Classroom Courses

  • MUSC 100: I Got Rhythm: The Science of Musical Time

    An introduction to the interdisciplinary study of musical rhythm. In this class you will, among other things, design and make a clock, invent a new form of rhythmic notation, read some Greek philosophy, recreate some classic experiments in time perception, study the nuances of musical performance, and explore the neurobiological underpinnings of "groove." Class readings will be drawn from philosophy, psychology, music theory, evolutionary biology, anthropology, phonology, and mathematics. Musical examples discussed will range from Gregorian chant to Stevie Wonder. Course assignments will involve group projects and various short writing assignments. No prerequisite, though the ability to read music will be helpful.

    6 credit; Argument and Inquiry Seminar, Writing Requirement; offered Fall 2017 · Justin M London
  • MUSC 100: Muses and Composers: How Women Shaped Classical Music

    Women’s music is everyone’s music. In this seminar, we will use feminist critical perspectives to understand how women shaped the course of music history. Women have filled almost every role in music activities public and private, as music businesspeople—patrons, sponsors, and impresarios—and creators—muses, performers, and composers. We will analyze the work of such women as Hildegaard von Bingen, Maria de Medici, Catherine the Great, Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn, Nadia and Lili Boulanger, Germaine Tailleferre, Caroline Shaw, Meredith Monk, and Julia Wolfe. Reading and listening assignments will prepare students to research an original topic for a final essay.

    6 credit; Argument and Inquiry Seminar, Writing Requirement, International Studies; offered Fall 2017 · Megan E Sarno
  • MUSC 101: Music Fundamentals

    A course designed for students with little or no music background as preparation and support for other music courses, ensemble participation and applied music study. The course covers the fundamentals of note and rhythmic reading, basic harmony, and develops proficiency in aural skills and elementary keyboard skills. This class will make regular use of the music computer lab for assignments. 3 credit; Arts Practice; offered Spring 2018 · Andrea Mazzariello
  • MUSC 103: Musicianship Lab I

    An introduction to the basic elements of rhythm and melody, with a strong emphasis on sight reading using solfége, score reading in multiple clefs, and short dictation exercises. Prerequisites: The ability to read music fluently in one clef 2 credit; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2017 · Justin M London
  • MUSC 104: Musicianship Lab II

    Continuation of Musicianship Lab I. More advanced solfége is introduced, including chromaticism, and longer dictation exercises which introduce standard melodic schemas. Some harmonic dictation will also be included. Prerequisites: Music 103, 200 or placement by examination 2 credit; Arts Practice; offered Winter 2018 · Justin M London
  • MUSC 108: Introduction to Music Technology

    A course in using the computer to make meaningful interventions into our practices as musicians. We'll explore a number of approaches to composing, producing, and hearing music, among them coding, visual programming, and working in a digital audio workstation. Students will ultimately combine and hybridize these different methods in order to create unique, individual systems, using them to make new work. Open to all interested students; no prior experience with music, programming, or production required. 6 credit; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2017 · Andrea Mazzariello
  • MUSC 110: Theory I: The Materials of Music

    An introduction to the materials of western tonal music, with an emphasis on harmonic structure and syntax. It also covers phrase structure, musical texture, and small musical forms, along with basic theoretical concepts and vocabulary. Student work involves readings, listening assignments, analytical exercises, and short composition projects.

    Prerequisites: The ability to read music fluently in one clef 6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis; offered Fall 2017 · Ronald Rodman
  • MUSC 111: Western Art Music: The Last 1000 Years

    A general overview of art music practices in the European tradition from the medieval period to the present. Students will encounter representative examples from the major style periods-Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Modern, and contemporary classical. Genres include chant, the madrigal, opera, symphony, and chamber music. Listening assignments introduce students to the music, and reading assignments explain relationships between music and politics, society, and the other arts. Ability to read music not required.

    Prerequisites: No prerequisite: the ability to read music is not necessary 6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis, International Studies; not offered 2017–2018
  • MUSC 115: Music and Film

    This course explores the history and development of film music along with theories of how music contributes to the meaning of moving images and narrative scenes. The primary focus of the course will be on film music in the U.S., but notable film scores from Europe and Asia will also be discussed. The film music history covers historical periods from the pre-cinematic Vaudeville era through the postmodern films of the early twenty-first century. Cross-cutting this chronological history will be discussion of film musicals as a separate genre. Ability to read music not required. 6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Writing Requirement; not offered 2017–2018
  • MUSC 120: Introduction to Opera

     A survey of opera and its history with special emphasis on four major works, one each by Mozart, Bizet, Wagner, and Stravinsky. Operas will be studied through video presentation, listening, and readings. Librettos available in translation; ability to read music not required.  6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Writing Requirement; not offered 2017–2018
  • MUSC 121: Songs from Beethoven to Ben Folds

    This course will provide an overview of the song cycle genre from its beginning up to and including some popular albums. Our goal is to enhance listening and analytical skills through reading and listening assignments, in-class discussions, and analyses. Prerequisites: Ability to read music not required. 6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Writing Requirement; not offered 2017–2018
  • MUSC 122: Symphonies from Mozart to Mahler

    A survey of orchestral symphonies and related genres from the late eighteenth through the late nineteenth centuries with emphasis on the works of Mozart, Beethoven, Berlioz, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Mahler, and others. Symphonies will be studied through listening and readings; connections to other aspects of nineteenth-century European culture will be explored. Prerequisites: Ability to read music not required. 6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Writing Requirement; not offered 2017–2018
  • MUSC 126: America's Music

    A survey of American music with particular attention to the interaction of the folk, popular, and classical realms. No musical experience required.

    6 credit; Writing Requirement, Literary/Artistic Analysis, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Winter 2018 · Andy Flory
  • MUSC 128: Introduction to Conducting

    The course covers the fundamentals of conducting such as beat patterns, baton technique, score reading, cueing, fermatas, and releases. The class will function as an ensemble, with each student conducting short assignments as frequently as possible. Prerequisites: Ability to read music and active participation in a faculty conducted ensemble, or permission of instructor. 3 credit; Arts Practice; not offered 2017–2018
  • MUSC 130: The History of Jazz

    A survey of jazz from its beginnings to the present day focusing on the performer/composers and their music. 6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Writing Requirement, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Fall 2017 · Andy Flory
  • MUSC 131: The Blues From the Delta to Chicago

    A history of the Delta blues and its influence on later blues and popular music styles, tracing its movement from the Mississippi Delta in the 1920s to Chess Records and the Chicago Blues of the 1940s and 50s (especially Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters). Music and musicians discussed will include the classic blues singers of the 1920s, early country music (Jimmie Rodgers), and the legacy of Robert Johnson. Issues of authenticity and "ownership" of both the music and its cultural legacy will also be discussed. The course involves readings, listening assignments, and some transcriptions of early recorded blues. No prerequisite, although the ability to read music is helpful. 6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Spring 2018 · Justin M London
  • MUSC 132: Golden Age of R and B

    A survey of rhythm and blues from 1945 to 1975, focusing on performers, composers, and the music industry. 6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Writing Requirement, Intercultural Domestic Studies; not offered 2017–2018
  • MUSC 136: History of Rock

    This course is an introduction to the history of rock music, emphasizing primarily the period between 1954 and the present. Mixing historical and cultural readings with intense listening, we will cover the vast repertoire of rock music and many other associated styles. We will focus on the sounds of the music, learning to distinguish a wide variety of genres, while also tracing the development and transformation of rock and pop styles. The lectures will use a wide variety of multimedia, including commercial audio and video, unpublished audio and video sources, print materials, and technological devices. Knowledge of a technical musical vocabulary and an ability to read music are not required for this course. 

    6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Writing Requirement, Intercultural Domestic Studies; not offered 2017–2018
  • MUSC 140: Ethnomusicology: Local and Global in the World's Musical Cultures

    An introduction to the world's musical variety (including the study of musical genres, forms, instruments, and practices) and to ethnomusicology, the field dedicated to its study. We will examine traditional, popular, and even global genres, consider the relationships between sound, place, and cultural identity, and explore ethnomusicological theory and method. No previous musical experience is required. LA, IS

    6 credit; not offered 2017–2018
  • MUSC 141: Global Popular Music

    We will study the profusion of popular musics around the globe, and also music which has become global in its reach. Genres include reggae, bhangra, tango, salsa, huayno, highlife, filmi, Afrobeat, rai, soca, merengue, and soukous. Musics will be explored in their historical, political, and social contexts, with the goal of understanding both their sounds and their meanings. Students will engage multiple forms of ethnomusicological scholarship, develop critical listening skills, and learn to convey their growing understanding of musical elements in writing and oral presentation. No musical experience necessary.

    not offered 2017–2018
  • MUSC 142: Musical Theater Practicum

    The Last Five Years, Jason Robert Brown’s musical about a writer/aspiring Broadway performer couple, dramatizes the exhilaration and frustration of going to audition after audition on the way to a big break. This theme is exploited countless times in American musicals, precisely because singers and actors face countless auditions. In this course, students will gain historical and theoretical knowledge of the musical theater genre, a deeper knowledge of the craft, and be better prepared to face auditions of any kind. Final projects may be small-scale performances of solos, duets, or a full-class ensemble number.

    6 credit; Arts Practice; not offered 2017–2018
  • MUSC 204: Theory II: Musical Structures

    An investigation into the nature of musical sounds and the way they are combined to form rhythms, melodies, harmonies, and form. Topics include the spectral composition of musical pitches, the structure of musical scales and their influence on melody, chords and their interval content, and the symmetry and complexity of rhythmic patterns. Student work includes building a musical instrument, programming a drum machine, analyzing the statistical distribution of pitches in a folksong corpus, and form in the music of the Grateful Dead.

    Prerequisites: The ability to read music in one clef 6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Writing Requirement; offered Winter 2018 · Justin M London
  • MUSC 208: Computer Music and Sound

    This course will survey computer techniques for analyzing, synthesizing, manipulating and creating musical sounds. We'll study the basic components of digital sound: waveforms, oscillators, envelopes, delay lines, and filters. We'll analyze and modify sounds using the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT). We'll study several methods of sound synthesis and create and play original music using open source computer music languages. Course projects will include real-time performances on multiple computers using video game controllers.

    6 credit; Arts Practice; offered Spring 2018 · Andrea Mazzariello
  • MUSC 210: Medieval and Renaissance Music

    A study of the most characteristic forms of music from 800 to 1600 in the western tradition. Prerequisite: the ability to read music. 6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Writing Requirement; not offered 2017–2018
  • MUSC 211: Baroque and Classical Music

    This course provides an introduction to the music of the Baroque and Classical periods. Students will learn about musical form, expressive conventions such as the doctrine of affections and musical topoi, performance practice, and the social function of music. We will encounter examples from keyboard repertory, dance music (both court ballet and aristocratic social dance), theater music, the symphony, and chamber music.

    Prerequisites: Music 201, 204 or instructor permission 6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Writing Requirement; not offered 2017–2018
  • MUSC 213: Music and Religion

    Music and religion are united through philosophical precepts, but also through practical means. In this course we will encounter philosophical ideas about music as well as examine sacred musical practices of various religions, including Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu. Students will analyze what function music holds in liturgies of many traditions. The final project will involve visiting local services to observe first-hand how religions use music. No previous music experience required.

    6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis; not offered 2017–2018
  • MUSC 215: Music Theater in America

    This course outlines the history of the musical from Tin Pan Alley, through the golden age of Broadway with Rodgers and Hammerstein, to the current sensation "Hamilton," passing through the works of Stephen Sondheim. We will study the development of this hybrid genre by considering musical elements such as form, instrumentation, and harmony as well as dramatic, choreographic, and staging components. Additionally, social questions such as the representation of women and minority cultures, as they concern the works themselves and their audiences, will guide our readings and class discussion. Ability to read music not required.

    6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Writing Requirement, Intercultural Domestic Studies; not offered 2017–2018
  • MUSC 220: Composition Studio

    This course focuses on creating new music, through several exercises as well as a substantial term composition. Class meetings reinforce key concepts, aesthetic trends, and compositional techniques, as well as provide opportunities for group feedback on works in progress. Individual instruction focuses on students' own creative work in depth and detail.

    Prerequisites: Music 110, 204, or 117, or instructor permission 6 credit; Arts Practice; offered Winter 2018 · Andrea Mazzariello
  • MUSC 227: Perception and Cognition of Music

    Covers basic issues in auditory perception and cognition with an emphasis on the perception of musical pitch, including sensory discrimination, categorical perception, roughness and dissonance, absolute pitch, and auditory streaming. Other topics to be covered include the processing of language and music, and emotional responses to music. A grade of C- or better must be earned in both Music 227 and 228 to satisfy the LS requirement. Prerequisites: A previous course in Music or Psychology, or instructor permission; Concurrent registration in Music 228 6 credit; Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Science with Lab; not offered 2017–2018
  • MUSC 228: Perception and Cognition of Music Lab

    An introduction to the methods of experimental and observational research in music perception and cognition. Student teams will replicate/extend classic experiments in music perception, which will involve reviewing historical and current literature, creating stimuli, running experimental trials, performing statistical analyses of data, and giving a poster presentation of their results. A grade of C- or better must be earned in both Music 227 and 228 to satisfy the LS requirement. Prerequisites: Concurrent registration in Music 228 2 credit; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; not offered 2017–2018
  • MUSC 245: Music of Africa

    The study of traditional and popular musics of sub-Saharan Africa, through reading, listening, watching, and playing. Using the works of canonical and contemporary scholars, we'll examine music with particular attention to its intersections with technology, ethnic identity, political life, religion, and gender roles. Students will also learn about West African percussion and Shona karimba through applied study. No experience necessary. 

    6 credit; International Studies, Arts Practice; offered Winter 2018 · Melinda Russell
  • MUSC 247: 1950s/60s American Folk Music Revival

    Explores the historical bases of musical style, the role of recorded music, the social construction of a "folk music" milieu, and the music of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, et al. No musical experience necessary; you need not read musical notation. Includes one day per week of applied instruction: Section 1 (beginning folk guitar--instruments provided) only for those with zero guitar experience; Section 2 (folk workshop --provide your own instruments) if you have any experience on guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, ukelele, Dobro, viola, cello, or bass.

    6 credit; Arts Practice, Writing Requirement, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Winter 2018 · Melinda Russell
  • MUSC 248: Music of India

    This course focuses on the classical Hindustani and Carnatic music traditions of North and South India, with briefer coverage of folk and popular traditions, including Bollywood/film music. We will consider the historical and cultural contexts of several genres, reading the work of scholars from various disciplines, and studying relevant audio and video. Students will learn rudimentary theory of Indian classical music, understand its twentieth and twenty-first century developments, and develop listening skills to enable recognition of major genres, styles, and artists. One day a week will be devoted to applied study of Indian vocal raga. No musical background required. 6 credit; Arts Practice, International Studies; offered Spring 2018 · Melinda Russell
  • MUSC 303: Music Since 1900

    This course, required for the music major, is both an overall survey of the Western art music of the twentieth century, and an analysis class designed to equip the major with analytical techniques in non-formal music from Schoenberg to the avant-garde. Prerequisites: Music 201 or 204 6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Writing Requirement; not offered 2017–2018
  • MUSC 308: Seminar in Music Analysis

    An introduction to advanced analytical techniques for larger formal structure in Western Art Music repertoire from the classic, romantic and early twentieth century. Musical forms to be considered are binary, ternary, rondo, and variation forms, with particular emphasis on theories and analyses of sonata forms of eighteenth and nineteenth century music.

    Prerequisites: Music 201 or 204 6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis; not offered 2017–2018
  • MUSC 310: The Philosophy of Music

    What is Music, and what exactly is a “musical composition,” especially in the age of recorded music and sampling? Can music tell a story, express an emotion, or convey a proposition? And if music can do any of these things, how does it do it? Last but not least, how are we to judge the value of musical pieces and musical practices? Do we need to judge popular music differently from so-called “art” music?  To address these questions we will listen to a wide range of musical examples, from Bach and Mozart to the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, and we will read a wide range of writings about music, from Plato, Rousseau, and Kant to current philosophers, including Scruton, Kivy, Davies, Carroll, and Gracyk.

    Prerequisites: A previous course in Music or Philosophy or instructor permission 6 credit; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement, Writing Requirement; not offered 2017–2018 · Justin M London
  • MUSC 312: Romantic Music

    An examination of western art music of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including Schubert, Berlioz, Brahms, and Wagner. Prerequisites: Music 110 or 204 or instructor permission 6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Writing Requirement; offered Winter 2018 · Megan E Sarno
  • MUSC 332: Motown

    A research-based course focused on the people, music, and cultural contributions of the Motown Record Company from its antecedents throughout the mid-1980s. Prerequisite: The ability to read music and a previous music course, or permission of the instructor. 6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Writing Requirement, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Winter 2018 · Andy Flory
  • MUSC 333: The Beatles

    A critical examination of the music and cultural impact of the Beatles. Students will engage with primary and secondary materials relating to the music of the Beatles, perform basic musical analyses, and participate in class presentations. The course will conclude with a research paper. Prerequisites: Ability to read music and previous music course, or instructor permission 6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Writing Requirement; not offered 2017–2018
  • MUSC 336: Moldy Figs and the Birth of Jazz Criticism

    In this course, students will investigate the interest of white literati in jazz during the 1930s and 1940 through the lens of former Carleton English professor Jack Lucas. An writer for the well-known jazz appreciation magazine Down Beat, Lucas taught courses about jazz in the 1950s, and donated his large historic record collection to the College. We will read early written criticism and consider issues of canonization of jazz. Students will create their own compilation of early jazz recordings according to a theme, revisiting a common form of agency among jazz critics during the 1950s. 6 credits; HI, WR2

    Prerequisites: Music 126not offered 2017–2018
  • MUSC 337: Music in Social Movements

    How, specifically, is music instrumental in social change? What musical choices are made, and by whom? How are new musics made, and old musics repackaged, to help mobilize social movements and create collective identity? We'll approach these questions through the work of diverse scholars and participants, through focused listening, and ultimately through guided student research projects.  Among the social/musical movements we'll consider: Nueva cancíon, Rastafari, anti-Apartheid; the labor, civil rights, women's, anti-war, anti-nuclear and environmental movements, the Black Arts Movement, American Indian, Jesus, Hippie, and White Nationalist Movements, and Black Lives Matter. No musical experience or previous coursework required.  

    6 credit; Writing Requirement, Literary/Artistic Analysis, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Spring 2018 · Melinda Russell
  • MUSC 340: Advanced Composition Seminar

    An advanced seminar in music composition for students with previous course work or compositional experience. Class will meet weekly as a group as well as individually with the instructor to work on compositional projects. Students will compose works in a range of styles and using a variety of media.

    Prerequisites: Music 208, 220 or instructor permission 6 credit; Arts Practice; offered Spring 2018
  • MUSC 341: Rock Lab and Lab

    This class combines performance and academic study of rock music. In the first half of the course, we will learn to perform simple songs in small-group coaching sessions with a polished public performance as a midterm goal. During the second half of the course, we will make recordings of these performances. Throughout the term, we will accompany performance and recording activities with readings and discussion about aesthetics, performance practice in rock music, and mediation of recording techniques, all extraordinarily rich topics in popular music studies. No performance experience is needed. The course will accommodate students with a range of experience. Students will be grouped according to background, interest, and ability. There is a required hands-on laboratory component, which will be assigned before the start of the course. In these smaller groups, students will perform, record, and work with sound in small groups. Work will include experimentation with electric instruments, amplifiers, synthesizers, microphones, recording techniques, performance practice issues, musical production, mixing, and mastering.

    6 credit; Arts Practice, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Spring 2018 · Andy Flory
  • MUSC 342: Creative Music Performance Seminar

    Students will prepare a creative performance of a musical composition informed by exploration of sources, comparison of recordings, score analysis, and performance science. Group meetings explore the pedagogy of preparation that synthesizes intuition and intellect to create a compelling sound and interpretation. Learn to maximize the results of your efforts to improve technical and musical consistency in performance. Harness and integrate the powers of mind, body and spirit when you practice and perform music.

    Prerequisites: One term of 2 credit juried lessons on any instrument/vocie or permission of instructor 3 credit; Arts Practice; offered Winter 2018 · Hector L Valdivia
  • MUSC 400: Integrative Exercise

    Required of senior majors. The integrative exercise may be fulfilled by completion of a significant composition, performance, or research-paper project. Students who wish to fulfill Music 400 with such projects must meet department-specified qualifying criteria. 

    1-6 credit; S/NC; offered Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018