Fall 2020 Graduate Seminars

MUSC 520-301 Alternative Approaches To Orchestration and Recomposition
Tyshawn Sorey  
M 02:00 PM-05:00 PM

Alternative approaches to Orchestration and Recomposition

This course will cover different ways in which composer-performers have deconstructed, reconstructed, and reorchestrated music using somewhat unusual instrumentations.  Some of this is historically based on the foundation of several artistic communities from the 1960's up until works of relatively recent vintage (some of which will contain improvisation, is completely notated, or entirely does away with the binary of improvisation and composition). Students will create original orchestrations of select pieces for themselves and/or seminar participants for an in-class performance to further emphasize community and how this plays a dominant role in composition.   [This course fulfills Ph.d. composition program Methods Requirement-Composing with Instruments]


MUSC 576-401 Anthromedialities: Experimental Theory and Practice
Steven Feld   
W 02:00 PM-05:00 PM

In recent years much has been made of the "beyond text" turn in anthropology, specifically the need to re-evaluate the singular authority of "writing culture." Several new approaches advocate for non-textual medialities, with representations originating in both sonovisual media and performance. Less, however, has been theorized and advocated about intermediality and the multicompositional practices of transmediality and plurimediality, specifically their more transgressive multisensory epistemology. This course will examine these radical approaches to interacting textual, visual, sonic and performative mediations, theorizing their epistemic and ethical implications, collaborative potentials, affordances in narrative and non-narrative representation, and political and aesthetic investments. Students will both critically engage histories of transmedial anthropology, and produce projects that are multicompositional.


MUSC 604-401 Historiography&Method
Mauro P. Calcagno  
F 02:00 PM-05:00 PM

Historiography&Method:  Performance Studies In this seminar we will explore the historiographies and methodologies of performance studies, opera/dance studies, and theater/drama studies, in their collisions, collusions, and resonances. The term performance “signals “a ‘broad spectrum’ or ‘continuum’ of human actions ranging from ritual, play, life performances  . . . to the enactment of social, professional, gender, race, and class roles, and on to healing . . . the media, and the internet” (R. Schechner). We will read work by, among others, B. Brecht, A. Artaud, V. Turner, M. Carlson, W.B. Worthen, J. Rancière, J.L. Austin, J. Butler, R. Schneider, E. Fischer-Lichte, H.-T. Lehmann, G. Didi-Huberman, N. André, N. Eidsheim, A. Cavarero, K. Thurman, N. Cook, C. Abbate, D. Levin, J. Novak, and S. McClary--dealing with topics such as agency, performativity, time, materiality, technology and mediation, multimodality, spectatorship, voice, embodiment, dance/movement,  the “Baroque,” reconstruction and re-enactment, theatricality, intercultural and postdramatic approaches. Although we will focus on performance works by, among others, R. Wilson, P. Sellars, E. LeCompte, P. Bausch, T. Brown, A. T. De Keersmaeker, W. Kentridge, E. Montanari, and R. Castellucci, students are encouraged to share their own case studies. And although, for assignments, we will initially experiment with adopting existing methodologies, for their required final project (a min. twenty-page paper) students are expected to elaborate their own critical categories in order to research performance objects selected not exclusively within the province of opera/dance/theater but also within the range of possibilities investigated by performance studies in general. [This course is one of four offerings that satisfy Ph.d. program Method requirement-Historical and Historiographic Approaches.]


MUSC 700-301  Seminar in Composition
Melissa Dunphy/James T Primosch     
R 02:00 PM-05:00 PM

Wozzeck and AfterThis course will look in depth at an essential opera of the 20th century - Wozzeck - as well as two 21st century works: L'Amour du loin and Written on Skin. We will supplement our study of these works with examination of excerpts from other 20th and 21st century operas. These excerpts may be selected from operas by Adams, Birtwistle, Britten, Harbison, Haas, Kurtag, Mazzoli, Messiaen, Stockhausen, Tippett, and others. Our hope is to gain insight regarding 20th and 21st century compositional practices with attention to the particular challenges presented by creating a large-scale work of musical theatre.


MUSC 705-301 Sem in Ethnomusicology
Carol Ann Muller   T 01:30 PM-04:30 PM

We are living in times of enormous stress and anxiety with the global COVID-19 pandemic, economic uncertainty, climate anxiety and so forth.  This semester we will consider how mind/emotions/body respond to such challenges, and how we might use music/the arts to foster self and community understanding, resilience, and find a place of well being and strength through musical/artistic expression as a response to the contemporary conditions.  The seminar takes a close look at the neuroscience of trauma, the relationship between emotions and the brain, and we will think through the work of music and artistic practices more generally, as mechanisms for countering the sense of feeling overwhelmed in the contemporary world.  We will read and think about deep listening, trends in personal music listening through earbuds, the work of creativity, performance, ritual, spirituality, and artistic expression both in our own communities, and comparatively in the world at large. This is a seminar that will include thinking, doing, making, perhaps performing, maybe even composing.  You will have the freedom to choose the process.


MUSC 750-301    Stds Romantic Music
Jeffrey L Kallberg   
R 02:00 PM-05:00 PM

This seminar will explore relationships between Chopin’s music and diseases (and diseased states) of his time.  It will consider what we can reconstruct both of Chopin’s own principles of composition and of perceptions of this music during his life.  It will examine these musical perceptions in connection with burgeoning medical and scientific literature that may present a partial conceptual grounding for Chopin’s music.

We will pay special attention to the possible connections between certain stylistic tics of Chopin that grew more common in the last third of his compositional career and the pathological state of monomania, which was a particularly prevalent medical diagnosis in Chopin’s time.  We will navigate between intensive discussions of Chopin’s music and close readings of primary and secondary literature relating to 19th-century pathological states.  The seminar sessions will be conducted in English.  Readings will be primarily in English and French, but Polish participants will be invited to explore any relevant Polish medical and scientific literature that relates to our topic.

Students will research individual topics related to the general theme of the seminar, with the goal of writing a 20-minute paper that will be read during a special session at the International Chopinological Congress to be held in Warsaw, Poland, 1-4 December 2020.