Show The Graduate Center Menu

Course Offerings and Schedule


Course Offerings and Schedule

Fall 2014 Course Schedule

Fall 2014 Course Descriptions

MUS 78200. Studies in World Music Analysis.
Professor Peter Manuel

This seminar will examine a variety of world musics (i.e., primarily non-Western) with an emphasis on their formal features, emphasizing sound structure rather than socio-musical dimensions.  The course will fulfill a number of objectives.  It will help students—and perhaps especially ethnomusicology students preparing for the second exam—to develop analytical skills, including transcription and notation of a wide variety of types of music.  It will help prepare students to teach world music survey classes, such as are often in demand at colleges.  It will, in its way, cover a breadth of world music genres, some of which—such as Indonesian gamelan music—are not addressed in our current ethnomusicology offerings.   It may interest several DMA and musicology students who seek familiarity with world music styles as sound systems rather than as subjects of social theory.  The course would also familiarize students with software programs used for analysis.  The areas and genres covered would consist primarily of those not covered in other ethnomusicology offerings, and would include, for instance, traditional musics of Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Hawai’i, Portugal, Indonesia, and assorted African regions, perhaps with some excursions into jazz and diverse pop styles.  For students at dramatically different levels of analytical skills, parts of certain seminar meetings might be devoted to special *remedial* sessions.

MUS 83900. Research Seminar in Ethnomusicology: Cross-cultural Studies of Music Theory
Professor Stephen Blum

The seminar considers some of the ways ethnomusicologists are engaged in research on music theory, broadly defined (on the assumption that theorizing is inevitably implicated in music-making). The specific topics treated will depend in part on the interests of the seminar participants and may deal with music theory of any time and place. It is a "writing intensive" seminar, with exercises in analyzing and summarizing theoretical treatises as well as accounts of orally-transmitted theories, rather than a term paper. Students should have a reading knowledge of at least one language other than English. Open only to doctoral students (in any program); not open to auditors.

MUS 74500. Introduction to Schenkerian Analysis
Professor Eric Wen

This course will aim to develop an understanding of large-scale musical coherence through a study of the voice-leading and tonal organization of selected compositions. Through the analytic techniques learned in this course, students will gain a deeper understanding of how the principles of harmony and counterpoint operate in tandem, and determine the criteria for structural coherence in music of the common-practice period. In the process of doing so, students will be introduced to the analytic system of graphic notation developed by Heinrich Schenker. Beginning with short extracts and themes, by the end of the semester, complete works will analyzed. There is no textbook for the course, but all the musical works studied will be made available as photocopies.

MUS 82500. History of Music Theory I
Professor Chadwick Jenkins

This course explores the history of music theory from Antiquity to the end of the Renaissance (roughly Pythagoras to Artusi). We will read both primary and secondary sources in an attempt to understand the ways in which the history of theory participates in the history and development of ideas. In our effort, we will be concerned with the following issues: the ontology of music (including questions concerning the definition of its elements and its manner of being); the epistemology of music; sense psychology with respect to music; notions of consonance and dissonance; tuning systems and scale formations (including the genera, divisions of the whole tone, transposition, etc.); theories of mode; theories concerning rhythm and the rhythmic modes; and counterpoint theory. There will be an emphasis placed on the interactions between music theory and philosophy in the broader sense. The class is open to doctoral students only.

MUS 88500. Composers’ Seminar
Professor Douglas Geers

This seminar will introduce students to a wide range of methods for using algorithms, implemented on computers, as tools for the organization and creation of thematic materials for music composition.  Topics will include introductions to algorithmic techniques themselves, realization of them in software, study of successful works that have employed these techniques, and creation of a series of compositional studies by students.
Most of the instruction will focus on using the software PWGL and OpenMusic, although students will be allowed to complete some assignments with other platforms by permission (Max/MSP, Pd, Supercollider, Csound, etc.)
Students will complete a final project as approved by the instructor, which would likely be a composition that uses techniques studied, a research/analysis paper on music created using one or more of the techniques, or an analytical paper that uses some of these techniques to analyze music not known to have been written with them in mind.
MUS 86600/ASCP XXXX Seminar in Music History: The 1920s:  Music and Culture in New York
Professor Jeffrey Taylor

Fridays 10am-1pm   Room 3491   3 credits
In 1920s New York, music and musicians served as both causes and effects in social history.  Seen in the larger context of the aftermath of World War 1, the technology boom (especially in recording, radio, and film), Prohibition, the emergence of organized crime, the Harlem Renaissance, the early history of jazz, and many literary and artistic movements (including Modernism), music becomes a lens through which to examine radical shifts in America’s views on gender, race, class, and a host of other issues. Emphasis will be on discussion of primary and secondary written texts, films and artworks, and listening, rather than score analysis—though students are welcome to pursue analytical work in their final projects. The course will explore work by and reception of musicians and composers as diverse as George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, Bessie Smith, Henry Cowell, Duke Ellington, James P. Johnson, Dane Rudhyar, Ruth Crawford, George Antheil and Edgard Varèse. Assignments will consist of weekly written responses to reading and listening, discussion-leading, a midterm writing assignment, and a final project that will incorporate a class presentation and final paper.
MUS 84600: Musical Modernism
Professor Joseph Straus

This course will study the historical, social, cultural, and musical forces that shaped modernist music in the period before and after the First World War.  The readings will be drawn from a variety of sources inside and outside of music, and the works we focus on will include Schoenberg, Pierrot Lunaire and Variations for Orchestra; Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring and Oedipus Rex; Bartok, Bluebeard’s Castle and String Quartet No. 3; Berg, Wozzeck; Varese, Hyperprism; Crawford-Seeger, String Quartet; and Ives, String Quartet No. 2 and Symphony No. 4.
MUS 86800: Seminar in Music History - Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Late Medieval Lyric
Professor Anne Stone
The rise of vernacular poetry in Romance languages that took place between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries has been the subject of a wealth of interdisciplinary scholarship in the past couple of decades by historians of art, music and literature.  Inspired by new cross-disciplinary areas of inquiry—gender studies, New Philology, sound studies, among others—scholars have transformed the way we think about the late medieval lyric, its social context, its compositional process, its transmission and reception. This seminar will survey recent writings across these disciplines that treat lyrics with and without music produced in late medieval Occitania, France and Italy from roughly the 12th-15th centuries: troubadour song; the French motet; the formes fixes lyrics of Guillaume de Machaut; the Italian lyric compilations of the fourteenth century.  Students will engage in close readings of individual lyrics in a variety of Romance languages (translations will be available, though familiarity with at least one modern Romance language or with Latin will be helpful), and also in close readings of manuscripts from the level of the page to the level of the codex. We will take advantage of the new availability of medieval lyric collections online, through sites like the Bibliothèque Nationale de France’s Gallica site, the British Library, and the consortial Digital Scriptorium, as well as color print facsimiles such as that of the Cantigas de Santa Maria and the late trecento Squarcialupi codex. We will also visit the Morgan Library to examine their illuminated troubadour manuscript, M.819.
Requirements: weekly readings and short writing assignments; one 5-page paper due mid-semester and one final project, read in class as a 20-minute conference-style paper, and then submitted as a 10-15 page research paper. All primary and secondary readings will be available in English translation. Students may choose to research lyrics in languages other than those treated in the seminar.
Note: this two-hour, three-credit seminar will be extended by one hour and one credit (required of music students and optional for others) to deal specifically with the musical notation of late medieval lyrics: learning how to read it, and considering how its presence participated in making meaning in the context of the song as a whole.

Spring 2014 Course Schedule

Spring 2014 Course Descriptions

MUS 81504 Performance Practice of the 20th and 21st Centuries 
Professor Tania León

Designed for both composers and performers, the course explores the aesthetic, historic and technical trends of 20th- and 21st-century music through presentation, discussion, composition and performance. Weekly meetings will be devoted to the coaching and critique of both student composition assignments and representative works.  The class will culminate with a mandatory public concert, at the end of the semester, in Elebash Hall featuring important repertoire works and music composed by the students. 
MUS 88300 Music of India
Professor Peter Manuel
This seminar explores diverse musics of India, engaging with music both in its formal aspects and as a socio-musical phenomenon.  Exploration of North and South Indian classical and light-classical music will cover treatment of râg and tâl and other analytical aspects, and selected historical themes, including factors conditioning râg evolution, ancient and classical treatises, the transition from feudal to bourgeois patronage, Hindu-Muslim dynamics, and changing roles of women and hereditary performing castes.  Students will learn to listen to clasisical musics in an infiormed way, encompassing recognition of several basic râg and tâls.  Selected folk traditions and genres will then be covered, followed by the development of modern commercial popular musics, and musics of the Panjabi and Bhojpuri diasporas (especially in the Caribbean). Grades will be based on a short analysis assignment, a class report on a reading, class notes, and a take-home set of essay assignments. While many readings will be on ereserve, we will also be reading much of Neuman’s The Life of Music in North India, Bakhle’s Two Men and Music, and Manuel’s Cassette Culture.
MUS 86500 Research Seminar in Music History: Performance Studies
Professor Emily Wilbourne

As a field of scholarship, Performance Studies is notoriously difficult to define. Described as an inter-discipline and a post-discipline, critiqued as an anti-discipline, Performance Studies has interpreted its mandate in the widest possible sense. Covering both literal and figurative performances, acting and actions, Performance Studies has aggregated a focus on situated bodies, politically articulate methodologies, and a space for interpretive play. For music students, Performance Studies promises a corrective to disciplinary habits of disembodiment and the analytic abstractions of "the music itself." This class will serve as an introduction to foundational texts and concepts of Performance Studies, including speech-act theory (performativity) and multifaceted approaches to identity and embodiment (such as queer intersectionality and critical race theory). We will also consider Performance Studies as a means to think and write about music, about sound, and about the past. Students will develop a research paper focused on performance, in accordance with their academic interests.
MUS 85400 Intermediate Schenker Analysis
Professor William Rothstein
A continuation of Introduction to Schenkerian Analysis ("Schenker 1"), focusing primarily on music by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.  Weekly assignments in graphing will be supplemented by readings and a final presentation.
Music 85400 Seminar in Theory/Analysis: The Beatles
Professor Mark Spicer
This seminar will offer an in-depth study of the music of the Beatles. Using Walter Everett’s The Beatles as Musicians as our central reference, we will trace the group’s stylistic development, song-by-song and album-by-album, from their earliest days as the Quarry Men through their swan song Abbey Road. Our primary focus will be on analyzing the substance of the recordings themselves—that is, we will explore issues of form, harmony and voice leading, rhythm and groove, performance practice, text-music relations, recording technology, and so on—and yet we will also take time to consider the profound influence that the Beatles have had, and continue to have, in shaping not only the landscape of pop and rock music, but our postmodern world itself. (Enrollment limited to doctoral students in music, or by permission of the instructor.)  
MUS 71500 DMA Topics
Professor Janette Tilley
In this second semester of DMA topics, we will explore and cultivate those skills and habits of mind that will help you succeed, and even enjoy, the dissertation research and writing process. Topics will be determined by the needs of the class, but will include: a re-examination the important tools for research in music and how to make effective use of them; strategies for developing and narrowing research questions; evaluating kinds of musical and historical evidence; writing persuasively about music.
Music 83100 Readings in Musical Ethnography
Professor Jane Sugarman
In this seminar we will read a selection of recent monographs in ethnomusicology in alternation with readings and assignments covering various aspects of ethnographic fieldwork.  One course goal will be to take a measure of current topics and approaches in the field and evaluate the state of the ethnomusicological monograph.  Another will be to use these monographs to explore aspects of research including research design and theoretical framework, participant observation, approaches to interviewing, archival research, writing strategies, and issues of representation and ethics.  In addition to short, practical assignments during certain weeks, the final project will consist of a mock (or real) dissertation or fellowship proposal.  There will also be possibilities for a practicum in filming, recording, and editing as a separate module during the semester. 
MUS 87000 Medivalism and the Modern Musical Imagination
Professor Anne Stone
The list of composers who have engaged in some way with medieval music reads like a who’s who of musical modernism in Europe and the United States: Benjamin, Berio, Birtwistle, Hindemith, Maxwell Davies, Messiaen, Perle, Sariaho, Stravinsky, Webern, and Wuorinen, just to name some of the most obvious.
This seminar will explore the intersections between selected modernist composers and the specter of the Middle Ages. Is the relationship merely one of numerous isolated references, a collection of case studies, or is there a deeper affinity between the project of modernist music and the collective notion of the medieval? What do modernist composers think they are doing when they allude to medieval musical processes or literary themes? Is there a coherent "medievalism" discernible in modern music akin to that of neoclassicism or exoticism?
We will start by considering two recent operas that take troubadours as their subject: Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de loin (2000) and George Benjamin'sWritten on Skin (2012). Later works will be partially dictated by the interests of the students, but will include major works by (at least) Berio, Birtwistle and Davies.
Students will choose a short research topic to present in the first weeks of the course, and a longer presentation and paper (10-15 pages) at the end; the longer paper may be an elaboration of the earlier paper, or on a different topic.
Readings early in the semester will include two recent books from Art History and English respectively: Alexander Nagel, Medieval Modern: Art out of Time (London: Thames and Hudson, 2012); Bruce Holsinger, The Premodern Condition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005); other reading will include articles and essays by Walter Benjamin, Luciano Berio, Bertold Brecht, Umberto Eco, Paul Hindemith, Daniel Leech-Wilkinson, George Perle, Ezra Pound, George Perle, and Kirsten Yri.
MUS 86200 Mozart's Operas for Vienna
Professor Bruce MacIntyre
After a brief survey of Mozart’s early operas and their historical/stylistic contexts, this seminar will focus upon the operas composed during his last decade in Vienna, with special attention to dramatic structure and characterization.  Relevant documentation, performance practices, and the ways in which the operas inform our understanding and performance of Mozart’s instrumental music will also be considered.  In-class reports on assigned readings, score analysis of assigned operas, and individual term-paper topics.  Knowledge of Italian and German helpful, but not required.
MUS 84600 Analyzing Atonal Music
Professor Joseph Straus

We will look closely at selected works from the modernist, post-tonal canon (works by Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Stravinsky, Bartok, Crawford, Dallapiccola), roughly one work per class meeting. We will read in the extensive secondary analytical literature on these works, both to master the analytical methodologies and to evaluate the theoretical controversies.  Prerequisite: a course in basic post-tonal theory or the equivalent.


MUS 81502 Performance Practice: Classic-Romantic.
Professor Raymond Erickson

This course, intended for DMA performance majors, is designed to be a practical introduction to historical performance practices in the period ca. 1750-1900.  It will provide historical information through lectures, class reports, and book summaries and practical experience in implementing historical performing practices through in-class coachings and consideration of appropriate improvisation techniques.  Each student will provide a personal synthesis of the materials and experiences of the class in a term paper.