MPP 298: Independent Instruction in Voice or Instrument (Non-credit)

Independent instruction in voice or instrument is an intensive immersion in all aspects of recreating music for performance. Lessons are geared towards the development and embedding of solid technique, and the application of this technique to proper style and musical expression. Issues explored include but are not limited to interpretation, stylistic appropriateness, historical context, theoretical/syntactical underpinnings, the avoidance of injuries, audition and performance strategies, and career planning.

MPP 213: Projects in Instrumental Performance: Chamber Music

Instrumental chamber music class of the standard repertory of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Preparation for performance of ensembles. Each ensemble’s repertoire will be determined in consultation with the instructors during the first week of classes.

MPP 219: Opera Performance

This is a workshop course, taught by conductor Gabriel Crouch and director Mark deChiazza, focusing on the new opera Olagón, composed by Dan Trueman with text by Paul Muldoon. 8-12 students will form a ‘vocal consort’ which will form a central character in the opera, with other roles filled by various visiting artists including Iarla Ó Lionáird (voice). There will also be places on the course for a small instrumental ensemble.

MPP 231: Princeton University Steel Band

The course will teach students the basics of playing the steel drum as well as delve deeply into the historical context behind the development of the steel drum as the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago.

MPP 252: Jazz Fundamentals II

This 12-week performance course builds on MPP 251 to work toward fluency in the language of jazz and the navigation of standard song forms through the study of classic improvisations. The course will focus on developing listening acuity, vocabulary, memory, analysis, and historical grasp of the music’s evolution in the mid 20th century. By the end of the course, students should be able to improvise through a variety of forms with technical competence and confidence in their ability to produce melodies spontaneously.

MUS 435: Music and Narrative

This seminar explores a host of questions surrounding music’s capacity to convey and shape narratives. Students will engage critically with literature from psychology, musicology, music theory, and media studies to make sense of narrative perceptions of music–when they arise, why, and what it means for broader theories of communication. The class will consider narrative perceptions in a host of different contexts, including instrumental music, song, film music, and video game music.

MUS 330: Advanced Concepts in Rhythm

Rhythm is music’s heartbeat, vital yet largely invisible to academic discourse. In this class, we will think about rhythm theoretically, analytically, and creatively. The class alternates between theoretical discussions and analytical “case studies” of Western and non-Western music. Since rhythm must be understood with the body, each class will include a hands-on component, to help students embody concepts through performance tricks and techniques related to rhythmically challenging music.

MUS 343: Music through Fiction

The aphorism that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture” frames musical writing as an act of absurdity. Yet write about music we do. Focusing on works of fiction that turn musical experience into literary experience and back again, this course explores music writing as a creative activity. How do we write compellingly about the sides of music that seem most technical, hermetic, or ineffable? Can we consider fictional accounts of “real” music to be works in criticism or analysis? How can reading fiction deepen our musical attention, and how do we analyze music in a way that reflects the imaginative endeavor of listening?

MUS 344: The Expanded Voice

Within the realm of composed music rooted in European traditions, vocal performance tends to be associated with a particular kind of singing often referred to as operatic, classical or bel canto. The 20th and 21st centuries have seen composers and vocalists expanding vocal technique and color beyond this particular approach to singing. This course explores how the voice has expanded through the use of “extended techniques” and influences from folk, non-Western and popular music. We will also examine composed music written specifically for singers working outside of the Western classical realm.

MUS 346: Music and the Early Modern Soundscape: London, Rome, Vienna

What was the soundscape of urban life in Rome, Vienna, and London in the 16th-18th centuries? How might early modern listeners have experienced the sounds of everyday life on the streets (such as carnival celebrations and religious processions) or indoors (theaters, convents, churches)? This course explores historical sound in three remarkable cities whose unique acoustic contexts and expressions of organized sound (music and otherwise) allow us to study the intersections between noise and music within architecture and urban space. Class outings will also include interactions with local soundscapes, trips to concerts, and museums.

MUS 270: Medieval and Renaissance Music from Original Notation

In an age before musical notation, Isidore of Seville could claim that unless sounds are remembered by man they perish, for they cannot be written down. The history of medieval and Renaissance music is largely entwined with the development of a technology that would prove him wrong: the ability to preserve sound in writing. This class explores the profound impact notation had on European musical culture c. 900-1600, from the emergence of musical literacy, to shifting ontologies of sound, authorship, and musical creativity. We learn to sing from dozens of early notations, and use replica tools and techniques to notate our own manuscripts.

MUS 299: Independent Instruction in Voice or Instrument

Independent instruction in voice or instrument is an intensive immersion in all aspects of recreating music for performance. Lessons are geared towards the development and embedding of solid technique, and the application of this technique to proper style and musical expression. Issues explored include but are not limited to interpretation, stylistic appropriateness, historical context, theoretical/syntactical underpinnings, the avoidance of injuries, audition and performance strategies, and career planning.

MUS 311: Jazz Theory through Improvisation and Composition I

An exploration of the melodic, harmonic and rhythmic principles of the bebop paradigm. The course includes analysis of representative works by various jazz masters and will place a strong emphasis on student projects in improvisation, transcription, analysis and composition.

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 326: How to Build a Ballet from Archival Sources

The seminar is dedicated to the reconstruction of ballets of the 19th century with emphasis on Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Our task is to understand the composition and staging of a select group of ballets from the essential primary source materials, both those that reflect the work of 19th century balletmasters (Saint-Leon, Bournonville, Gansen, and Petipa) and the institutions with which they were affiliated. The course will include visits from the dance notation experts Doug Fullington, Lynn Weber, and Rhonda Ryman, and trips to NYCB and ABT rehearsals and/or productions.

MUS 106: Music Theory through Performance and Composition

A continuation of Music 105, with an emphasis on the harmonic and formal principles of Western classical music. Some topics from the 20th century will be covered toward the end of the term.

MUS 206: Tonal Syntax

An introduction to the syntactic structure of the music of the 18th and 19th centuries through exercises in analysis and composition.

MUS 210: Beginning Workshop in Musical Composition

A composing workshop that fosters students’ individual interests within a community of composer-peers. Our starting point is concert music (i.e., ‘contemporary classical’), but what that means in the current day is open to question. We’ll consider traditional concerns such as syntax, form, and instrumentation, but will also open our ears to experimental approaches, improvised adventures, non-traditional instruments. Perhaps we will discover music in the falling of snow, or in a voice mail message, or somewhere no one has thought of yet. The primary work is composing one’s own music, with a concert of student works in lieu of a final exam.

MUS 225: Instrumental Music: The Symphony from Haydn to Stravinsky

Consideration of the symphony from the mid-eighteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, both in terms of musical procedures & cultural significance. The course is designed primarily for non-concentrators. The focus will be on intensive listening, minimal ability to follow musical notation helpful.

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 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 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? This course will provide an introduction to music cognition, emphasizing the potential and the challenges that characterize work at the intersection of science, the humanities, and the arts. Students will gain experience posing their own questions at this intersection, and identifying appropriate methods to answer them.

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 266: Music and Society in France, c.1750 to the Present

From the singing entertainments of Parisian café-concerts, to the historical revisions of grand opera, to the social critiques of banlieue rappers, music has been central to the cultural and social developments of the French nation. This course explores a survey of music across many genres – opera, concert music, sacred music, song, dance music, folk, rock, rap – to investigate how music participated in, shaped, and fueled many debates in French society from the Enlightenment onwards.