Musicology Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Spring 2016
Fall 2015
Older Courses

 

Spring 2016

MUY 502 Introduction to Ethnomusicology
j Kyker

Introduction to Ethnomusicology: This course charts the genealogies of thought over the last several centuries that inform our contemporary understanding of ethnomusicology. It will provide a historical overview of the field, highlighting many of the important figures and works that have marked the discipline’s history and have led to shifts in the way ethnomusicologists understand the relationship of music, society, and culture. We will explore what it is that an ethnomusicologist does (or once did) by studying a variety of approaches to fieldwork methods and ethnographic representation. We will explore several theoretical orientations—drawing from the disciplines of anthropology, linguistics, performance theory, media studies, and philosophy—that inform the work of past and present ethnomusicologists, and introduce a range of musical styles, practices, and ways of thinking about sound in different parts of the world through the study of select musical ethnographies.

MUY 592/590 Secular & Sacred 15th-16th Centuries
P Macey

The interaction between secular and sacred musical  traditions took a variety of forms in the 15th and 16th centuries, and the seminar will explore meanings of adopting secular materials in different genres. These include the symbolic function of French chansons and canonic manipulation in cantus firmus masses, as well as the adaptation of chansons, carnival songs and madrigals as sacred Italian laudas, and the shift from symbolic to rhetorical approaches, first in the motet around 1500 and subsequently in the madrigal. Recent thinking on mode and analytical approaches will figure into the discussion.

MUY 592/590 Aesthetics after Humanism
H Watkins
This course introduces students to a range of thinking that situates aesthetic and sensory experience in a broadly ecological framework. Spurred by readings that call into question distinctions between mind and matter, humans and nonhumans, class discussions will seek to construe aesthetics in a manner that affirms human connectedness to the larger material and animate world. Discourses featured on the syllabus include new materialism, object-oriented ontology, systems theory, ethology, and evolutionary theory; representative authors include Jane Bennett, Timothy Morton, Niklas Luhmann, Elizabeth Grosz, and Gary Tomlinson.
.

 

[return to top]

 

Fall 2015

MUY 502 Introduction to Ethnomusicology
L Jakelski

This course charts the genealogies of thought over the last several centuries that inform our contemporary understanding of ethnomusicology. It will provide a historical overview of the field, highlighting many of the important figures and works that have marked the discipline’s history and have led to shifts in the way ethnomusicologists understand the relationship of music, society, and culture. We will explore what it is that an ethnomusicologist does (or once did) by studying a variety of approaches to fieldwork methods and ethnographic representation. We will explore several theoretical orientations—drawing from the disciplines of anthropology, linguistics, performance theory, media studies, and philosophy—that inform the work of past and present ethnomusicologists, and introduce a range of musical styles, practices, and ways of thinking about sound in different parts of the world through the study of select musical ethnographies.

MUY 590 Improvisation in 19th Century
M Esse

Improvisation in the Nineteenth Century: This course explores improvisational practice and the discourses surrounding it throughout the long nineteenth century. Many of the important shifts in musical culture during this period—including the emergence of the work concept and the increasing importance of the score as object of reverence—have been invoked to explain improvisation’s decline or marginalization by the turn of the twentieth century. We will critically evaluate such broad changes, asking whether they truly did act to quash improvisation and if so, how. Our work will be framed by recent theories of improvisation that move beyond the musical scene and seek to trace improvisation’s importance in wider cultural contexts.

MUY 590, MUY 591 Music & The Cold War
L Jakelski

Music and the Cold War: Music was played for high stakes in the Cold War. Beginning in the late 1940s, the United States and the Soviet Union strove to prove their supremacy in contests of cultural prowess. The struggle between the two great powers of the Cold War likewise impacted cultural policy and musical life in the nations that lay within their competing spheres of influence. This course will examine the compositional trends, artistic debates, and musical institutions that arose in response to the era’s global political conflict. We will view the Cold War from a variety of vantage points, including Europe, North America, and the Global South; we will examine primary sources, read recent scholarly work on the cultural aspects of the Cold War, and discuss selected pieces of music (including works by Babbitt, Copland, Shostakovich, Schnittke, Boulez, Eisler, Lutosławski, Penderecki, Nono, Ligeti and Kurtág).

[return to top]