MUS 300: Junior Seminar

This course introduces students to key methodological, technical, creative, and disciplinary issues entailed in the study and making of music. Co-taught by a composer and a musicologist, the class will involve making, writing about, and analyzing music. The seminar is also intended as a space for music concentrators to convene and collaborate.

MUS 306: Understanding Tonality

In this course we will try to understand the complex phenomenon of “tonality.” We will theorize about harmony, voice leading, and scales, studying works by Gesualdo, Beethoven, Wagner, Debussy, Stravinsky, Ravel, Reich, and contemporary jazz musicians.

MUS 310: Advanced Workshop in Musical Composition

This course is aimed at nurturing the compositional interests and aspirations of the individual participants. The class will include students of different backgrounds and interests. While each student will be working on projects of their own design there will occasionally be a listening and/or reading assignment of mutual interest. Since live acoustic presentation of work is not possible at this time, incorporating self recording on instrument(s), Logic Pro (editing software), Sibelius (notation program) will be important parts of the creative process and their use as well as their products will be discussed.

MUS 103: Introduction to Music

MUS 103 is an introduction to Western art music, featuring works from around 800 to the mid-20th century. The course explains the basic elements of Western music, introducing them in the order in which they developed in history- rhythm, pitch, melody, harmony, form- and the historically significant styles and genres of composition.

MUS 514: Topics in 19th- and Early 20th-Century Music: The Ballets Russes and Ballets Súedois

Examination of works produced by Ballets Russes and Ballets Suédois, with emphasis on dialogue between music and dance in these works, the rivalry between the two companies between 1920 and 1925 (the years the Ballets Suédois operated), and their general contribution to French modernism. Discussions address canonic ballets and their transformations, “deceased” ballets and the potential for reviving them, and “living” ballets (those that have stayed more or less intact since their premieres. History has treated the Ballets Russes repertoire better than that of the Ballets Suédois: Petrushka is accessible as a ballet; La Boîte à Joujoux is not.

MUS 528: Seminar in Musicology: Digital Culture; Early Modern Women and Song

A continuation of MUS 527, this seminar is divided into two modules. The first, taught by Global Scholar Georgina Born (Oxford University) focuses on anthropological and sociological aspects of digital technology; the second module, taught by Wendy Heller, focuses on the composer Barbara Strozzi in the context of seventeenth-century Venice.

MUS 532: Composition

Emphasis is placed upon the individual student’s original work and upon the study and discussion of pieces pertinent to that work.

MUS 534: Ends and Means: Issues in Composition

The seminar includes the following topics: classical piano literature; mechanics and physics of the piano; the precursors of the piano; tuning; the pianists; fingerings, phrasing, and pedals; prepared piano; notation; digital piano and bitKlavier; and contemporary piano literature. We rethink the instrument as a source of vast potential rather than a symbol of obsolescence.

MUS 542: Instrumentation and Performance

Collaborations with varied ensembles and performers from around the world and here at Princeton, presented in concert on the Princeton Sound Kitchen concert series.

MUS 545: Contexts of Composition: Process and Intuition

We consider the interaction between compositional intuition and the use of processes, systems and mechanisms, combining analysis, theory, and composition.

MUS 312: Jazz Theory through Improvisation and Composition II

This course intends to expose the student to the harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic concepts of the modal jazz approach in an effort to formulate a basis for self-expression as improvisers and composers. The course includes analysis of representative works by various jazz masters and will place a strong emphasis on student projects in composition. Two 90-minute classes. Prerequisite: 105 or instructor’s permission.

MUS 316: Computer and Electronic Music Composition

A composition workshop class, in the context of the traditional sound studio. Emphasis will be on the student’s creative work, composing both “fixed media” works and live electronic/laptop music..

MUS 319: Composition and Improvisation

In this class we will consider a variety of strategies for combining improvisation and notated music, drawing on both contemporary concert music and jazz. We will look at the works of musicians such as Lutoslawski, Shostakovich, Coltrane, Stockhausen, and others, and will consider how technology might allow us to expand our musical possibilities (e.g. using iPads to facilitate harmonic coordination). The ultimate goal will be to imagine hybrid musics drawing on both classical and jazz traditions.

MUS 323: Studies of Orchestral Music: Orchestration and Instrumentation

An examination of the technical and expressive characteristics of the individual instruments of the orchestra and approaches to combining them. Participants will compose and arrange for guest instrumentalists (via zoom). Notation programs (such as Sibelius) will be used to approximate ensemble and orchestral arrangements with special attention given to the ways in which such notation programs can be both helpful and misleading.

MUS 329: The Composer/Performer

MUS 329 explores connections between composition and performance in group and solo contexts. Student will find his/her optimal and personal balance among concerns including but not limited to: abstract compositional technique and practical performance values; organization and spontaneity, surface and structure, strengths and obligations, material and effect, aural and visual. Class activities include analysis, study of compositional techniques, performing, improvisation, collaboration. All musical styles/genres, notated and non-notated are welcome.

MUS 331: Schematic Thought and the Musical Imagination

How did musicians like Mozart churn out a seemingly endless stream of imaginative compositions? This question drove a revolutionary rethinking of music theory in the 21st century, creating a new discipline of music studies called schema theory. With the aid of cognitive science, schema theorists ask how musicians learn the skills they need to succeed in a competitive marketplace. This class explores what schemas are and their impact on the music we create and consume. Through reading, listening, and compositional exercises, we will explore the schematic basis of two disparate musical styles: 18th-century court music and 20th-century salsa.

MUS 510: Extramural Research Internship

MUS510 is for students in the department who wish to gain experience of central importance to their area of study by working outside of the University capacity. For composition students, this might include working with theater companies, dance troupes, or other relevant organizations. For musicology students this might include archival research or performance. Course objectives and content are determined by student’s adviser in consultation with the external institution. Students submit monthly progress reports including goals and progress to date, and any evaluations received from host institution or published reviews of the final product.

MUS 512: Topics in Medieval Music: Guillaume de Machaut and the Ars Nova

The Ars Nova of the early 14th c. is a heavily contested in musical scholarship. Among pressing questions are: (1) the almost complete disappearance of musical sources in 1310-1350; (2) the connection between Ars Nova and Ars Antiqua: continuity or rupture? (3) the mysterious figure of Jacobus of Liège, (4) the date of his treatise Speculum musicae, (5) the meaning of the Papal bull Docta sanctorum, (6) the emergence of counterpoint. In the midst of all this, (7) Machaut steps forward, around 1350, with a substantial musical repertoire in a fully-developed new style. Nothing here makes sense. Or does it?

MUS 210: Beginning Workshop in Musical Composition

A workshop that fosters individual students’ composing within a community of peers. We’ll consider familiar musical styles, and we will open our ears as well to non-traditional instruments, collaborative and improvisatory approaches, and technological opportunities. The focus is not on music theory “rules” but on each student’s musical imagination, explored through the tools available to us, whether in person or online. Several short projects during the semester, final composition at the end of the semester.

MUS 212: Improvisation and Interpretation in African American Folk-Based Music

Whether through work songs, field hollers, spirituals, ragtime, blues, jazz, soul music, or gospel music, the African American folk music tradition is a distinct reflection of the African American experience throughout the history of America. It is the individualized approach to storytelling, the societal and cultural influences upon the artist, and the function of the music for both the artist and community that has cultivated a legacy of core musical elements, values, and performance practice that exist within these diverse styles. This course will explore these characteristics through historical inquiry and practical application.

MUS 225: Instrumental Music: The Symphony from Haydn to Stravinsky

Consideration of the symphony from the eighteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century, in terms of musical procedures and cultural significance. Repertory studied includes symphonic voices beyond the traditional symphonic canon. The course is designed primarily for non-concentrators, and the ability to follow musical notation is helpful. The focus is on listening. Supplemental readings reinforce technical discussion and broaden historical context introduced in lectures.

MUS 230: Music in the Middle Ages

Introduction to European musical culture in the period 600-1400. The course is divided in the following main periods (1) chant in Carolingian and post-Carolingian Europe, (2) the Enchiriadis tradition of polyphony; (3) troubadours and trouvères, (4) Ars Antiqua, and (5) Ars Nova. The course will make intensive use of primary sources, scores, and will also feature an extensive playlist. The objective is to provide students with a thorough introduction in fully 800 years of music history.

MUS 238: Music of the Romantic Era

A survey of major styles, genres, and modes of performance in European art music from about 1814 to the 1890’s.

MUS 247: Cultural Appropriation in the Arts

This course explores the phenomenon of cultural appropriation through a wide lens. We analyze film, television, and music, with additional attention to “everyday” examples such as costumes, advertising, and cuisine. We scrutinize the familiar claim that respectful intentions negate power imbalances, and we explore questions of identity, ownership, representation, and authenticity.