Fall 2017 Graduate Seminars

Music 508 001,Musicianship, James Primosch, (meeting time to be scheduled)  

The instructor will assess each student’s abilities at the beginning of the course and will structure the curriculum accordingly, covering skills in tonal repertoires as needed. Examples of the eventual goals for the course would ideally include the ability to:

- take down two part atonal melodic dictations

- tap out the rhythms of an Elliott Carter timpani piece

- sing atonal melodies in treble or bass clefs, or tonal melodies in C clefs, 

- aurally identify the harmonies of a work by Bartok or Britten. 

- take down Bach chorales in harmonic dictations


Music 520 301, Orchestration, James Primosch, Tuesdays 2:00 to 5:00  p.m., Room 210 Lerner Center

If necessary, course will include review of fundamental concepts.

Students will complete projects including:

- piano reduction of major 20th century orchestral work

- orchestration of one or more standard 20th century piano works

- analytical presentations on 20th and 21st century works for orchestra, with emphasis on recent pieces

 - composition of short etudes for individual instruments, which will be played in class.


Music 601 301, Gothic Notes: Music, Manuscripts, and Notation in the 13th Century, Mary Caldwell, Tuesday 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., Bodek Seminar Room, Van Pelt Library

The long 13th century in Europe, a period famous for the emergence of Gothic art and architecture, embraced rapid changes in music—its notation, form, style, function, and manuscript transmission. In this proseminar, we will explore the material, theoretical, and notational implications of the Gothic period in music, also known as the ars antiqua. Questions we will ask concern the relationships between sound and notation, polyphony and memory, manuscript and performer, rhythm and meaning, form and genre, theory and practice, authorship and anonymity, and the materiality vs. ephemerality of music on the page. Seminar readings will range broadly across disciplines, including musicology, medieval history, art history, religious studies, manuscript studies, sound studies, and material culture studies. Although focusing primarily on the ars antiqua, we will devote the first seminar meeting to developing a broader familiarity with medieval notational systems and the history of the manuscript (music) book. 

Through hands-on work with primary sources (manuscripts, facsimiles, and theory treatises), a large portion of the proseminar will be devoted to questions emerging from the interrelated fields of codicology, paleography, notation, philology, transcription, and editing. Critical engagement with sources from a variety of perspectives will culminate in four projects spread over the course of the semester, each focusing on a different “Gothic” genre (conductusorganum, motet, and chanson), its notation, and manuscript context(s). In other words, this proseminar provides numerous close-up (even intimate) encounters with the materiality of thirteenth-century music.  


Music 700 301, Seminar in Composition, James Matheson, Wednesday 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., Van Pelt Library, Marion Anderson Seminar room.

Designed for composers, this seminar will focus on 21st Century composition, and orchestral composition in particular. Through the examination of works by living composers and regular exercises students will develop their craft and practical understanding of composing for the modern symphony orchestra. During the latter half of the semester students will focus on a larger project, most likely a sort original work for orchestra.


Music 705 401,  Seminar in Ethnomusicology, Carol Muller, CANCELLED.


Music 730 401, Monteverdi at 450: From Madrigal to Opera (Text/Performance), Mauro Calcagno, Friday 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., Van Pelt Library, Marian Anderson Seminar Room, Crosslisted with Italian Studies




The seminar will examine two large-scale secular works by Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643): the monumental collection Madrigali guerrieri et amorosi, libro ottavo (1638) which includes the Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda (Tasso), the Lamento della ninfa, the Ballo delle ingrate (Rinuccini) as well as settings of Petrarch, Marino, and Guarini; and the opera L’incoronazione di Poppea (1643) on a libretto by the Venetian poet G.F. Busenello. These works will be approached both as historical objects, by focusing on issues of authoriality, narrativity and materiality, and as scripts for today’s performances and revisitations (including in film and dance), by focusing on issues of mediality, theatricality and gender. Among the goals of the seminar: to elaborate hypotheses on the two works’ internal organizations, to conceptualize performances (either existing or speculative), and to critically relate both texts and performances with historiographical and theoretical notions of Baroque, early modernity, postmodernity, performativity, reenactment, and the postdramatic.

Music 780 301, Voice, Vocality, Vociferation.   Jairo Moreno, Thursday 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., Lerner Music Center Seminar Room



Few things gather so much critical and performative energies as “voice.” Consider for instance the perennial disjunctions and conjunctions proclaimed in the name of speech/writing, orality/aurality, reason/emotion, articulate/inarticulate language, intelligibility/unintelligibility, sonority/textuality, political exclusion/political voice, among many other possible dualisms. Consider also the debates around the ardent powers of embodied vocality and vocal performatives against their presumably more tempered deconstruction, as well as the arguments for and against vocal materiality and/or objecthood. We might well claim that our ongoing concern with communication, expression, and mediation begins with voice, with its conditions of possibility (vocality), and with the multitude of sonorous forms it may take (vociferation). Small wonder, then, that so many disciplines have a stake on the matter—music studies, sound studies, media and communication, philosophy, political theory, psychoanalysis, anthropology, literature, etc.—, that so many analytics have been proposed—structuralist, semiotic, poststructuralist, feminist, post– and decolonial, queer, feminist, etc.—, and that so many social concerns—race, class, gender, posthuman, animality—have emerged in its wake. 

The seminar takes a topical approach to its subjects as a way to map some of the conceptual they have received, with a particular focus on their political and social claims. Topics include, “logos and aurality,” “subjectivity,” “non-articulate vociferation (tone, laughter, sobbing, e.g.),” “vocality and political representation,” “nonhuman vocality,” and “mediation,” “ecologies of voice and language,” “new operatic vocalities,” among others. Readings from music, voice, sound, and media and communication studies, anthropology, philosophy, political theory.