Spring 2022

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 338: Music and Migration in the Caribbean

This seminar relates Caribbean music to historical and contemporary migratory issues. It examines questions of listening, memory, joy, diaspora, and the Anthropocene through genres like: son, bolero, calypso, salsa, reggae, merengue, bomba, and reggaeton. Attention to gender, sexual and racial inequities in portrayals of migrant cultures as symbolic of multiculturalism, while migrants are stigmatized as risks to security. Seminar speaks to current global context of displacement with focus on climate change’s impact on the Caribbean. We study music, sound, performance, literary, ethnographic and historical texts, visual arts, and journalism.

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 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 308: Contemporary Music through Composition and Performance

Student composers and performers create new works. We will cover a broad range of performance techniques and compositional approaches through analysis of 20th and 21st works. Focus points will include ways of approaching non-conventional notation, organizing principles based on timbre and gesture, and the role of interpretation and improvisation. Guests will visit throughout the semester to lead demonstrations on extended techniques and idiomatic writing for different families of instruments. Final concert of new works by students.

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 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: Winchester Polyphony, 850-1100

An examination of the Winchester organa, the most sophisticated examples of the dominant polyphonic tradition from 850 to 1100. This tradition was based on a fundamentally different conception of polyphony than the new (and lasting) tradition that emerged around 1100. Winchester-style polyphony vanished around the same time: it was an evolutionary dead end. The organa used to be regarded as undecipherable, since the voices are written in unheightened neumes. Yet in 1968 Andreas Holschneider published his brilliant discovery of their decipherment. We will transcribe and discuss selected organa along the principles he established.

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 268: Rhythm Tap Dance Lab: Explorations in Black Embodied and Electronic Music

Enrolled students will engage with this course as workshop cast members of a new interdisciplinary piece by Princeton Arts Fellow Michael J. Love and explore methods of rhythm tap dance performance, live electronic music composition, and practice-based research on Black American music (genres such as jazz, funk, soul, hip hop, techno, and house). In-studio class meetings, structured as rehearsals, will be augmented with weekly listening, viewing, and reading assignments. There may also be opportunities for guest artists and respondents. The course will culminate in a work-in-progress showing during the final weeks of the semester.

MUS 229: Music and Language

Music and language offer unique pathways into studying the human mind. This interdisciplinary course explores the parallels and differences between music and language by investigating their functions and structures, as well as the variety found in each across the globe. We will examine how both past experiences and cognitive processes shape perception in real time. Through a variety of interdisciplinary readings, guest lecturers, and hands-on activities, the course aims to highlight current lively debates and provide students with the background and tools needed to study the relationship between music and language from multiple perspectives.

MUS 267: Musical Theater Writing II

This upper level musical theater writing course will delve into the creation of new musical works for the stage, with an emphasis on music as an essential dramatic language. In the first half of the course, students will explore the fundamentals of music composition, including song structure, melody, harmony, and vocal writing. In the second, students will create and workshop 15-minute musicals, harnessing music as a tool to tell stories, illuminate character, and express ideas with impact and resonance. The workshop will culminate in a presentation of these short musicals-in-progress.

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.