Part of Columbia's esteemed Core Curriculum since 1947, “Music Humanities’’ aims to instill in students a basic comprehension of the many forms of the Western musical imagination. Its specific goals are to awaken and encourage in students an appreciation of music in the Western world, to help them learn to respond intelligently to a variety of musical idioms, and to engage them in the issues of various debates about the character and purposes of music that have occupied composers and musical thinkers since ancient times. The course attempts to involve students actively in the process of critical listening, both in the classroom and in concerts that the students attend and write about. The extraordinary richness of musical life in New York is thus an integral part of the course. Although not a history of Western music, the course is taught in a chronological format and includes masterpieces by Josquin des Prez, Monteverdi, Bach, Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Verdi, Wagner, Schoenberg, and Stravinsky among others. Since 2004, the works of jazz composers and improvisers, such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Charlie Parker, have been added to the list of masterpieces to be studied in this class.
Masterpieces of Western Music
Required for Columbia College students. All students are expected to complete Music Humanities by the end of their third year.