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 263: Arranging and Composing for Large Jazz Ensemble

In this course, we’ll explore key concepts in arranging, orchestrating, and composing for large jazz ensemble through close study of representative works by important composers and arrangers, including Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Mary Lou Williams, Gil Evans, Melba Liston, Bill Holman, Frank Foster, Bob Brookmeyer, Thad Jones, Carla Bley, Kenny Wheeler, Maria Schneider, and others, and develop strategies for writing idiomatically for large jazz ensembles of between 13-20 musicians. The final project is an original arrangement or composition for large ensemble, recorded remotely by Princeton faculty and other professionals.

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 314: Computer and Electronic Music through Programming, Performance, and Composition

An introduction to the fundamentals of computer and electronic music. The music and sound programming language ChucK, developed here at Princeton, will be used in conjunction with Max/MSP, another digital audio language, to study procedural programming, digital signal processing and synthesis, networking, and human-computer interfacing.

MUS 340: Advanced Concepts in Jazz Improvisation: Creating Fresh Vocabulary

This course will help students to develop new approaches as an improviser via transcribing solos of various jazz icons and analyzing their melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic content. We will also implement analytical tools from modern classical music (not typical used in jazz) and discuss how these techniques can be reverse-engineered to create fresh ideas and new modalities in how we organize improvisational scenarios. We will also be engaged by classroom visits of contemporary jazz luminaries who will discuss their unique approaches to improvisation.

MUS 345: Songs and Songwriting

This class will explore the art, craft, mystery and magic of writing songs. We will focus primarily on musical aspects of song writing including the marriage of words and music. We will seek insights from a wide selection of music ranging from popular songs to opera arias to unclassifiable outliers. We will establish a regular working rhythm and mutual interdependence of listening, analyzing, and creating with the ultimate goal being to write better songs.

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 513: Topics in 19th- and Early 20th-Century Music: Shostakovich and His World

Analysis of the music, career, and cultural context of Dmitri Shostakovich, the leading Soviet composer and the musician most associated with the Stalinist era. The seminar considers the range of influences on his early style, his political misfortunes in the 1930s and 1940s, his pivot from theatrical composition to symphonies and string quartets, the literary sources of his songs, and the challenges of interpreting post-tonal music.

MUS 527: Seminar in Musicology

An Introduction to Ethnomusicology: This seminar introduces participants to the academic study of ethnomusicology by considering and evaluating the last decade of Alan P. Merriam Prize winners.

MUS 528: Seminar in Musicology: Professional Development

This seminar explores the professional context of work in music studies.

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 focuses on composing for the electric guitar in general and more specifically for the Dither guitar quartet. Dither makes several visits during the course of the term to rehearse sketches and ultimately perform finished works.

MUS 548: Creative Practice in Cultural Perspective: Crossing Cultural Boundaries in the Arts

Appreciation or appropriation? Admiration or exploitation? Does the artist have the necessary expertise? Did they ask permission? This seminar considers questions raised by the crossing of artistic-cultural borders. We consider examples not only of music, but also of music video, opera, fiction, film, and television¿all taking into account participants¿ own interests and concerns. Pushing beyond familiar colloquial ¿scripts,¿ such as the assertion that respectful intentions negate power imbalances, we explore questions of identity, ownership, representation, and authenticity.

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 the basic elements of Western music — rhythm, pitch, melody, harmony, form — and historically significant styles and genres of composition. The course includes lectures on the symphony, ballet, and opera.

MUS 105: Music Theory through Performance and Composition

MUS 105 is an introduction to music theory concentrating on harmony but also examining rhythm, melody and timbre. Though its focus will principally be on functional tonality, as it manifests itself in the common-practice period of classical music, we will also examine modal music and tonal/modal harmony in other musics such as rock and folk, and there will be a unit on African Rhythm. After a review of the rudiments, we will proceed to examining harmonic function, voice-leading, form and model composition. The course is designed to help you develop your understanding of music, analyze existing musical works, and compose your own.

MUS 203: The Great Conductors; the Canonic Repertory

Overview of how the great orchestral conductors not the recorded era shaped musical performance practices historically. Time will be budgeted to see how women and minority conductors have fared in their careers.

MUS 240: Musical Modernism 1890-1945

An in-depth survey of music in Europe and America between 1890 and 1945, focusing on Symbolism, Expressionism, and Neoclassicism, and on such composers as Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky, Scott Joplin, the Second Viennese School and Les Six.

MUS 246: Projects in African Dance Drumming

A performance course in African dance drumming with a focus on West African Dundun drumming and dance. Taught by composer and master drummer Olivier Tarpaga, the course provides hands-on experience on Manding and Afrobeat rhythms. Students will acquire performance experience, skills and techniques on the Kenkeni, Sangban and Dundumba drums. Students will develop an appreciation of the rhythmic physicality of dundun drumming in West African societies.

MUS 261: Introduction to Jazz Arranging, Composition and Harmony

In this course, we’ll examine how horizontal activity (melody) in multiple voices generates vertical structure (harmony), and how horizontal and vertical activity combine to yield musical architecture (form). We’ll explore the building blocks of melody, harmony, counterpoint, rhythm, and form using practical examples, exercises, transcriptions, 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. 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 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: Righting Wrong Notes

The Topic of MUS 534 is “Righting Wrong Notes”. This seminar begins with the notion of ‘blue’ note – pitches that stand out as particularly expressive – and extends to ‘wrongitude’ in other realms more generally. Instead of normalizing perceived outliers as grammatically normative ‘flat seventh,’ ‘part of a referential w,x,y,z tetrachord’, ‘inevitable’ their disruptive nature is celebrated as intentional and a focus of inquiry.

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.