Music Course Descriptions

Music 101 - Private Instruction

Variable credit: either one-half course or zero credit for one semester. Individual instrumental or vocal instruction. Students taking this course for credit are encouraged to participate in at least one student recital. See above for pre- or corequisite for credit. 

Music 104 - Reed Chamber Orchestra

Variable credit: either one-half course or zero credit for one semester. Availability of credit dependent on instruments needed for repertoire to be performed in any given semester. Because there are two rehearsals per week, the pre- or corequisite of enrollment in other music courses to earn credit is waived, although the restrictions on the amount of credit that can be earned still apply. The orchestra rehearses and performs works from the 18th to 21st centuries. The orchestra presents one or two concerts each semester and sometimes performs at the Reed dance concert.

Music 105 - Reed Chorus

Variable credit: either one-half course or zero credit for one semester. The chorus rehearses and performs works from all periods of music, often with the Chamber Orchestra. See above for pre- or corequisite for credit.

Music 107 - Collegium Musicum

Variable credit: either one-half course or zero credit for one semester. Collegium rehearses and performs vocal music suitable for a small group. Audition required. See above for pre- or corequisite for credit.

Music 108 - Jazz Ensemble

Variable credit: either one half-course or zero credit for one semester. A small jazz ensemble selected by the instructor will rehearse and perform. Rehearsals will include improvisational techniques, soloing, and accompanying. Audition required. See above for pre- or corequisite for credit.

Music 109 - Chamber Music

Variable credit: either one-half course or zero credit for one semester. Available by audition when there are enough advanced students to form an ensemble of one player per part. This course consists of weekly coaching sessions and the chance to perform during the semester. Prerequisite: audition. Corequisite: participation in the Reed Chamber Orchestra (except for keyboard players). See above for pre- or corequisite for credit.

Music 110 - Introduction to Music Listening

Full course for one semester. This course aims to enhance pleasure and understanding of music and to broaden the range of responses to it through active listening. We shall develop a vocabulary for talking and writing about music and learn to identify musical structures that have endured in the European West. Examples are drawn from a wide range of musical styles and historical periods. The relationship between musical structure and expressive power will be a primary focus. Lecture-conference.

Music 111 - Theory I

Full course for one semester. This course examines notation of pitch and rhythm; scales and key signatures; intervals, triads, and diatonic seventh chords; writing in four parts. It begins with the basic elements of music, but moves swiftly through the contents of a first-semester college-level music theory course. Labs include sight singing, dictation, and keyboard. Lecture and laboratory.

Music 211 - Theory II: Intermediate Harmony and Species Counterpoint

Full course for one semester. This course continues the laboratory skills acquired in Music 111. Students are introduced to principles of melodic construction, modal counterpoint, and more advanced tonal harmony, applying these principles to appropriate musical examples. Prerequisite: Music 111 or equivalent skill, to be determined by a placement examination given at the beginning of the academic year. Lecture-conference and laboratory.

Music 221 - Historical Survey of Western Music I

Full course for one semester. This course will explore the history of art music in Europe from the early polyphony of the medieval Roman Catholic Church to the late Baroque music of Bach and Handel. Among the topics explored will be the relationship between music and language, the characteristics and development of major vocal genres such as chanson, mass, madrigal, cantata, and opera; and the growing prominence of instrumental music. Conference.

Music 222 - Historical Survey of Western Music II

Full course for one semester. Beginning with the new philosophical orientation of the Enlightenment, this course will explore the history of art music in Europe from the mid-18th century to the present. We will examine formal features, aesthetic ideals, and social meanings of major instrumental genres such as the sonata, string quartet, concerto, and symphony; and study the musical manifestations of romanticism, modernism, and avant-gardism. Conference.

Music 244 - Song

Full course for one semester. This course is a survey of European art song from the late Renaissance to the present, with a focus on the historical milieu, the texts, and the specific ways in which the genre's principal composers set those texts. Primary emphasis will be on 19th-century German Lieder; other types of solo songs considered will include English lute song, 17th-century cantatas, and solo song in the 20th century. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Lecture-conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Music 247 - American Musical Theatre

Full course for one semester. We will study the development of American musical theatre as exemplified mainly but not exclusively in the Broadway musicals of the past 80 years. Shows to be studied will include Show Boat, Porgy and Bess, The Cradle Will Rock, Lady in the Dark, Oklahoma!, Kiss Me, Kate, Guys and Dolls, My Fair Lady, West Side Story, Cabaret, Into the Woods, Rent, and Urinetown. We will look at the construction of individual songs and scenes and study the evolving ideal of integrating music and drama. Conference. Cross-listed as Theatre 247.

Music 248 - Music and Religion

Full course for one semester. Does sacred music differ musically from secular? What is the role of music in different religions? What kinds of religious feeling can music convey? We shall consider these questions in the Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant traditions, by studying great religious music of the past (e.g., Palestrina, J. S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Messiaen); by considering some non-Western religious traditions that distinguish between chant and music; and by seeing the transformation of musical roles in the more contemporary traditions of Gospel and evangelical sects. Conference.

Music 256 - Romantic Music

Full course for one semester. This course is a survey of European art music during the 19th century, with a focus on the historical context and on listening to works in a variety of genres by many of the principal composers of the era, including Schubert, Berlioz, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Wagner, Brahms, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, and Dvorák. Lecture-conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Music 257 - Brahms

Full course for one semester. Johannes Brahms (1833–97) was the most prominent composer of the 19th century who did not write operas. He was considered old-fashioned by his contemporaries, but was labeled "progressive" by Schoenberg. Can both descriptions be true? Why has Brahms's music remained beloved by audiences and performers alike? We will explore his life and music, listening to works in all the genres in which he composed. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Lecture-conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Music 263 - Music of the Caribbean

Full course for one semester. With the discourses of identity/alterity and créolité providing a conceptual framework, this course will introduce students to musical styles from the Caribbean region, including bachata and merengue (Dominican Republic), calypso and steel pan (Trinidad), rara and konpa (Haiti), son (Cuba), reggae and dancehall (Jamaica), and the U.S.-based styles Latin jazz and salsa. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Lecture-conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Music 264 - Modernism

Full course for one semester. This course is an introduction to the music of Strauss, Mahler, Debussy, Ravel, Satie, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Bartòk, Hindemith, Weill, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Ives, Varése, Crawford, Gershwin, and Copland. We will approach this music from the perspective of modernist aesthetic theory. Lecture-conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Music 266 - The Music of Duke Ellington

Full course for one semester. As composer, arranger, songwriter, bandleader, and pianist, Duke Ellington (1899–1974) stood at the center of American music. His works mirror the development of jazz from ragtime to hot jazz, swing, bebop, and beyond. We will trace the development of Ellington’s style, the evolution of his orchestra and the influence of its players on his music, and his collaboration with Billy Strayhorn. We will also examine Ellington’s exploration of different genres, including extended jazz compositions, musical theatre, and religious music. Lecture-conference.

Music 271 - Studying Popular Music

Full course for one semester. This course is an introduction to some of the key aesthetic, theoretical, and methodological concerns in the burgeoning field of popular music studies, which has explored the ways in which meaning is produced through the performance, (re)production, and consumption of popular music. Among the topics the course will address are popular music as creative expression, as recorded sound, and as a field of sociocultural discourse, focusing primarily on popular music in the United States. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Lecture-conference.

Music 272 - Music since 1968

Full course for one semester. We will study representative works of late modernism, avant-garde music, minimalism and postmodernism by Elliott Carter, Olivier Messiaen, Karlheinz Stockhausen, György Ligeti, Witold Lutoslawski, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, George Crumb, John Adams, Arvo Pärt, and Alfred Schnittke. Lecture-conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Music 312 - Theory III: Advanced Harmony

Full course for one semester. This course will examine the development of harmonic resources in 19th- and 20th-century musical idioms through compositional and analytical exercises. In particular we will study the chromatic styles of Schubert, Chopin, and Wagner; impressionist harmonies of Debussy and Ravel; modernist idioms of Stravinsky, Bartók and Schoenberg; and contemporary jazz harmony. Conference with musicianship lab. Prerequisite: Music 211.

Music 314 - Composition

Full course for one semester. This course is an introduction to contemporary composition. Students will compose and perform short works. The course will deal with problems of instrumentation, notation, and performance, as well as the larger aesthetic issues of coherence and gesture, within a broad range of styles and media. Prerequisite: Music 212 or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Music 343 - Theory IV: Form and Analysis

Full course for one semester. This course is a study of the forms of the Classical and Romantic periods and an introduction to the analytic ideas of Schenker, Reti, and Schoenberg. Prerequisite: Music 312. Conference.

Music 352 - Johann Sebastian Bach

Full course for one semester. We will investigate Bach's life and music, with attention to works he wrote for the conditions of his employment at different times in his career. The histories of the genres in which he composed—Lutheran church music and other vocal works; instrumental works, including those for keyboard instruments, other instruments, and orchestra—will also be considered. Prerequisites: sophomore standing; ability to read music. Conference.

Music 362 - History and Memory in African American Music

Full course for one semester. This course will consider the ways in which African American musical expression has offered critical perspectives on the past. Topics to be explored include the reception of the spiritual during the Harlem Renaissance; historical consciousness in sample-based hip-hop; resonances of southern history in soul music; and the "blues aesthetic" in literature and the visual arts. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Lecture-conference.

Music 365 - Avant-garde Music

Full course for one semester. The term “avant-garde” was applied to music, such as Schoenberg’s "Pierrot Lunaire" or Varése’s "Ionisation," that broke with techniques of the past, but also to works like Satie’s "Relâche," which challenged and destabilized the very notion of an art work. These tendencies flowered after World War II with the music and ideas of Cage, Boulez, Stockhausen, Xenakis, Berio, and Feldman; this course will primarily study this literature. We will also study composers of the American “maverick” line, such as Ives, Cowell, Harrison, Partch, and Lucier. Conference.

Music 372 - Mozart’s Così fan tutte as Musical Work and Cultural Text

Full course for one semester. The focus of this course is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Così fan tutte, an opera that, since its premiere in 1790, has received copious scholarly attention.  Through close study of Così from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives, the course will explore topics that include late Classical style, Mozart’s collaborations with librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte, Enlightenment philosophy, the sexual politics and orientalism of Mozart’s Vienna, approaches to the opera’s production, and, in light of Così’s complex reception history, critical and analytical interpretations of the work. Conference. 

Music 470 - Thesis

Full course for one year.

Music 481 - Independent Study

One-half or full course for one semester. Prerequisite: approval of instructor and division.




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