New Courses for Spring 2020

We have some exciting new courses for Spring 2020!

Acoustic Ecologies/GU4406/Ana Maria Ochoa/Wednesday 03:10 – 05:00 pm

This course explores the relationship between music, sound and the environment from a cross cultural perspective. We will explore notions such as acoustic ecology, ambient sound, soundscape and acoustemology, ecomusicology and the relation between sound, climate change, and the anthropocene. We will also address how different cultures conceive of the changing relations between sounding and environment and how these are linked to decolonial struggles. 

Introduction to Cognitive Musicology/GU4325/Mariusz Kozak/Monday 10:10 – 12:00 pm

This course is an introduction to a variety of key topics in the field of cognitive musicology, including human development, evolution, neural processing, embodied knowledge, memory and anticipation, cross-cultural perspectives, and emotions. The course explores recent research on these topics, as well as ways in which this research can be applied to music scholarship.

Ear Training VI/GU4319/Peter Susser/Monday&Wednesday 12:10 - 12:00 pm

Improvisation as an ear training pedagogy for skills acquisition and general musicianship. Must have taken ET IV or by permission of the instructor.

Music, Musicians and Mobility in the Early Modern Period/GU4109/David Burn/Monday 04:10 – 06:00 pm

In the early modern period—here roughly limited to the fifteenth through early seventeenth century—the Western idea of the world underwent two contrasting, but equally fundamental shifts. On the one hand, the known world expanded in unprecedented and entirely unexpected ways. At the same time, on the other hand, Europe itself splintered dramatically along conflicting religious lines that would shape politics and warfare for centuries after, erecting barriers and boundaries where they previously did not exist. This course studies the effect of these changes on music, through the lens of mobility, understood in various ways, both social and physical.

Theory and Analysis of Jazz and Improvisation/GU4308/Marc Hannaford/Tuesday & Thursday 11:40 – 12:55 pm

This course explores diverse approaches to analyzing jazz and improvisation.  Students will engage with analytical methods stemming from both scholars and improvisers, learn to apply traditional analytical approaches, examine critical issues underlying them, and develop new applications of heretofore underexamined ones.  We will focus alternatively on harmony, solos, interaction, cognition, rhythm, and pedagogy, among other issues, and the survey will afford students insight into the priorities, methodologies, outcomes, and shortcomings of each of them.  Additionally, the course covers theoretical texts produced by improvising musicians, as well as instances where improvisers engage with preexisting theoretical texts.  Finally, we will also examine intersections between identity—encompassing issues such as race, ethnicity, gender, and class among others—and music theory.  We will investigate characterizations of music theory, composition, and improvisation in terms of identity and suggest ways that we might incorporate the diverse range of theorists and analysts in our course into larger intellectual and musical histories. 

Instrument, Interface, Installation: Building Sound/GR6249/Seth Cluett/Monday 05:30 – 08:00 pm

This course will address hands-on making through creative projects reinforced with critical and historical readings to contextualize work.  Coursework will explore fabrication, gears and motors, homemade instruments, 3d printing, amplifiers and transducers, circuit bending, and getting comfortable soldering and reading circuits. The course engages creative uses of audio technology within and beyond the concert hall, instrumental acoustics and organology, and movement, gesture, and space as elements of structuring sound work. Fluency, troubleshooting, and self-reliance regarding basic audio hardware, signal flow, and technical requirements for supporting the addition of amplification, fixed media, or interactive electronics to sound work will be a focus throughout. We’ll explore instrument building and modification, installation design and construction, and physical interfaces to software instruments through hands-on projects supported by readings and repertoire and will culminate in a creative project of your own design.

Shades of Brown:  Music in the South Asian Diaspora/UN3343/Nandini Banerjee/Monday & Wednesday 11:40 – 12:55 pm

This course explores the musical world of the South Asian diaspora in Europe and North America. We will read ethnographic accounts of diasporic musics and experiences and develop methods for analysis and interpretation of such accounts, situating the songs of the South Asian diaspora within its broader social history. We will address the concepts of belonging and identity, nostalgia and affect, and the dismantling or upholding of dominant discourses such as gender, race, and caste. Our focus will be on the last half century, although deeper histories will need to be considered. Students will learn to analyze instrumentation and lyrics in various genres and traditions of South Asian music, including both art, folkloric, and popular idioms, and to correlate these with aspects of the social context of diaspora. While the specific focus of the course is on a particular diasporic history, the class will help students understand and think critically about the broader phenomenon of “diaspora” and its cultural dimensions, and through this to engage critically with important aspects of cultural globalization and migration.  Students from all departments are welcome. Reading music not required.

Reimagining Resistance:  Sound as Subversion in 20th & 21st Century American Experimentalism/UN3346/William Dougherty/Tuesday & Thursday 11:40 – 12:55 pm

How can composers and musicians push back against inequality and injustice through their creative practice? How can they reimagine, through sound, a more equal, compassionate, collaborative, critically engaged, and humanistic society? How can they critique and transcend categories of race, gender, class, and sexuality to create music that looks to new, more open and egalitarian forms of music making, reframing problematic hierarchies inherited from 19th century Europe? In this survey, students will investigate how 20th and 21st century American experimentalist composers engage with these questions — questions which are particularly pressing today. Students will examine how composers like John Cage, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Ornette Coleman, and Pauline Oliveros resisted stylistic, philosophical, and institutional conventions to form subversive creative and intellectual strands that continue to undergird the American musical landscape today. By examining networks of actors (composers, venues, critics, publications, performers, events) including groups such as the Sonic Arts Union, the Composers’ Collective, the Jazz Composer’s Guild, Wandelweiser, Fluxus, and Musica Elettronica Viva, students will explore the unique and complex topology of experimental music communities in the United States and the subversive threads that tie them together. Race, gender, class, and sexuality mark these networks, and will feature prominently in our analyses. Students will engage with sound/video recordings and primary source texts alongside contemporary scholarship including critical, ethnographic, and journalistic sources. There are no prerequisites required for this course, but HUMA UN1123 (“Music Humanities”) is highly recommended.

Gender, Race, and Digitality/GR8116/Lucie Vagnerova/Wednesday 10:10 am-12:00 pm

This seminar investigates gendered and racial formations in digital musical culture. Through readings in historical musicology, popular music and communications studies, critical race theory, feminist theory, and gender studies, we will explore how social structures translate to digital spaces, including interfaces for composition and performance, data-driven user/fan/consumer structures, streaming and subscription software, and online music communities, among others.