Fall 2013 Graduate Seminars


Fall 2013

Music 508: Advanced Musicianship, Jim Primosch 
Day/Time/Location TBA

Goals of the course include increasing proficiency in:

-sight singing (including C clefs)

-taking harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic dictations

-accurate performance of rhythms

-general keyboard skills

-score reading at the keyboard

Music 515: 20th Century Analysis, Jay Reise, Wednesday 2 - 5 p.m., Music Building 210

In-depth analysis of the compositional techniques of early 20th century music up to 1945, including Debussy, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Bartok, Ives, Scriabin, Stravinsky and others. Discussion will focus on the effectiveness, affectiveness, challenges and assessments of extended harmony, non-tonal techniques, 12-tone techniques, neoclassicism and non-traditional musical sources. There will be two papers and class presentations.

Music 590: Auditory Cultures: On Sound and Double Consciousness, Tsitsi Ella Jaji

[Crosslisted with ENGL 590.401, AFRC 590, COML 590]Thursdays 12-3:00 pm, BENN 140

W.E.B. Du Bois published The Souls of Black Folk in 1903 using musical incipits from the sorrow songs to begin each chapter, laying a template for theorizing the lived experience of race in the U.S. in sonic terms. In the next decades writers continued to foreground sound in debates about the link between cultural forms and identity, and particularly the uses of the vernacular. For scholars like James W. Johnson, Alain Locke, and Zora Neale Hurston anthologizing and interpreting African American cultural production involved tracing auditory forms of music, sermons, and folklore alongside literature. This class will take their approach as a starting point, to examine the role of sound in primary works by key figures working around and across Black Atlantic from 1890-1939, with some context before and after this period. Authors studied will include Paul Laurence Dunbar, Sol Plaatje, John and Nokutela Dube, Langston Hughes, Jessie Fauset, Nicolás Guillén, Claude McKay, and Leon Gontran Damas along with composers Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Florence Price, and performers Paul Robeson, Marian Anderson, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday. These primary texts will be read in conversation with theoretical works that foreground auditory sensibilities by thinkers including Theodor Adorno, Jacques Attali, Josh Kun, Angela Davis, Farah Jasmine Griffin and others. We will also draw on recent special issues of American Quarterly (September 2011) and Social Text (Spring 2010) devoted to sound.

 620: Materiality, Jairo Moreno, Thursday, 2-5 p.m., Music Building 210

 Under the general rubric of “materiality,” we will consider various approaches to the materiality, thinginess, and objecthood of sound and music. Of particular interest are the ways in which materiality becomes inseparable and/or separable from affective, epistemic, and social wagers made on musical value, labor, and circulation; how, in short, sonorous “things” may gather particular social worlds, or fail to do so. Relevant areas of critique include several recent “turns” (affective, ecological, performative, technological) and keywords gaining something like sacred status in the disciplines (assemblage, network, relationality, vibration). Our archive and attitude will be critical, cultural-historical, theoretical, and anthropological, engaging authors such as Rameau, P. Schaeffer, and Helmholtz; Heidegger, Graham Harman, and Bruno Latour; Jane Bennett, Frances Dyson, and Bill Brown; Marilyn Strathern, Manuel de Landa and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro.    


Music 700: Seminar in Composition, Anna Weesner,  Tuesday, 2-5 p.m., Music Building 210

This  Composition Seminar will function largely as a workshop in which we discuss student composition and hone our abilities to insightfully and usefully critique our own work, the work of peers, and the work of other composers.  We will focus on the current musical landscape.  There will be occasional class exercises in composition and occasional visitors to the seminar who will either present their own work or lead a masterclass-style session. 


Music 705: Creole/Creolization/Creolité: 

Resounding Musical Landscapes, Reimagining Theoretical Geographies, Tim Rommen, Tuesday, 2-5 p.m., Marian Anderson Seminar Room, VPL

The concept of creole has had a long career in the Caribbean. First deployed in colonial contexts, the concept was used to designate (fix) people, language, race/ethnicity, on a spectrum of difference from European models. In time, the term came also to describe things like dances, musical genres and ensembles, clothing, cuisine, art, religious practices, and customs throughout the Americas. In all of these cases, the goal was to designate an attribute or system, always in (inferior) relation to European practices. During the twentieth century, two additional theoretical possibilities emerged within the umbrella of the creole. The first of these—creolization—itself preceded by ideas like acculturation and transculturation, aimed to describe processes of cultural change using what, by now, had become a local term/concept. The second possibility—creolité—was proposed by French Antilleans and designed to remap memories, identifications, and identities in the post-colonial moment. During the last two-three decades, these autochthonous terms/concepts have been variously marginalized or displaced from local discourse in favor of transnationalism, hybridity, and other theoretical vocabularies emanating from Continental Europe and the North American Academy. This state of affairs suggests that the colonial matrix of power continues to exert significant influence over epistemological possibilities in the region. 
Taking as a point of departure the work of Walter Mignolo on the urgency of decoloniality and decolonial thought, this seminar will explore the long history of the creole/creolization/creolité complex and then move to resound and reimagine the possibilities that these theoretical vocabularies offer for contemporary thought and action within the region. Along the way, we will explore a wide range of case studies, focusing not only on practices within the Caribbean, but drawing also on creole landscapes and geographies throughout the Americas.


Music 790: Topics in Musicology, Emily Dolan, Friday, 2-5 p.m. Music Building Conference Room

Sound Studies has exploded in past dozen years, largely outside of music departments. This diffuse field takes a wide range of sonic phenomena as its object. The topics explored by scholars include changing soundscapes, sonic technologies and mediation, the intertwined histories of sound, space and architecture, questions of communication and noise, deafness and disability, and sonic warfare. It seems that Sound Studies asks any question about sound except those questions asked by musicologists. Because of this, it is easy to assume that Sound Studies eschews the traditional aesthetic questions that underpin musicological inquiry. This is, however, complicated by the rise of Sound Art, an equally capacious term. Consider the entry from Grove Music, where it is described as:

As a relatively new term that may apply to a multitude of divergent practices, sound art has no fixed or agreed-upon definition. Sound installation, Sound sculpture, Performance art, Soundscape composition, soundwalking, field recording, circuit bending, sound design, interactive sonic games, concrete poetry, conceptual art, and creative experiments with listening and audio media may technically constitute sound art. So may experimental electronic music, ambient music, noise music, and collage-based music.
In other words, Sound Art potentially encompasses any sound-based art form except for what we have traditionally called, without modifiers, music. Sound art is that which does not happen on regular programs by major orchestras.

This seminar will examine both Sound Studies and Sound Art with an eye to exploring the relationship between the two, the role of aesthetics in Sound Studies, and what musicology can offer to Sound Studies and how it might benefit from engagement with both Sound Studies and Sound Art. Over the semester, we will consider the themes such as the history of noise, sound and space, nature music, soundwalking, and the relationship between sound art and the history of musical technology. In early October, we will visit the Museum of Modern Art as a class: this year, MOMA is mounting its first major Sound Art exhibit (Soundings: A Contemporary Score, 10 August- 3 November.) As part of the seminar, students will be expected to write a research paper and to complete various creative projects.