Fall 2024 Graduate Seminars

Fall 2024 Graduate Seminars

Music 6230 301.      Composing for Performers.
Tyshawn Sorey.       Mondays 1:45 p.m- 4:44 p.m Room: LERN CONF

This is a graduate level composition course in which explicit and active attention will be brought to what is perhaps more typically an implicit focus in the composition of music, that is, the anticipation of what performers bring to the interpretation and performance of live, acoustic music. Students will study repertoire, both old and new, with a concentration on music for string quartet. Students will be encouraged to take risks through the composition of short exercises as well as more involved original work. The Daedalus Quartet, Penn’s professional string-quartet-in-residence, will be actively involved with the class, both to discuss their current repertoire and to workshop student pieces.
Interested undergraduates should request permission from the instructor.

Students interested in requesting permission to join the course who are not currently enrolled in the PhD program in Composition or Music Studies must submit a permit request and email the instructor directly.


Music 6301 301.   Historical and Historiographic Approaches: Performance Studies.
Mauro Calcagno.       Wednesdays 12:00 p.m- 3:00 p.m Room: LERN CONF

This course focuses on theories and models of historical investigation. It explores 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 discuss work by (among others) B. Brecht, R. Wagner, 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, A. Cavarero, K. Thurman, N. Cook, C. Abbate, D. Levin, 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. Students are expected to elaborate their own critical categories 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 broadly intended.


Music 7200 301.          Seminar in Composition.
Staff.      Fridays 10:15 a.m- 1:14 p.m Room: LERN 101

Seminar in selected compositional problems, with emphasis on written projects. 


Music 7210 001.         Composition Studio and Forum.
Tyshawn Sorey.         Wednesdays 3:30 p.m- 5:29 p.m  Room: BENN 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.


Music 7340 301.       Studies in 19th Century Music.
Jeffrey Kallberg.     Thursdays 1:45 p.m- 4:44 p.m Room: LERN CONF

Advanced research topics in the music of the 19th century.


Music 7400 401.  Seminar in African-American Music. 
Jasmine Henry.    Fridays 1:45 p.m - 4:44 p.m Room: LERN CONF

This seminar attempts to move beyond mainstream commercial narratives and studies of Black popular music, and instead, direct attention toward the local, independent, and alternative aspects of its production and performance. Through an interdisciplinary lens encompassing music, locality, identity, politics, urban geography, and performance studies, students will explore the profound connections between Black music and the spatialities of Black life. Case studies of specific local music cultures are analyzed, considering their contributions to the broader landscape of Black popular music in the United States. Scholarly approaches and theories mapping Black spaces and places are explored, providing insights into the relationship between race, space, and place within African American musical historiography. Key topics include the influence of locality on musical styles, the significance of neighborhood scenes and cultural hubs, and the role of music in shaping local identities within social, political, and economic contexts. Additionally, this seminar goes beyond physical space to examine the circulation and transformations of local music in regional, national, global, and virtual contexts. Engaging in critical discussions, research projects, and listening exercises, students will develop a nuanced understanding of the complexities and richness of Black popular music within localized contexts. The course features a special emphasis on exploring local Black musical culture in Philadelphia, utilizing archival materials from the Kislak Center archives and featuring guest speakers. While primarily focusing on urban areas and popular music, the seminar is adaptable to other contexts based on students’ interests. Overall, equipped with analytical tools and theoretical frameworks, students will be prepared for further research and critical inquiry into the broader study of local music cultures.


Music 7500 301.  Seminar in Ethnomusicology
James Sykes.    Tuesdays 1:45 p.m - 4:44 p.m Room: LERN CONF

In this course, we read widely across Caribbean and Indian Ocean Studies to ask: what can scholars of music and sound gain from moving beyond the narrow confines of the national to investigate oceans as spaces of both boundary-formation and boundary-crossing? We consider the interrelations between music and: various colonialisms (British, French, Portuguese); the formation of creole cultures; world religions (Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity); media circulations; ontological difference; discourses of ethnic difference and ethnonationalism; and climate change. Noting controversies surrounding comparative approaches in ethnomusicology, we ask whether a decolonial approach to comparative music studies is possible.