MUS 520: Topics in Music from 1600 to 1800: J.S. Bach in the Twenty-first Century

How do we listen, analyze, and think about the music of J.S. Bach in the twenty-first century? Bach scholarship, foundational for the development of musicology as a discipline, has long been somewhat conservative, focusing primarily on sources, chronology, performance practice, and biography. This seminar focuses on recent efforts by scholars to ‘rethink’ and ‘rehear’ the music of Bach. The primary text is the forthcoming volume Rethinking Bach, edited by Bettina Varwig, which introduces new trends and allow us to dive deeply into his music. We also explore the many primary sources in the Princeton University Library.

MUS 527: Seminar in Musicology

How can we understand the momentous changes to music and musical practices worldwide attendant on digitization and digital media? This seminar (co-taught by UCL Professor and Princeton Global Scholar Georgina Born and Gavin Steingo) takes Born’s forthcoming edited volume, Music and Digital Media: A Planetary Anthropology, as its point of departure and as a way to begin answering the question. We explore the relationship between music and digital media in a manner at once geographically broad and theoretically cross-disciplinary.

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

This course considers the topic of translation and transformation in musical composition from a number of angles: translating psycho-acoustic phenomena into musical material and processes, such as taking a spectrum as a model; translating ideas from outside music and transforming ideas from other musics or instrumentations. We examine this topic both practically and philosophically, also considering the potential ethical issues surrounding such translations.

MUS 223: The Ballet

A history of ballet from its origins in the French courts through its development into a large-scale theatrical spectacle in the 19th century and its modernist re- and de-formation. Emphasis will be placed on seminal dancers, choreographers, and composers, nationalist tradition, and socio-political context.

MUS 226: Instrumental Music: The Concerto

An exploration of the concerto genre from its beginnings in the late 17th century to the present. The repertory will be considered in terms of musical procedures, styles, and cultural significance. The repertory studied will include familiar and unfamiliar works, including Vivaldi, Bach, the Chevalier de Saint-George, Mozart, Clara Schumann, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Price and others.

MUS 232: Music in the Renaissance

General historical survey of European Art Music in the period 1400-1600, covering such composers as Dufay, Ockeghem, Josquin, Byrd, Palestrina, Lasso, etc.

MUS 242: Music After Modernism, 1945 to the Present

A survey of concert music from the middle of the twentieth century through the present day. During this time, Eurocentric models gave way to a dizzyingly diverse array of styles and attitudes, calling the very identity of concert music into question. Topics include high modernism; experimental explorations; noise and silence; technology; spirituality; music for film and dance; interculturalism and cultural appropriation; commodification; acoustic ecology; politics; and identity and diversity. We ask, where does concert music ‘fit’ in today’s cultural landscape? What is its nature, and where do its boundaries lie? And whose music is it?

MUS 245: Practices and Principles of Rhythm

This class is centered on the exploration of rhythmic practices and organizational principles in a wide variety of musical contexts: West African Drumming, European Classical Music, Caribbean Traditional Music, American Pop Music, Jazz and Contemporary Experimental Music. The course will toggle between two major components: 1 – “Hands-On” performance practice 2 – Analysis and comparison of organizational principles of rhythm in a variety of musical traditions.

MUS 259: Projects in West African Mande Drumming

Performance course in West African drumming with focus on music from Mandé Empire (Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Senegal.) Taught by master drummer and exponent of Mogo Kele Foli drumming technique. Course provides hands-on experience on two instruments, Djembe and Dun dun. Students acquire performance experience, skills and techniques on Wassolon and Diansa, and develop appreciation for integrity of drumming in daily life of West Africa.

MUS 262: Jazz History: Many Sounds, Many Voices

This course will examine the musical, historical, and cultural aspects of jazz throughout its entire history, looking at the 20th century as the breeding ground for jazz in America and beyond. During this more than one hundred year period, jazz morphed and fractured into many different styles and voices, all of which will be considered. In addition to the readings, the course will place an emphasis on listening to jazz recordings, and developing an analytical language to understand these recordings. A central goal is to understand where jazz was, is, and will be in the future, examining the musicians and the music that has kept jazz alive.

MUS 103: Introduction to Western Music

MUS 103 is an introduction to “Western” music, involving works from around 1200 to the present. The course explains basic musical elements — rhythm, pitch, melody, harmony, form — and historically significant styles and genres of composition. The course includes lectures on the symphony, ballet, opera, and jazz.

MUS 106: Music Theory through Performance and Composition

A continuation of Music 105, with an emphasis on the harmonic and formal principles of classical music. MUS 106 casts its net wider than MUS 105, also considering the various guises of tonality and modality in Medieval, Renaissance, Romantic, Modern and Minimalist music.

MUS 203: The Great Conductors; the Canonic Repertory

Overview of how the great orchestral conductors not the recorded era shaped musical performance practices historically. Special attention will be paid to investigate how women and minority conductors have fared in their careers.

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, individually and collectively. Several short projects during the semester, final composition at the end of the semester.

MUS 528: Seminar in Musicology: Current Topics in Empirical Musicology

This seminar engages students with current tools, questions, debates, and methods in empirical musicology. The course is designed so that, no matter what the student’s primary research interest in musicology, they come away from the class with ideas about how empirical approaches do or could interface with their material.

MUS 531: 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

This seminar examines various ways we tell stories using music or in musical contexts with an examination of subtext and text. It will be co-taught by Profs. Donnacha Dennehy and Nathalie Joachim.

MUS 537: Points of Focus in 20th-Century Music

The seminar title is Audio Production for Composers. A hands-on, workshop class aimed at developing a rich and multifaceted approach to audio production for a diverse range of aesthetic practices. Topics include: recording strategies and microphones; home studio setup; DAWs; mixing and production techniques (including mixing, equalization, compression, reverb, and distortion); production as part of the “home studio” creative process; working with professional engineers/studios and planning recording sessions; and more. Weekly dives into ear-training with audio tools and personal projects/practices. Possible studio visits and engineer guests.

MUS 560: Music Cognition Lab

Under the direction of a faculty member, and in collaboration with an interdisciplinary group of students, visitors, and postdocs, the student carries out a one-semester research project chosen jointly by the student and the faculty. Open to any graduate student in Music, this course provides a hands-on opportunity to learn the tools, skills, methods, and perspectives of music cognition research.

MUS 513: Topics in 19th- and Early 20th-Century Music: Russian Ballet

An analysis of the construction, music, dance, and sociopolitical context of Russian ballet from the time of St. Leon through Petipa, the Ballets Russes, and Balanchine.

MUS 261: Introduction to Jazz Arranging, Composition and Harmony

In this course, we’ll explore the building blocks of melody, harmony, counterpoint, rhythm, and form using practical examples from the jazz literature, exercises, transcriptions, presentations, and composition/arranging projects as a means to internalize concepts. We’ll examine representative works by important jazz composers and arrangers, and develop strategies for writing idiomatically for jazz ensembles of up to 9 musicians.

MUS 300: Junior Seminar

This course introduces students to key methodological, technical, creative, and disciplinary issues entailed in the study and making of music. 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 310: Advanced Workshop in Musical Composition

A composition course for independent, self-directed composers. Most of the class will be spent working on a single piece. Students will present their work-in-progress to the class weekly or biweekly depending on enrollment. We will have a concert of final projects at the end of the semester, with all student pieces to be performed by So Percussion, the music department’s world-renowned ensemble-in-residence.