Fall 2022 Graduate Seminars

Fall 2022 Graduate Seminars



Music 6230 301.       Composing with Performers
Tyshawn Sorey.        Monday 515-814 p.m. Lerner Room 102

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. 


Music 6300 301          Gender, Sexuality, and Early Music: 20 Years Later
Mary C Caldwell.        Wednesday  145-444 p.m.  Lerner Conference room

This seminar considers the intersection of gender, sexuality, and music in the European Middle Ages, revisiting twenty years after its  2002 publication the same concepts and methodologies explored in an edited collection by Todd M. Borgerding, Gender, Sexuality, and Early Music. By contrast to the chronologically later focus of that volume on the 16th-18th centuries, we will focus chiefly on music and music making between the 10th to 15th centuries. In addition to exploring what the last twenty years have offered in musicology, we will engage with rich scholarship emerging in medieval studies on gender, sexuality, and the queering of the Middle Ages, as well as with contemporary theoretical frameworks outside of music and medieval studies.     


Music 7330 301.           Music, Books, Power
Glenda Goodman.        Monday 145-4:44 p.m.  Lerner Conference room

This seminar takes as its objects of study music books. Or rather, “books,” for we will explore all manner of material texts that represent the intersection of inscription and sound. We will focus on the eighteenth-century Atlantic World, a period and place in which mass print ramped up but did not replace prior formats, and a period in which published music was the critical locus for questions of ownership, authorship, creativity, taste, and various forms of power. Students will become conversant with musicological scholarship on music and print, with interdisciplinary scholarship on book history and critical bibliography, as well as work in feminist bibliography, format studies, material culture studies and the study of “things”. Core questions for the course include: how do material artefacts themselves present evidence though which we can assess their musical, cultural, and social impacts on people in the past? How did technology and human agents interact in the making and using of music books? What roles did various actors—performers, composers, audiences, publishers and printers—play in the creation and circulation of music books? And how does the “bookification” of music, its distribution in tangible, material form, bear upon questions of value and meaning in music? 


Music 7700 301.         Liminologies
Jairo Moreno.             Tuesday 145-445 p.m.  Lerner Conference room

Few matters are as perplexing at the present conjuncture than the coexistence of two radically opposing tendencies: on the one hand, a ferocious and militant commitment to identity and the shoring up of clearly defined and unmovable limits between things, and, on the other, an equally passionate and urgent commitment to relationality and the constant traversal and/or erasure of limits between things, an “age of entanglement” (Mbembe 2017). Consider disciplinary objects. For Music Studies, no barrier more formidable exists than the fact that something called music exists and that, no matter how finely contextualized “culturally” and “historically,” it holds an unquestionable central place in our work. Music Studies, one might say, begins with this axiom and only then seeks to establish relations that attend to its object’s existence, persistence, and, these days, possible subsistence. Sound Studies confronts a nearly opposite situation, its object famously under question, open and relational—in fact, often serving as a model for relationality as such. Scholars and practitioners then endeavor to identify the specific conditions of possibility for its existence in particularly determined spheres. We may sum this up in terms of a renewed version of an ancient problem, the relation of the One and the Many, one for which the character of delimiting which is which is of the essence. The question today, as earlier, is one of limits: determining their nature, affirming their values and validity, surveilling their domains, keeping watch (and hearing) at the gates they enforce, and equally about challenging them, transforming or disavowing their values, breaking through their gates. Liminologies names these structuring and ordering relations.

The seminar will consider both the theoretical organization of limits (their conditions of possibility) and their positive, perhaps even empirical, expressions. Our study is organized in three parts: (i) Logics of the limit in philosophical discourse; (ii) Notions of difference in political theory; (iii) Limits in specific sociopolitical, cultural, and natural terrains, including those that name terrains as being social, political, cultural, and/or natural. We will consider the dynamics at the heart of notions such as Center/Periphery, Same/Other, Inclusion/Exclusion, as well as others that disrupt and even sabotage the dualistic logic of limits, including Extensive/Intensive Differences, Différance, Individuation, and Systems theories. Specific topics include, World-Systems Theory, Coloniality/Modernity (and within it, Race and Racialization), Community and Immunity, Species-ism, Relationality, Individualism and Individuation, as well as models that attempt to think intermixings (Hybridity, Transculturation, and Synchretism) and disavowals (Queerness). We will think across a number of disciplines: Sound Studies, Anthropology, Political Theory, Continental Philosophy, Critical Race Theory, Queer Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Authors include, Wallerstein, Simondon, Haraway, Irigaray, Butler, Braidotti, Halberstam, Derrida, Badiou, Foucault, Lorde, Strathern, Laclau, Rancière, Ochoa Gautier, Feld, Viveiros de Castro.


Music 7210 001.        Composition Studio and Forum
Natacha Diels.           Wednesday 145-444 p.m.  Fisher Bennet Room 419

Composer's 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.