Undergraduate

MPP 219: Opera Performance

This course will explore Mozart’s singspiel, Die Zauberflote. It is open to singers, orchestral players and 2 piano accompanists. The final project will be a full production of the opera with costumes, stage scenery, and orchestra. For this production, the musical selections will be performed in the original German language and the dialogue will be performed with revised/updated translation performed in English.

MPP 231: Princeton University Steel Band

Originating in the vibrant streets of Trinidad and Tobago, the steel pan has evolved into a global musical phenomenon, captivating hearts and minds with its unique melodies and infectious rhythms. In “Exploring the art of the Steel Pan,” you will embark on a journey through rich history, cultural significance, and global influence.Through a combination of lectures and hands-on rehearsals, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the instrument’s construction, playing techniques, and its role in various music genres, including calypso, reggae, pop, classical, and more.

MPP 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.

MPP 213: Projects in Instrumental Performance: Chamber Music

Instrumental chamber music of the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, both canonic and non-canonic. Preparation for performance of ensembles. Each ensemble’s repertoire will be determined in consultation with the instructors during the first week of classes. Students will be required to participate in a culminating performance on May 1, 2024, followed by a brief written assignment that is due on Dean’s Date.

MPP 216: Techniques of Conducting

The course focuses on four areas: 1. Preparation and Rehearsal (score study and analysis; developing interpretation; rehearsal planning), 2. Gesture (fundamentals; advanced essentials; the vocabulary of movement), 3. Sound and Repertoire (listening critically to the choral sound; constructing a value system for analyzing and creating sound; building a personal library of diverse and exciting choral repertoire), 4. Essence (What do we do? the art of non-verbal communication; sustaining a community of singers)

MPP 208: Music for Large Chamber Ensemble Drawn from Less-Performed Works

An exploration of music for large chamber ensemble of lesser performed repertoire. The course culminates with a Spring performance.

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 365: 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 338: Music in the Global Middle Ages

Moving from Baghdad to Paris, Jerusalem to Addis Ababa, Iceland to Dunhuang, this course examines the musical cultures of some of the most vibrant centers of the Middle Ages. We consider what it means to study medieval music “globally,” focusing on key moments of cultural contact (trade, pilgrimage, conflict), while remaining attuned to the particularities of specific places. Emphasis is on the physical traces of premodern music, and we encounter the distant musical past in a variety of materials and formats (paper manuscripts, papyrus fragments, parchment rolls, stone steles), meeting weekly in Special Collections.

MUS 344: The Ceremony is You

An exploration of ritual and ceremony as creative, interdisciplinary spaces imbued with intention and connected to personal and cultural histories. A broadening and deepening of knowledge around historical and contemporary ritual, ceremonial, and community-building practices of queer and trans artist communities from around the world, with a deeper focus on the extraordinary history of the queer trans shamans of early 20th century Korea.

MUS 348: Xulgaria: Music, Theatre and Contemporary Ritual Practice

This class will mount a developmental performance of the musical story-work “Xulgaria” inside an intensive ensemble setting. We will research classic Greek choruses and the Eleusinian Mystery rites and explore diaphonic singing. We will use multidisciplinary practices- theatre, experimental movement, symbol-making and more- to explore global mythologies of the “underworld” and devise performance and ritual that can provide a community container for discussing issues around mental health and healing. Performance experience is not required. All who are interested are encouraged to apply, as well as singers, instrumentalists and creatives.

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.

MUS 330: Composing for Film

Composing for Film is a hands-on, practical introduction to film scoring. The course is designed to help the students develop the skills required in a contemporary professional setting by modeling the assignments after a realistic scoring process. We will take a brief look at the rudiments of film scoring, then dive right into the main focus of the course – the electronic and compositional tools and techniques. All examples are drawn from media music from the 21st century.

MUS 308: Contemporary Music through Composition and Performance

Enrolled students will form a flexible composer/performer collective that will workshop new music being written over the course of the semester. By participating in a synergistic musical community, students will learn from each other through experimentation and collaborative refinement. In addition to exploring contemporary performance practice and composition techniques, a broad range of existing repertoire will be investigated to provide creative inspiration and analytical insight.

MUS 316: Computer and Electronic Music Composition

A composition workshop class, in the context of the modern sound studio and electronic music production. Emphasis will be on the student’s creative work, composing both electronic and electroacoustic pieces to be presented in class.

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, Carla Bley, 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 by professional musicians.

MUS 264: Urban Blues and the Golden Age of Rock

A survey of American popular music in the 1920s to 1960s. We will start with the early history of three major streams of music: Country & Western, Rhythm & Blues, and Popular music. The critical year in that history was 1954, when the streams fused into a volatile mixture that detonated with the birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll. From the beginning this was a story about race, politics, money, generational divides. The songs themselves will guide us on our path. And this course aims to guide our ears to a deeper understanding and appreciation of them.

MUS 306: Understanding Tonality

Music 306 will explore advanced tonal procedures from standard triadic harmony (modal and functional) to chromatic voice leading, nondiatonic scales and modes, and “playing outside.” We will study music by composers like Gesualdo, Strozzi, Chopin, Hensel, Wagner, Debussy, Clarke, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Coltrane, and Tyner. The text is my book A Geometry of Music (Oxford, 2011), supplemented by newer work extending those ideas.

MUS 259: Projects in West African Mande Drumming

A performance course in West African drumming with a focus on music from the
Manding/Mali Empire. Taught by master drummer Olivier Tarpaga, the course provides
hands-on experience on the Djansa rhythm. Students will acquire performance
experience, skills and techniques on the Djansa rhythm, and develop an appreciation for
the integrity of drumming in the 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 keeping jazz alive.

MUS 235: Operatic Cultures in Dialogue: An Introduction to Sinitic and Italian Opera

What makes a beautiful voice? How does spoken and sung language relate across cultural spaces? How are musical and bodily gestures codified differently across music theatrical traditions? This course takes a deep dive into these questions through a comparative exploration of two global manifestations of opera: Italian opera and Sinitic (Chinese-language) xiqu. We will consider such topics as gender and sexuality; nationalism and identity; scenic design, gesture and choreography; transmission and global circulation. Students will have the opportunity to attend at least one performance at the Metropolitan Opera or other venues in the area.

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 216: Music Production: Principles and Practices

An introduction to working with digital sound, from capture (microphone techniques), through processing (Digital Audio Workstations and mixing/signal processing techniques), to reproduction (speakers/headphones). Listening and ear training for sound production will be a central theme, with the aim of improving our ability to connect control parameters with perceptual experience. Broader questions about the relationships between production tools and the creative process will also be considered. Approach will be genre-agnostic, and principles and practices should be relevant regardless of aesthetic.