Spring 2014 Graduate Seminars


Music 505:  Advanced Chromatic Harmony, Jay Reise.

Wednesday 2 to 5:00 p.m., Music Building, Room 210

In this Course we will focus on the evolution of 19th and 20th century harmony and its characteristics that define the styles of composers from Beethoven through Richard Strauss.

Music 508:  Advanced Musicianship, Jim Primosch.

(To be Announced)  

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 516:  Analysis 20th Century Music, Part 2, Jim Primosch.

Monday 2 to 5:00 p.m., Music Building, Room 210  

Analysis of 20th century compositional practices, with emphasis on post-WWII and 21st century repertoire. Topics discussed in previous seminars include symmetry/asymmetry in Harbison, Messiaen, Ligeti, and Rochberg; and the use of frozen registers in Webern, Lutoslawski, Berio and Carter. Composers discussed in previous seminars include Adams, Berio, Currier, Hyla, Knussen, Martino, Murail, Rouse, M. Wagner, Wolpe, and others. Students will offer two in-class presentations on selected repertoire.

Music 605:  Musical Politics and Forms of Life, Jim Sykes.

Monday 2 to 5:00 p.m., Marian Anderson Seminar Room, VPL

How have sound, personhood, and social relations been historically and geographically linked in regions far outside Euro-American cultural and political influence?  The primary aim of this course is to provide music students with a suitable background in classic anthropology, while building a framework for thinking about music and politics in the twenty-first century.  Focusing on radical cultural difference in what Anna Tsing dubbed “out of the way places,” the course will develop a framework for thinking about music and politics beyond national boundaries and mainstream musical ontologies that define music as an expression of communal and personal identity.  Each day of the course will consider canonic anthropological texts, as well as contemporary writings in anthropology and musicology, through which a perspective on “musical politics and forms of life” may be built. Themes to be considered may include: belonging (sovereignty and citizenship); power (slavery, indenture, freedom, neoliberalism); movement (diaspora, refugees, labor); musical exchange and economic anthropology; islands, oceans, and non-state spaces; music and magic; secularism; performativity; the anthropology of aesthetics (including photography and architecture); and ethics.  Given my area of expertise, there will be a focus on regions in the eastern Indian Ocean and some remote places in India and Indonesia, but texts will consider a broad array of sites (including urban areas) in Australia, Latin America, the Middle East, and elsewhere.

Music 606: Bodies of Music, Songs of Magic, Guy Ramsey.

Thursday 2-5:00 p.m., Marian Anderson Seminar Room, VPL

This seminar provides a historical, thematic and integrated consideration of African American music history that includes attention to poetry, dance, and visual art (painting, sculpture, and photography) together with other media such as theater, television and film.  With its very strong sense of tradition, African American music has attracted persistent scrutiny through the years with a historiographical profile running the gamut from tracing its development from the African continent, its miraculous manifestation during slavery, its becoming a key symbol of American music culture, and up to its global significance.  This robust literature has even argued, in some cases, against its own categorical existence, denying any “exceptional” rank as a subcultural expression in the broader social world. 
     The sophistication of critical perspectives about African American music has grown exponentially in the last twenty or so years. American musical studies detailing the dynamic relationship between race and organized sound, the development of literatures in Africana Studies that have nuanced our thinking on cultural relationships throughout the African Diaspora, and the explosion of a new digital media have all dramatically reshaped how we create, hear, think and write about this sonic tradition.  
At the same time that these diverse perspectives have invigorated black music studies, they have created a need for consolidation—a methodology that can synthesize these new perspectives a legible format for both students and scholars of this tradition.  Artists--musicians, poets, and visual artists--have long responded to one another’s work in an integrated way, particularly among black artists.  This seminar will model these interactions by placing an eclectic array of art works and traditions in dialogue but with music in the center.
     Sound traditions are just as malleable, adaptable and, indeed, stubborn as the structural inequities that have been a defining feature of American society since its inception.  It is astounding to think about how creating beauty through artifice has been a reliable response by artists, and this seminar tries to capture some of this paradox without suggesting that resistance to political, economic and social pressures are the only motivations for creativity as some might suggest.  Rather, we will explore how pleasure and pressures work together to create some of the dynamism of these sound worlds. 

Music 750: Two Chopin Puzzles, Jeffrey Kallberg.

Wednesday 2 to 5:00 p.m., Music building, Conference Room

The seminar will take as its point of departure a pair of related puzzles - historical "facts," perhaps (though this remains to be determined) - that relate to the middle section of the March from Chopin's Sonata in B-flat minor, op. 35.  Whether or not the solutions to the puzzles turn out to be worthy of much notice (though there is an outside chance they might do so spectacularly), our exploration of them will open onto many important areas of 19th-century musical culture and practices, and equally many significant realms of music-historical practice.

Music 780:  Music and Belonging, Naomi Waltham-Smith.

Tuesday, 2 to 5:00 p.m.,  Music Building, Conference Room

The fate of music in modernity has been determined to no small degree by its relationship to two interrelated constructions of belonging: on the one hand, belonging as property, as ownership and, on the other, belonging as social inclusion, as membership in a community. Rather than start from the current issues surrounding digital downloads, our historical focus (initially at least) will be on the rise of the aesthetic in the period leading up to the dominance achieved by this mode of thinking about music at the turn of the nineteenth century. This period witnessed an unprecedented democratization of listening amid the rise of the public sphere as changes in publishing, instrument building, the popular press and social mobility led to increased domestic music-making, the first public concerts and the awareness of the part of composers of their product’s marketability. This period of political upheaval also radically reconfigured notions of citizenship and culminated in the birth of the nation state.
Within the context of these historical circumstances, the idea of the seminar is to inhabit the intertwined perspectives of music theory, political theory and Continental philosophy in order to explore how music’s entrance into the aesthetic dimension bound it irreparably to belonging both as ownership and as membership—how it both transformed music into property subject to appropriation and alienation and also, at the same time, made this musical ownership into a pre-condition for civility and social recognition. Over the centuries from 1500 to 1800, music would be relocated in a shift from craftsmanship to authorship, and the relationship that composers, musicians and listeners enjoyed with musical material would change irreversibly to assume a form that, in broadest terms, persists even to this day. In this seminar, we shall engage with the socio-political movements that, by turns, drove and responded to this conceptual shift, as well as the aesthetic and music-theoretical texts that sought to make sense of these changes. Further, we shall closely study repertoires from this period to see how this ideological revolution was enshrined and even precipitated in the very fabric of the musical material through stylistic and formal conventions and the habits of listening that they engender. As such, this seminar will be of interest of historians, theorists and composers seeking to understand the conceptual underpinnings of the ways in which music seems both to belong to us and act as a token of belonging.