MUS 89200: Composers Forum
Professor Jeff Nichols
The Composers Forum is a series of meetings on topics of interest to composers. There will be guest composers and performers; presentations by students on their own work and discussion of the best ways to present one’s own work; and discussions of technical, musical and professional issues in contemporary composition.
MUS 81502: Seminar in Baroque Performance Practices – Professor Raymond Erickson
This is a practical course intended for performers. It will provide students with a broad, basic knowledge of the contexts and conventions of musical performance during the period 1600-1750, with particular emphasis on the music of J.S. Bach. The principal pedagogical publications of the period, current scholarship on performance practice, musical instruments of the baroque, national styles of performance, and the stylish application of historically-documented performance practices to modern instruments are among the principal concerns of the course.
MUS 88100: Seminar in Ethnomusicology: African Music, Arts and Cultural Economies
Professor Alex Perullo
The growing popularity of African expressive art forms, including music, fashion, and film, produces new relations to the arts in many African countries. Though some artists continue to view the arts as a leisure activity or one associated with traditional ceremonies, many more experience the arts as a form of employment and as a commercial enterprise. This has led to changes to perceptions that artists have toward owning, controlling, and creating their art forms. New laws, rules, and social relations exist to create, protect, and profit from the arts. Focusing primarily on music with forays into other art forms, such as film and fashion design, this class explores 1) the changing popularity of African arts forms across the continent and other parts of the world; 2) the economic significance of these new or expanding industries associated with the arts; and 3) the influence that these changes has on both musicians and their music. Each week, we explore a new theme associated with the arts, including the political significance of popular music; the expanding role of private radio broadcasters and recording studios; censorship within some African arts economies; and the sounds of contemporary popular music on the continent.
MUS 88400: Seminar in Ethnomusicology: Music of Cuba and Puerto Rico
Professors Peter Manuel & Benjamin Lapidus
This seminar surveys the music cultures of Cuba and Puerto Rico and their New York diasporas, while also encompassing salsa and, in less depth. Other genres covered will include Afro-Cuban and Afro-Puerto Rican traditional musics, décima-based genres, 19th-century contradanza and danza styles, commercial popular dance musics, and early-twentieth-century Cuban art musics and zarzuela. Dynamics of race, gender, creolization, and diasporic interactions will be recurring themes. Grades will be based on a term paper, a short analysis assignment, a class report on a reading, and class notes. While many readings will be on ereserve, we will also be reading all or most of Robin Moore's Music & Revolution: Cultural Change in Socialist Cuba, more than half of his Nationalizing Blackness: Afrocubanismo and Artistic Revolution in Havana, 1920-1940, and substantial portions of Ned Sublette’s Cuba and its Music.
MUS 86400: Advanced Writing Workshop: From Paper to Article
Professor Anne Stone
Graduate school training privileges the “seminar paper”—usually something written under duress for a course, often while the author is simultaneously teaching and producing papers for other courses, in a compressed time period dictated by the semester structure. There is little time for reflection, expansion, self-editing, reading deeper into the topic—all features of the best writing that we all aspire to, and all prerequisites for a successful career as an academic. Journal articles and books, and even, it is hoped, your dissertation, will be products of long thought and many drafts, but there is little time during graduate school to figure out how to achieve these things.
This workshop is designed to provide an opportunity for students (generally those beyond the first year of the program) to engage in the reflection and revision necessary to produce excellent writing. A prerequisite for the course is that students are in possession of a seminar paper or a conference paper that they would like to expand into an article. During the course of the semester we will read and edit each other’s drafts, read writers on how to write, and read published musicological work that has won prizes. We will explore a variety of topics specific to the craft of writing: developing an original voice; writing a strong thesis statement; positioning oneself within existing scholarship; overcoming writer’s “block” and developing good writing habits. The goal for the workshop is that by the end of the semester students will have a paper ready to send to a journal, and will be equipped with skills and habits that will help them to continue to produce good writing.
Reading assignment for the first class:
Annie Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (New York: Pantheon Books, 1994; other editions available and fine). Recommended for purchase and easily found new or used at your local bookstore or library.
MUS 84200: Seminar in Theory/Analysis: Topic Theory: Analytical and Critical Issues
Professor Kofi Agawu
Topic theory is the outcome of a collective research enterprise in which notions of topic (“subjects of musical discourse,” according to Leonard Ratner, the originator of modern topic theory) shape the interpretation of individual works. Rejecting the ostensible neutrality of musical material, topic theorists seek out sedimentations of style, history, pedagogy, convention and affect in music’s sounding forms and speculate on their piece-specific disposition. This seminar will explore some of the analytical and critical issues raised by topic theory. We will inquire into the ontology of topics, sketch a provisional topical universe, perform close readings of selected works, and reflect on more abstract semiotic issues. Readings will be drawn from writings by Ratner, Allanbrook, Hatten, Sisman, Monelle and Mirka, among others. A substantial final essay on an aspect of topic theory will be expected of all participants.
MUS 71500: DMA Topics
Professor Stephanie Jensen-Moulton
The second semester DMA Topics course will focus on the various types of scholarly writing encountered by performers in doctoral work and beyond. In addition to reading and analysis/discussion of writing on music from multiple genres by both scholars and performers, weekly writing assignments will include in-class writing, evaluation of classmates’ work, and ongoing work on longer assignments. These will include samples of: program notes, encyclopedia articles, pre-concert talks, and mock dissertation proposals, among other writing assignments. The course also serves as a continuing review of bibliography and research techniques as needed.
MUS 86200: Seminar in Music History: The Music and Culture of Jewish New York
Professor Tina Frühauf
With the arrival of the first Jewish immigrants in New York in the mid-1600s and to this day, Jewish music in the City has oscillated between preserving traditions and introducing innovative ideas. This course explores the variety of ways people have used music to describe, inscribe, symbolize, and editorialize the Jewish experience. We approach the richness and diversity of Jewish New York as givens and as starting points for the understanding of both the sacred and the secular in Jewish culture. Thus the cultural contexts and soundscapes of Jewish music are neither isolated nor restricted, for example, to the synagogue or ritual practice, but rather they cross the boundaries between traditions, genres, and even religions. Along these lines, we will discuss genres and styles of art music, liturgical music, popular music, and non-Western traditions, as well as practices that synthesize them. These diverse musical experiences will serve as a platform to address pertinent theoretical questions, such as ethnicity, race, and identity.
MUS 82502: History of Theory II
Professor William Rothstein
The course covers the period from ca. 1590 to 1945. Within this period, students gain a broad knowledge of the development of those disciplines that today are grouped together, somewhat loosely, as “music theory.” They read extensively in primary and secondary sources and learn to consider these sources from both present-day and (so far as is possible) historically situated perspectives. Several short papers and a term paper are required. There is also a final exam.
Thomas Christensen, ed., The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory (Cambridge University Press)
Joel Lester, Compositional Theory in the Eighteenth Century (Harvard University Press)
Optional but highly recommended: Strunk’s Source Readings in Music History, revised edition by Leo Treitler (W. W. Norton; the one-volume edition is recommended)
MUS 81504: Performance Practice: 20th -21st Century
Professor Jason Eckardt
Designed for both composers and performers, the course explores the performance of 20th- and 21st-century music. 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 on May 12 in Elebash Hall featuring repertoire works and music composed by the students.
MUS 85400: Seminar in Theory/Analysis: Intermediate Schenkerian Analysis (Schenker II)
Professor Poundie Burstein
This course focuses on the practice and theory of Schenkerian analysis. Intensive work in analysis of selections from the tonal literature will be supplemented by close readings of Schenker's theoretical and analytical writings as well as readings from the secondary literature. Prerequisite: Introduction to Schenkerian Analysis (Music 74500) or consent of the instructor.
MUS 83100: Seminar in Ethnomusicology: Music and Revolution: Perspectives from the Middle East and North Africa
Professor Jonathan Shannon
In this seminar we will analyze the role of musical practices in advancing the social movements that have marked the Middle East and North Africa across the 20th and into the 21st centuries. While focusing on the recent rebellions and revolutions of the Arab Uprisings, we will also situate the role of music in social movements historically, beginning with the earliest reform movements and revolutions in Egypt and Turkey, through mid-century developments in North Africa, the Iranian Revolution of 1979, up until today. We will focus our discussion on how musical practices not only reflect social changes in these case studies, but can promote them as well. Our exploration of case studies from the region will be preceded by theoretical readings on music, social movements, and revolution from the disciplines of anthropology, musicology, Middle East Studies, and related fields. As a result of this seminar, students will develop a stronger appreciation for the role of music in social change, an analytical grasp of theories of social mobilization, and an understanding of the main historical moments of the Middle East and North Africa region. Students will craft a research paper of 25 pages in addition to keeping a reading journal and sit for two examinations.