Fall 2021

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 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 204: Musical Instruments, Sound, Perception, and Creativity

Musical instruments reside at the intersection of varied topics: sound, perception, embodiment, music theory, social values, and more; how has their design influenced the development of music and how might they be reinvented to spur new ideas? We will explore these questions through readings, listening, analysis, labs, and composition. Specific topics include: harmony and the keyboard; tuning and temperament; preparing the piano, digital and analog. More generally, we will consider the productive tension between qualitative and quantitative understandings of musical concepts.

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 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 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 528: Seminar in Musicology: Professional Development

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

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 470: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities: Abandoned Women

This team-taught interdisciplinary seminar will trace the fates of a series of abandoned women in ancient literature, interweaving their story with responses in operatic and musical formats from the modern world. The seminar will investigate why this theme is so prominent in both the ancient and modern traditions, and it will concentrate on how opera transforms the plots and characters of drama and narrative.