiments with monody that launched the baroque period in music, the cantata is perhaps the most characteristic genre of its age. Far cheaper to produce than opera or oratorio, and more esteemed than instrumental forms, the cantata served as the everyday entertainment of musically-inclined aristocrats; libraries and archives all over Europe preserve these works by the thousands. Yet they have received surprisingly little study (or performance). This seminar will explore the Italian chamber cantata in Rome, from its inception as a genre, through the works of Luigi Rossi, Giacomo Carissimi, and their contemporaries, to around 1670. We will consider the genre from poetic, stylistic, and social perspectives. In fact, these pieces have been so little investigated that virtually every project will constitute original research. Students will work extensively with facsimiles or microfilms of original manuscripts. Some experience with Italian—or at least a Romance language—is desirable. There will be regular classroom presentations and a large final project.

MUY 592  Musical Exoticism: Images and Reflections
R. Locke

Portrayal of exotic places, peoples, and cultures—including exotic musical styles—has been a central (but often misunderstood) shaping factor in Western music. This course explores a variety of ways in which composers have engaged in musical exoticism despite the fact that music—unlike painting or the novel—is not inherently representational. Important trends are noted, and case studies examined: from Handel’s and Rameau’s Byzantine and Incan tyrants, Mozart’s “Rondo alla turca,” Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade; to Debussy’s “Pagodes,” Bernstein’s West Side Story, and Tan Dun’s culture-bridging Symphony 1997: Heaven, Earth, Man. Several short papers and a final one that aims to make an article-length contribution to scholarship.

[return to top]


Fall 2007

MUY 501 Introduction to Musicology
R. Freitas

Introduction to Musicology, a required foundation course for musicology graduate students, is also open (by consent of the instructor) to other graduate students with an interest in the field of musicology and historical research. The course has three areas of focus: (1) the materials and methods of musicological research, including bibliographic and other sources; (2) historic and current conceptions of the discipline, with a particular emphasis on the diversity of methodologies now in use; and (3) proficiency at reasoning and writing, emphasizing the ability to construct viable arguments and prosecute them in effective prose. After several weeks of introduction and reading, the bulk of the course will take a hands-on approach, with students doing small-scale research projects each week and presenting their results to the seminar. There will not be a large final project in the course.

MUY 591 Early Music Analysis pre-1600
P. Macey

Early music before 1600 has been the subject of various analytical approaches regarding tonality, progressions, and motivic procedures. Among others, we will examine work by Sarah Fuller and Margaret Bent on directed progressions and grammatical readings of 14th- and 15th-century music. For the late 15th and 16th centuries, we will turn to studies of motivic structures in Ockeghem and Josquin by Lawrence Bernstein, contrapuntal structures by John Milsom, and modal procedures by Harold Powers and Cristle Collins Judd. For the mid to late 16th century we will look at Peter Schubert’s work on recombinant melody and Anthony Newcomb’s studies of hexachordal transformations in instrumental music.

MUY 591 Nineteenth-Century Italian Opera: Staging Body, Voice, Society
M. Esse

Both the texts and the practices of the Italian opera industry during its era of peak production will be the subject of study. The works of Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Mercadante, and Verdi will serve as lenses to help bring cultural attitudes towards gender, performance, politics, and romantic aesthetics into focus. Throughout the term, students will trace the connections between text and act, considering how Italy’s unique cultural context made the operatic “work” a fluid and malleable thing, one that relied more on the performance event than on a fixed score. Required work: presentations, short paper, final research project.

MUY 591 Music and Cultural Studies: Basic Themes
M. Scherzinger

The course is an introduction to basic themes in Cultural Studies and their implications for the study of music within global modernity. By raising questions that arise at the intersections of Poststructuralism, Marxism, Psychoanalysis and Postcolonialism, the course will examine ways the critiques of representational theories of language, commodity fetishism, the intending subject and Eurocentrism interrupt and intertwine with musical practice (composition/performance/reception) as well as writing about music.

[return to top]


Spring 2007

MUY/ETH 502/590 Introduction to Ethnomusicology
Ellen Koskoff

Introduces the basic readings, history, and methods of ethnomusicology. Course work will include class readings, discussions, transcription projects, and a semester-long fieldwork project undertaken in the Rochester area. Readings will be taken primarily from the fields of ethnomusicology, anthropology, and cultural studies.

MUY 592 Romantic Criticism and Aesthetics
Holly Watkins

This course examines early nineteenth-century music from the standpoint of critical and philosophical writings dating from the period 1780-1850. Focusing primarily on German music and texts, the course will consider various literary and musical meanings of Romanticism, the emergence of a distinct instrumental music aesthetics, and the political contexts of Romantic reception. Taking central texts by Kant, Schopenhauer, E.T.A. Hoffmann, and Hegel as a point of departure, the class aims to broaden the range of musical meanings available in a repertory that includes, among others, Beethoven, Schumann, and Wagner. Requirements include a final paper and presentation plus several short papers/presentations given over the course of the semester. Permission of instructor required.

MUY 592 Roman de Fauvel
Gabriela Ilnitchi

In this course we will embark on a multidisciplinary analysis and interpretation of the early fourteenth-century “Roman de Fauvel” (Paris, BN f. fr. 146). An examination of the historical and socio-cultural contexts that led to the composition of the Roman and the production of the manuscript will go hand in hand with an in-depth consideration of the complex visual, poetic, and musical intertextuality manifest in this Parisian cultural artifact. Furthermore, we will explore issues pertaining to the attribution, notation, and transmission of the polyphonic and monophonic interpolations, as well as the larger question of medieval textual and musical performance.

MUY 592 Bach Cantatas and Chorale Preludes
Daniel Zager

This seminar provides an opportunity for musicologists, organists, and choral conductors to explore the sacred cantatas and organ chorales (chorale preludes) of J. S. Bach within musical, liturgical, and theological contexts. The musical context for these genres involves studying the music of Bach’s predecessors and contemporaries. A composer of the previous generation, such as Johann Pachelbel, exerted an influence on the young Bach, who copied and studied the organ chorales of this older musician. By contrast, Bach had personal contact with Georg Böhm and Dieterich Buxtehude, both of whom became for him influential models and (short-term) teachers. The cantatas of Bach’s contemporaries, Christoph Graupner and Georg Philipp Telemann, provide a window into the broader world of the German sacred cantata during the years Bach was composing his Leipzig cantatas. Similarly, the organ chorales of Bach’s contemporary Georg Friedrich Kauffmann provide a contemporaneous point of comparison for Bach’s own organ chorale preludes. The liturgical context involves study of both church year and lectionary in Bach’s day—then, as now, crucial determinative factors in the practice of sacred music. Published hymnals of the time also provide important contextual information, as do both the Mass and Office liturgies, and the place and role of music within those liturgical occasions. Taken together, such contextual factors of church shed light on how cantatas and organ chorales were used in the worship services of 18th-century Germany. The theological context necessarily involves a study of the theological climate of that time in Thuringia and Saxony, including the relative influences of both Lutheran orthodoxy and pietism. A second contextual factor is Bach’s personal theological library, and the influence on Bach of the writings of Martin Luther. Study of these theological contexts is fundamental to exploring the meaning of these sacred genres—for Bach and the congregants who were the first listeners to his cantatas and organ chorales, and for today’s listeners as well. Graded work for the course includes active, informed participation in seminar discussions; leading the seminar on two occasions; and a final paper and its effective oral presentation.

[return to top]


Fall 2006

MUY 501 Introduction to Musicology
Roger Freitas

Introduction to Musicology, a required foundation course for musicology graduate students, is also open (by consent of the instructor) to other graduate students with an interest in the field of musicology and historical research. The course has three areas of focus: (1) the materials and methods of musicological research, including bibliographic and other sources; (2) historic and current conceptions of the discipline, with a particular emphasis on the diversity of methodologies now in use; and (3) proficiency at reasoning and writing, emphasizing the ability to construct viable arguments and prosecute them in effective prose. After several weeks of introduction and reading, the bulk of the course will take a hands-on approach, with students doing small-scale research projects each week and presenting their results to the seminar. There will not be a large final project in the course.

MUY 591 Illuminated Music Manuscripts
Honey Meconi

The course examines the role of illuminated music manuscripts in the culture of early music. The focus will be on the manuscripts prepared by the scriptorium associated with the Habsburg-Burgundian court during the first decades of the sixteenth century, which will provide a starting point for investigation into other significant music manuscripts of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Permission of instructor is required.

MUY 591 Theories of Rhetoric in 18th-Century Music
Gretchen Wheelock

This course will address issues of composition, reception, and performance in relation to various concepts of musical rhetoric in the mid-to-late18th century. With particular focus on instrumental music, we will examine specific works by J.S. Bach, C.P.E Bach, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven in light of such rhetorical concepts as Figurenlehre, Formenlehre, and Affektenlehre. Broad topics to be explored will include Rhetoric as Structure and Compositional Process; Rhetoric and Affect: Topoi and Intertextuality; Rhetoric and Aesthetics: From the Sublime to the Playful; Rhetoric and the Performer: Then and Now. In addition to primary readings we will evaluate more recent theories advanced by Leonard Ratner, Wye J. Allanbrook, Kofi Agawu, George Barth, Mark Evan Bonds, Elaine Sisman, and others. We will also address questions of genre and the roles of performers and listeners in 18th-century venues as well as those of today.

Students will be responsible for short, focused presentations to launch and facilitate class discussion of specific questions about the readings and musical pieces under consideration. They will also prepare a final project framed by the perspective of musical rhetoric, whether in the analysis of various procedures in a single work, the analysis of a particular procedure in several works, or in preparing the performance of a work with written commentary about its rhetorical aspects.

MUY 591 Stage to Screen: 1880-1930
Melina Esse

Stage to Screen: 1880 -1930: This course focuses on different performance spaces and aesthetics in late 19th- and early 20th-century American musical life, dealing specifically with genres and practices that unite the visual and the aural (theater, opera, melodrama, and film). We will be particularly concerned with exploring the negotiation between live and “mechanically reproduced” performance as film becomes the dominant form of entertainment in the U.S. Incidental music for melodramas, live musical (and spoken) accompaniment for silent films, and changing practices of opera staging will all come under the purview of the course. Students will have the opportunity to delve into primary sources from the George Eastman house and to immerse themselves in performance and film theory as we investigate contemporary notions of presence, voice, and body. Requirements: Weekly readings, one short midterm paper, longer final research paper.

[return to top]