Fall 2021 Graduate Seminars

Fall 2021 Graduate Seminars

MUSC540 301.    Composing with Performers.    
Anna Weesner.   Monday 145-445 p.m.   Lerner 101

The goal of this course is to explore and mine for possibilities the space between a score and the performance of a score. What do performers bring to a piece of music and how do composers best anticipate these possibilities? How much “room” for interpretation exists and how do composers capitalize on it? What is performance practice? The course will engage compositional techniques in connection with a wide of range of performance practices. In order to highlight and pursue elements of interpretation in music performance, students will coach performers in both old and new repertoire. The course will involve interactions with live performers, often Penn’s string quartet-in-residence, The Daedalus Quartet. Other topics may include notational solutions, the role of improvisation, aleatoric techniques, and music analysis. 

This seminar will meet weekly as scheduled.   Assignments will include listening, reading, score study, and composing.


Music 650 301.     Foundational Methods: Ethnographic and Anthropological Approaches
Jim Sykes
.           Wednesday 145-445 p.m. Lerner Conference Room

This course focuses on the ethics, politics, and practice of ethnography. Topics may include: fieldwork methods; collaborative practice; ethnography and the archive; power and subjectivity; multi-modal approaches; reciprocity and questions of accessibility;oral histories; experimental ethnography; and the politics of transcription, inscription, and translation. Students will begin to put these methodological ideas into practice by developing semester-long ethnographic projects. These projects can be individual or collaborative partnerships, and might also connect students to ongoing community-based research.

Additional Notes:  In addition to the above description (which is from the graduate handbook), I will add that this course has a dual function. On the one hand, it will serve as a general introduction to ethnomusicology for graduate students in musicin other words, it is intended as a high-level introduction to ethnomusicology for students who are not ethnomusicologists, while also covering essential themes and historical debates in the field for ethnomusicology students. On the other hand, the course will foreground ethnography, the method that has historically defined ethnomusicology and anthropology. We will consider some key debates about ethnography, particularly pertaining to ethics, representation, and multi-modal approaches. Each student will pursue a fieldwork project of their own design [assuming that the covid crisis is behind us].


Music 750 301.      Nineteenth Century Music
Jeffrey Kallberg.  
Thursday 145-445 p.m.   Lerner Conference room

The seminar will serve as an introduction to some aspects of historical research in western art music that would be of particular interest to ethnomusicologists and/or advanced undergraduates who are thinking of studying musicology in graduate school.  We will focus on the music of Chopin, working mainly with his mazurkas (I will provide each student with the Mazurkas volume from the new Polish national critical edition).  Through primary and secondary sources, we will explore a few different conceptual modules, including nationalism, exoticism, identity, gender/sexuality, and materiality.


Music 770 401        Sacred and Secular Black Musical Expression
Cory Hunter.          Friday  145-445 p.m.  Lerner Conference room

This seminar will examine the intersection of the sacred and the secular in black musical performance and expression. With black gospel music as the central focal point, we will examine the ways in which black sacred music and black church traditions have been in conversation with various secular forms of music and expression. Questions that will be raised throughout this seminar include: how do secular artists invoke the sacred on a secular platform? And conversely, how do gospel artists engage the secular and adjust their stylistic approach to have appeal beyond the confinements of the black church? We will examine the consequences that artists endure when attempting to expand beyond the rules of propriety associated with particular sacred/secular spaces. Additionally, we will consider how particular identity markers —i.e. race, gender, and sexual identity and expression—are implicated in the traversal of sacred and secular boundaries.


Music 998 001.     Composers' Forum
Tyshawn Sorey.   Wednesday 515-715. Lerner Room 102

Composers' Forum is a regular meeting of graduate composers, often along with other members of the Penn composing community, in which recent performances
are discussed, musical issues taken up, and visitors occasionally welcomed to present their work or offer master classes.  In addition to weekly Forum meetings, students will be paired with a composer for individual lessons in composition.  Ph.d. Candidates in Composition in their third year in the program will continue non-credit participation in both forum and lessons.