Spring 2021

MUS 228: Sound/Material/Mind

Sound is at once ephemeral in air, concrete in material, and conceptualized in the mind.
This unique quality makes sound ideal for examining the relationship of our internal
experience to physicality. In this course, students will reconsider sound as material
through projects exploring physical technologies of sound-making along with listening
and viewings of related arts and artists, readings and writings in theories of sound, new
media, and phenomenology. This class offers a hybrid experience-an engagement with
art-making and seminar, reconsidering our relationship to the body, physical material, and sound embodied in the world.

MUS 209B: Transformations in Engineering and the Arts

STC 209 examines ‘transformations’ within and between visuals, sound, structure and movement as art and engineering forms. The course explores generative art and design that leverages parallels and interplay between design processes in engineering and the arts. Students will learn to work as artist-engineers, and will create ambitious open-ended design projects exploring these themes. Taught by faculty from CST, COS, MUS, CEE along with visiting artists, and guest faculty from the Lewis Center for the Arts.

MUS 209A: Transformations in Engineering and the Arts

STC 209 examines ‘transformations’ within and between visuals, sound, structure and movement as art and engineering forms. The course explores generative art and design that leverages parallels and interplay between design processes in engineering and the arts. Students will learn to work as artist-engineers, and will create ambitious open-ended design projects exploring these themes. Taught by faculty from CST, COS, MUS, CEE along with visiting artists, and guest faculty from the Lewis Center for the Arts.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 248: Music Cognition

Music can get your feet tapping, trigger a cascade of memories, mire you in nostalgia, or leave you with an earworm. What happens when tools and ideas drawn from cognitive science are applied to understanding these experiences? What can music tell us about the human mind, and what can psychology and neuroscience tell us about music? MUS 248 provides an introduction to music cognition, paying special attention to potential and challenges that characterize work at the intersection of science, humanities, and the arts. Students gain experience posing their own questions at this intersection, and identifying appropriate methods to answer them.

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.

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 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.