Critical Writing Seminar in Music: Musicians on Music
In the 20th century, as Western musical genres multiplied and technology made possible the wide distribution of recordings, both classical and popular musicians became increasingly outspoken in their criticism and defense of stylistic decisions. This course will examine the writings of composers (e.g. Stravinsky, Schoenberg); performers (Leonard Bernstein, Miles Davis, Frank Zappa); and academics who were also serious amateur musicians (Theodor Adorno, Roland Barthes). Their arguments and observations offer compelling models for debate, especially considering that the aesthetic issues they raise have never been resolved. Alongside relevant readings we will discuss and write about the many musical performances now available via YouTube. Students will be able to try their hand at critical arguments of their own, plus summaries, reviews, and experiments in style. Fulfills Part I of the 2-part LPS Writing Requirement.