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Graduate Music History Seminars Spring 2015

Bach

MU 552-01
Credits: 3
Prequisites: Writing About Music, Music History 1 (proficiency exam or review course)
Meeting: Thursday 10:00–12:50
Instructor: Dr. Elizabeth Seitz

Course Description
Arguably the most important composer of the Baroque, Bach summed up his age in extraordinary ways. Hailed during his lifetime as a virtuoso organist, after his death, Bach’s music came to be regarded as the pinnacle of technical perfection. This class will explore how the art of Bach as received during his own lifetime as well as the impact his music has had on subsequent generations.  


 

Women Musicians of the Italian Renaissance

MU 552-02
Credits: 3
Prequisites: Writing About Music, Music History 1 (proficiency exam or review course)
Meeting: Monday 10:00–12:50
Instructor: Dr. Rebecca Marchand 

Course Description
This course will explore the role of women in music during the Italian Renaissance and early Baroque, with a focus on performers, composers, and patrons. Drawn from disparate segments of society including nuns and courtesans, women played an active and important role in creating music in Italy during the 15th through 17th centuries. Students will investigate the music composed and performed by these women, as well as discuss a wide variety of secondary source materials that offer multidisciplinary lenses through which to frame the discussions. Important figures such as Isabella d'Este (patron), Laura Peverara (singer), Maddalena Casulana (composer/performer), and Vittoria Aleotti (nun composer) will serve as archetypes for female involvement in music during the Renaissance.

 


Music of Bohemia: Smetana, Dvorák, and Janácek

MU 552-03
Credits: 3
Prequisites: Writing About Music, Music History 2 (proficiency exam or review course)
Meeting: Tuesday 10:00–12:50
Instructor: Dr. Elina Hamilton
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MU 552-07 – registration restricted to Music Education MM students only
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Writing About Music and MU550 Music History Survey
Meeting: Wednesday 5:30–8:20
Instructor: Dr. Elina Hamilton

Course Description
This course is a survey of Bohemian music c.1850–1930. Dvorak's music is familiar to many of us, mainly through his extended stay in New York during the waning years of the nineteenth century. What is perhaps lesser known is that he came from a sophisticated and long-established musical tradition in the Bohemian capital, Prague. This class will examine the operatic and symphonic music of three nationalist composers from a historical and analytical perspective to better understand the Slavic nation's contribution to the world.



The Italian Cantata

MU 552-04
Credits: 3
Prequisites: Writing About Music, Music History 1 (proficiency exam or review course)
Meeting: Wednesday 10:00–12:50
Instructor: Dr. Andrew Shryock

Course Description
This course is a study of the Italian cantata, which was arguably the most frequently heard and most influential musical genre in 17th century Italy. It surveys major figures, including composers, performers, and patrons, who shaped the genre. It equips students to prepare performing editions of this music from manuscript and facsimile sources. More broadly, it seeks to introduce students to sub-disciplines currently prominent in musicology, including studies of sexuality, diplomacy, and social networks.



Cage

MU 552-06
Credits: 3
Prequisites: Writing About Music, Music History 2 (proficiency exam or review course)
Meeting: Thursday 10:00–12:50
Instructor: Dr. Rebecca Marchand 

Course Description
This course will examine the musical, philosophical, and artistic works of John Cage (1912–1992). The core objective of the course is to survey a broad sampling of Cage’s music, and how it dialogues with cultural constructs and trends of the 20h century. The reach of Cage’s influence extends beyond musical worlds, so this course will include many interdisciplinary readings and discussions. In addition, we will examine how Cage’s own reputation has been shaped and molded by historiography, reception, and the composer’s self-perception and marketing.



Opera History Survey

MU 553-01
Credits: 3
Prequisites: Writing About Music, Music History 1 and 2 (proficiency exams or review courses)
Meeting: Wednesday 1:00–2:50
Instructor: Karen Ruymann  

Course Description
This course is designed to be an historical survey of the genre of opera from its inception through the present day with forays into discussions on the economic, social, philosophical, and political elements that contributed to the changes in this musical genre over the past two hundred years. 

Areas of Study
• Late Italian Renaissance, Academie, Monteverdi
• Italian Court Opera, Naples, Public opera – Venice – Late Monteverdi
• Lully, Ballet and French Opera, English Masque as forerunner to English Opera, John Blow, Purcell.
• Opera Seria and Handel, the librettos of Metastasio. 
• Gluckian Reform
• Mozart and Opera
• Romantic Opera: Italy – Early 19th Century: Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti
• Romantic Opera: Italy – Late 19th Century:  Verdi and the path to Continuous Opera
• Romantic Opera in Germany: Weber and Wagner
• Late 19th Century Romanticism: Naturalism, Verismo
• New French School: Debussy, Ravel, Satie vs. Second Viennese School: Berg


 

Absolute Music

MU 559-01
Credits: 1.5
Prequisites: Writing About Music, Music History 1 and 2 (proficiency exams or review courses)
Meeting: Tuesday 10:00–12:50, weeks 1–7
Instructor: Dr. Andrew Shryock 

Course Description
This course considers the growing regard at the end of the 18th century for purely instrumental music. It aims to survey this phenomenon from its earliest emergence around 1700 in response to the violin sonatas of Arcangelo Corelli, which were esteemed for their difficulty and as a symbol of good taste, to the most vehement polemics on the topic (the so-called “War of the Romantics”) in the 1850s. Works composed between these historical moments constitute the core of the course; these include the overture of Haydn’s Creation, Mozart’s Symphony #41, Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony, and his String Quartet in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131. By considering these works and their impact, students will gain a richer and fuller understanding of musical aesthetics in the late Classical and early Romantic eras, of the rise of a musical canon founded on purely instrumental works, and of a centuries-old philosophy of music’s ability to convey meaning through sound that continues to influence classical music programming and the institutions that perform this music.


 

The Music of Messiaen

MU 559-02
Credits: 1.5
Prequisites: Writing About Music, Music History 2 (proficiency exas or review course)
Meeting: Wednesday 10:00–12:50, weeks 1–7
Instructor: Dr. Elizabeth Abbate 

Course Description
After a look at examples of Messiaen’s musical language in his earlier works, this course will focus on Messiaen’s later pieces, including Cantéyodjayâ, Mode de valeurs, Chronochromie, and Des canyons aux étoiles. We will study Messiaen’s compositional use of birdsong and rhythmic and melodic modes and the significance of his synesthesia for his music; additionally, we will put his music into the context of his life and times.

 

 

Berio's Sequenzas

MU 559-04
Credits: 1.5
Prequisites: Writing About Music, Music History 2 (proficiency exas or review course)
Meeting: Wednesday 10:00–12:50, weeks 8–14
Instructor: Dr. Elizabeth Abbate 

Course Description
Luciano Berio’s Sequenzas, written over the course of his life, were composed according to his belief that the instruments themselves, played inventively, would lead the way to new musical vocabularies and structures. In the process of developing this new music, Berio also used 12-tone fields, changed the boundaries between words and music, created pieces that required dramatic performance, and experimented with creating multiple layers of a composition by writing Chemins based on the Sequenzas. In this class, we will study the musical and performance elements relevant to each Sequenza, and we will consult Berio’s Norton Lectures and interviews for his own explanations of his work.

 

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