Fall 2023

MUS 300: Junior Seminar

This course introduces students to key methodological, technical, creative, and disciplinary issues entailed in the study of and making of music. Weekly assignments will include readings of current or influential scholarship; writing, editing, and composition projects; attendance at selected department concerts or colloquia. Classes will also include guest lecturers and visits to area libraries. Students will be encouraged to participate in the department mentoring program.

MUS 249: Introduction to Music for Film and the Moving Image

We will consider the art of music for the moving image. We will look at historic examples, scoring styles and techniques, and the choices that directors and composers make. We will begin by looking at the basic elements of film and music. Then we will consider the role of genre and style, focusing especially on early Hollywood and Russian filmmakers. Finally, we will look at a range of modern scoring techniques.

MUS 221: History of Western Choral Music

A survey of vocal literature (excluding opera) from the fifteenth century to the present day. Lectures focus on representative works that illustrate historical developments in musical style, vocal texture, and text-music relationships; attention is also given to choral music’s role as an institution of social engagement, an expression of collective identity, and the societal ability to rejoice, celebrate, critique, and mourn on an impersonal level.

MUS 105: Music Theory through Performance and Composition

Music 105 introduces foundational elements of music making, while considering relevant contextual information like form, function, and identity. A broad and inclusive range of musical genres from around the world will be examined in equal measure to help develop holistic insight into how and why music works. The course is designed to strengthen your ability to analyze a wide variety of existing music from the past and present, and gain new approaches to composing your own. The emphasis is firmly on the practical application of the concepts we encounter within music, rather than an abstract understanding of limited musical methods.

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. Group work and discussion are central. Several short “sketches” during the semester, final composition at the end of the semester.

MUS 205: Species Counterpoint

A hands-on, practical course in 16th-century (primarily sacred) vocal music composition. The motivations are numerous: the music is beautiful and pre-functional. In a tonal sense, it provides rich perspective historically, technically, and conceptually upon music of later centuries, including our own. Learning to compose in the style is a deep and challenging way to understand it, and understanding is meaningful beyond the confines of the music itself. In addition to composing, we will spend time singing music from the period and your own projects. This helps us get the sound of the music into our ears and bodies.