MUSI 10100 Intro to Western Music
This one-quarter course is designed to enrich the listening experience of students, particularly with respect to the art music of the Western European and American concert tradition. Students are introduced to the basic elements of music and the ways that they are integrated to create works in various styles. Particular emphasis is placed on musical form and on the potential for music to refer to and interact with aspects of the world outside.
MUSI 10200 Intro to World Music
This course is a selected survey of classical, popular, and folk music traditions from around the world. The goals are not only to expand our skills as listeners but also to redefine what we consider music to be and, in the process, stimulate a fresh approach to our own diverse musical traditions. In addition, the role of music as ritual, aesthetic experience, mode of communication, and artistic expression is explored.
MUSI 10300 Intro to Music: Materials and Design
This introductory course in music is intended for students who are interested in exploring the language, interpretation, and meaning of music through coordinated listening, analysis, and creative work. By listening to and comprehending the structural and aesthetic considerations behind significant written and improvised works, from the earliest examples of notated Western music to the music of living composers and performers, students will be prepared to undertake analytical and ultimately creative projects. The relationship between cultural and historical practices and the creation and reception of music will also be considered. The course is taught by a practicing composer, whose experience will guide and inform the works studied. No prior background in music is required.
MUSI 10400 Intro to Music: Analysis and Criticism
This course aims to develop students' analytical and critical tools by focusing on a select group of works drawn from the Western European and American concert tradition. The texts for the course are recordings. Through listening, written assignments, and class discussion, we explore topics such as compositional strategy, conditions of musical performance, interactions between music and text, and the relationship between music and ideology as they are manifested in complete compositions.
MUSI 12100 Music in Western Civilization
This course, part of the Social Sciences Civ core, looks at musics in different moments of Euro-American history and the social contexts in which they originated, with some comparative views on other world traditions. It aims to give students a better understanding of the social contexts of European music over this period; aids for the basic sound structures of pieces from these different moments; and convincing writing in response to prompts based on source readings or music pieces. Our first quarter (MUS 12100 etc.) spans roughly the period between Charlemagne’s coronation as Holy Roman Emperor (800 CE) and the dissolution of the Empire (1806) with the triumph of Napoleon across Western Europe.
MUSI 15100 Harmony and Voice Leading I
The first quarter focuses on fundamentals: scale types, keys, basic harmonic structures, voice-leading and two-voice counterpoint. Musicianship labs in ear training and keyboard skills required.
MUSI 17000 University Chorus
The University Chorus is the largest vocal ensemble on campus. Its season includes an annual production of Handel's Messiah as well as presentations of choral masterworks such as Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, and Verdi's Messa da requiem. Among its 80 to 100 members are undergraduates, graduates, faculty and staff members, and singers from the Hyde Park and University community: The result is a wonderfully diverse group of vocalists, collaborating in performances of monuments of the literature. The University Chorus presents three to four concerts per season, culminating in a festive year-end performance with the combined choirs and the University Symphony Orchestra.
MUSI 17001 Motet Choir
As the premier undergraduate choral ensemble at the University of Chicago, the Motet Choir accepts 28-36 singers each year. Concentrating on a cappella masterworks of all periods, this polished vocal ensemble specializes in music of the Renaissance and also performs historically and culturally diverse repertoire ranging from Gregorian chant to gospel standards. The Motet Choir presents at least three major concerts per year (one each quarter) and sings at convocations and special events on campus and throughout the Chicago area. The ensemble goes on tour every second year, often during the University's spring break.
MUSI 17002 Women's Ensemble
The Women's Ensemble is made up primarily of undergraduate women at the University of Chicago. We explore classical repertoire from the Medieval era up through the present day and music from polyphonic singing traditions across the world, including South Africa, Zimbabwe, the Republic of Georgia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Sweden, and Norway, as well as a variety of American singing traditions. Through diverse repertoire, we strive to bring our voices together in powerful ways.
MUSI 17003 Rockefeller Chapel Choir
The Rockefeller Chapel Choir and its professional subset, the Decani, sing at Sunday services and festivals throughout the academic year and also in Rockefeller's signature Quire & Place concert series, presenting major works from the entire historical canon, lesser-known gems, and the premières of new work by distinguished composers. The choir's members come from diverse spiritual and cultural backgrounds, sharing together the rich musical experience of singing an array of choral music in the unique religious and cultural contexts of a chapel to which students of all world traditions are drawn.
MUSI 17010 University Symphony Orchestra
The 100-member University Symphony Orchestra presents an ambitious season of six major concerts per year (two each quarter). Known for its imaginative presentations of unusual repertoire as well as for its powerful performances of major symphonic literature, the University Symphony opens each year with a costumed Halloween concert-a family-friendly event enhanced by storytelling, dancing, and special effects-and closes with a celebratory year-end collaboration with the combined choirs. Repertoire generally encompasses 19th- and 20th-century works written for large orchestral forces, including masterpieces by Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorák, Mahler, Shostakovich, Sibelius, Vaughan Williams, and more. In recent years the USO has presented several silent films with live orchestral accompaniment, including Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin, and performed with acclaimed professional soloists every season. USO string sections are coached by the Pacifica Quartet. Membership is chosen on the basis of competitive auditions, and includes both undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff, alumni, and some community members.
MUSI 17011 University Chamber Orchestra
The University Chamber Orchestra is a 40-member ensemble of strings, woodwinds, and horns that specializes in Baroque, Classical, and 20th-century repertoire for smaller orchestra. The group presents three concerts per year, often pairing a major symphony by Mozart or Haydn with an overture, suite, or concerto for similar forces. The Chamber Orchestra also serves as the pit orchestra for the Music Department's annual collaboration with the Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company.
MUSI 17012 University Wind Ensemble
The University Wind Ensemble is an auditioned group of fifty to sixty instrumentalists with a diverse range of musical interests and experience. The UWE presents one concert per quarter, after an intensive preparation period of six to seven weeks. With a focus on modern literature conceived specifically for the wind ensemble medium, the UWE provides its members with an opportunity to perform music by such renowned wind composers as Malcolm Arnold, Percy Grainger, Gustav Holst, and Frank Ticheli, as well as transcriptions of orchestral masterpieces by J. S. Bach, Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, and others. Membership includes talented undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, and community members who are dedicated to bringing a wide array of music to the University community.
MUSI 17020 Early Music Ensemble
The Early Music Ensemble is an historically oriented performance and study group led by members of the Newberry Consort. Participation in the group is open to anyone in the University community with music-reading experience; private lessons and coaching in voice and early instruments are likewise available through the Newberry Consort. Repertoire is drawn from 15th- to 17th-century sources, with special emphasis given to historically informed performance practices such as reading from original notation, improvisation, and ornamentation. The Early Music Ensemble also provides a forum for undergraduate majors and graduate students in Music who wish to explore repertories particular to their scholarly research. Collaborations with professional performers take place throughout the year, culminating in the Early Music Ensemble's year-end spring concert.
MUSI 17021 Jazz X-tet
Lauded for its boldness in showcasing cutting-edge compositions, the Jazz X-tet is a versatile collection of 12 to 15 musicians, frequently joined in performance by noted Chicago-area professionals. The X-tet's three-concert season offers a variety of pieces, from jazz standards to hip-hop, often in arrangements that are custom-designed for the ensemble by its own members. In rehearsal and performance, the X-tet focuses on developing the improvisational skills of its musicians, as well as on deepening their understanding of the wide-ranging jazz idiom. The group has issued two CDs and frequently performs for University events on campus and elsewhere in the city. In addition to the Jazz X-tet itself, several small jazz combo groups are set up each year to provide training and experience to interested musicians and to perform informally on campus.
MUSI 17022 Jazz Combo
In addition to the Jazz X-tet, several small jazz combo groups are set up each year to provide training and experience to interested musicians and to perform informally on campus.
MUSI 17023 Middle East Music Ensemble
The Middle East Music Ensemble explores a variety of classical, neo-classical, and popular musical forms from throughout the Middle East, encompassing compositional and improvisational techniques unique to non-Western musical culture. Members perform on traditional instruments, often in company with noted guest artists, and present multiple concerts both on and off campus. No previous experience in the genre is required, but the ability to read music is necessary. Membership includes students, faculty, and staff of the University, as well as community members interested in the art and music of the Middle East.
MUSI 17025 South Asian Music Ensemble
The South Asian Music Ensemble explores a variety of classical, vernacular, and popular song repertories from the Indian Subcontinent, with membership open to beginners as well as to more experienced performers with a background in South Asian music. The ensemble will focus on teaching vocal techniques, stylistic features, compositional forms, improvisational practices, and performance conventions specific to India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and South Asian diasporas. In addition to participating in weekly ensemble rehearsals, members will have the option of attending voice coaching sessions and/or engaging the instructor for private lessons. Membership is open to students, faculty, and staff of the University, as well as community members interested in South Asian music.
MUSI 17026 Chamber Music Program
The wide-ranging and inclusive Chamber Music Program provides numerous performance opportunities for undergraduate and graduate student musicians. Chamber music groups are organized at the beginning of the year, guided in the selection of repertoire, and coached regularly by the Chamber Music Program Director as well as by the Department's artists-in-residence. Periodic coaching opportunities with visiting guest artists and other Chicago-area musicians are also available, as opportunities arise and/or repertoire dictates. Chamber music groups participate in quarterly Chamber Music Master Classes and perform on the Thursday Tea Time Concert Series, on Chamber Music Showcase concerts, and on recitals and concerts in the Campus North Dormitory and at a local retirement community.
MUSI 17027 Piano Program
Student pianists, both undergraduate and graduate, can enhance their musical skills and experience through master classes, quarterly Piano Showcase concerts, and numerous other opportunities offered by the Department of Music’s Piano Program. Students in the program receive regular coaching sessions with the Director of Piano Studies, and they are invited to participate in master classes with visiting guest artists and local professional pianists as well. Performance opportunities include numerous concerts both on and off campus, many of which focus on a specific composer or historical period.
MUSI 17028 Vocal Studies Program
In addition to the four choral ensembles sponsored by the Department of Music, the Vocal Studies Program, open to undergraduate and graduate students at the University, provides opportunities for singers’ involvement and musical growth. Under the direction of acclaimed soprano and pedagogue Patrice Michaels, this program encompasses both individual and group coaching opportunities as well as master classes and workshops on the singers’ art. Participants have the opportunity to perform on Thursday Tea Time Concerts, on Vocal Music Showcase concerts, and in a variety of special programs on campus and in the Hyde Park neighborhood. Special projects often focus on a particular theme, a particular composer, or a particular genre or historical period. Singers also have opportunities to work with instrumentalists involved in the Chamber Music Program and Piano Program, and to collaborate with Department of Music graduate and undergraduate composers on new works.
MUSI 17029 Percussion Ensemble
The Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of John Corkill, consists of skilled undergraduate and graduate student percussionists who specialize in mallets, drums, mixed, and world percussion. The group rehearses weekly and presents two or more concerts per season, showcasing a variety of solo, duo, and small ensemble works for mixed percussion. Members of the Percussion Ensemble are expected to play regularly with the University Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Jazz X-tet, as needed.
MUSI 25320 Analyzing and Writing Popular Song
This class will explore different contemporary theoretical approaches to the analysis of popular music from 1960 to the present, in genres such as pop, rock, rap, folk, and country. Topics examined will include vocal and instrumental timbre, verse-chorus form, the presence or absence of functional harmony, flow and groove, metric ambiguity, and the ontology of song. Students will learn to use aural, embodied, spectrographic, and transcription-based methods to analyze individual songs.
MUSI 26100 Intro to Composition
Designed for beginning composers to practice and hone the nuances of their musical craft, this course introduces some of the fundamentals of music composition through a series of exercises as well as several larger creative projects. Professional musicians will perform students’ exercises and compositions. This is primarily a creative, composing course. Through a combination of composition assignments, listening, discussion, analysis, and reading, we will explore and practice the fundamental aspects of music composition. Repertoire study, harmony, counterpoint, rhythm, orchestration, timbre, form, transformation, and several other pertinent essentials are included in the curriculum. This laboratory-style, practical course is interactive and discussion-based.
MUSI 27100 Topics in the History of Western Music I
As part of three sequential courses, this survey of music history examines European musical culture, and those with which it had contact, from around 800 to 1750. Students will engage scores, source readings, and analysis.
MUSI 31300 Analysis of 20th Century Music
This course has traditionally focused on analyzing 20th-century art music from the European tradition (Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Bartók, etc.) using the tools of pitch-class set (pcset) theory. For this iteration of the class, we will focus instead on the music of what Fred Moten calls the “Black radical tradition,” centering works and performances by female composers including Nicolle Mitchell, Matana Roberts, Alice Coltrane, Amina Claudine Meyers, and Renee Baker. We will also spend time with music by Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, and artists associated with the AACM. Though this music is regularly categorized as “jazz” or “free jazz,” we will follow George Lewis in querying such labels, which often serve to segregate Black experimentalism from elite white traditions. In order to cultivate an alertness to the ethical stakes of studying Black music in the class, we will openly discuss problems of appropriation and intellectual colonization, making these an explicit part of the class’s subject matter. Seminal texts from Moten, Lewis, Okiji, and Baraka will serve as conceptual frames for our analytical and critical work. As part of that work, we will still learn and deploy certain concepts from pcset theory, as warranted by the music at hand. But we will also develop analytical methods that are responsive to the sounding particularities of a given work or performance, focusing especially on timbre, texture, time/rhythm/meter/groove, group interaction, and the relationship between composed and improvised sections. Analytical work will range from “unscripted,” informal prose to more formal, technical work, some of which will involve transcription. Throughout, we will bring our analytical findings into dialogue with broader interpretive and historical questions, drawing and building on the critical insights of Moten et al.
MUSI 32800 Proseminar: 1900-2000 Music
The seminar will introduce students to issues and trends in the study of music since 1900. We will explore how scholars have in the last several years have studied musical practices of the 20th and 21st centuries as well as how they have determined salient repertoires, concepts, and themes for their research. Genres explored include German modernism, gospel, EDM, South African Kwaito, noise, and Tejano/Latinx pop (among others). Concepts encountered include migration-diaspora, sound recording, community formation, experimentation, nationhood, diva worship, improvisation, and mourning. We will also reflect on the ways in which scholars have blurred boundaries between musicological subfields and variously combined historiography, ethnography, performance studies, and music analysis.
MUSI 33000 Proseminar: Ethnomusiclogy
This course’s goal is to introduce graduate students to the history, development and theoretical underpinnings of ethnomusicology as a research discipline. In our readings, therefore, we will focus our attention on key figures and institutions, especially from the late 19th century forward; on major issues and debates in and beyond ethnomusicology; on the relationships between ethnomusicology and other research disciplines; and on emergent emphases and concerns in ethnomusicological work.
MUSI 23804/33804 Rock
This course has as its focus the varied social agents, discourses, processes and institutions that contribute to current and historical understandings of rock. Issues of musical style, questions of historiography, the technologies and techniques of audio recording, the structures of the recording industry, the status of so-called subcultures and mainstreams, and the politics of gender, race and sexuality are among the items which our readings, class discussions and assignments will explore. As such, the inculcation of an “appreciation” of rock, the transmission of a canon and the validation of individual musical tastes are projects that are antithetical to our inquiry. Students will also be encouraged, through select readings and listening assignments, to contextualize rock within a broad ﬁeld of twentieth- and twenty-ﬁrst century music-making and attendant social, political and economic processes.
MUSI 34100 Composition Seminar
The composition seminar is a weekly session designed for graduate students in composition. It is an open forum for composers to listen to recent music, including their own, and to discuss issues connected with trends, esthetics, and compositional techniques. The entire composition faculty takes part in these sessions. The composition seminar often hosts well-known visiting composers whose works are performed in the city by various groups or ensembles, as well as performers specializing in new music and contemporary techniques.
MUSI 26618/36618 Electronic Music I
Electronic Music I presents an open environment for creativity and expression through composition in the electronic music studio. The course provides students with a background in the fundamentals of sound and acoustics, covers the theory and practice of digital signal processing for audio, and introduces the recording studio as a powerful compositional tool. The course culminates in a concert of original student works presented in multi-channel surround sound. Enrollment gives students access to the Electronic Music Studio in the Department of Music. No prior knowledge of electronic music is necessary.
MUSI 41500 Dissertation Proposal Seminar
The purpose of this seminar is to assist students (typically in their third year) in crafting a dissertation proposal, gaining critical feedback from their peers, and honing compelling research projects. The meeting schedule of the seminar will be flexible: beginning in the fourth week of Autumn term, we will meet about once every two weeks; it may be, however, that we pick up the tempo a bit during Winter term, such that during Spring term we can slow it down a bit to allow students more time to work with their advisors on the formulation of their research projects. Once I know the schedule of the Department workshops I will schedule the meetings of the DPS to avoid conflicts with classes, workshops and other events, and distribute an initial assignment for reading and discussion.
MUSI 41520 Dissertation Chapter Seminar
During the five three-hour sessions of the Dissertation Chapter Seminar each quarter, Ph.D. students in their fourth and fifth years will have the opportunity to share strategies for writing up their dissertations during the years of most intensive research. We shall work collectively to develop these strategies, investigating the on-the-ground research work that students bring to the DCS from the early stages of research to the completion of chapters in preparation for the dissertation-completion year. Each session will begin with a discussion of research-to-writing strategies, and it will conclude with discussion in the seminar of one or two pre-circulated chapters by students in the DCS. Ph.D. students who are not in residence during their fourth and fifth years, because they are conducting research or no longer in residence in Chicago, will participate remotely. During the Autumn Quarter of 2020/2021, the DCS will be entirely remote. The DCS provides students an opportunity for a sustained and supportive dissertation-writing workshop for Ph.D. students in Music.
MUSI 42217 Sounding the Archipelago
The word archipelago [ἄρχι- -arkhi- ("chief")-and πέλαγος-pélagos ("sea")] was used in medieval Italy to refer to the Aegean Sea, and later referred to the Aegean islands. Currently, it refers to any island group or, in some instances, to a sea containing a large number of scattered islands. By considering archipelagic global spaces such as the Caribbean basin, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Pacific Ocean, "Sounding the Archipelago" is concerned with discursive and material networks of islands, oceans, and continents as they pertain to processes of music-making. Drawing from an interdisciplinary body of scholarship including texts in ethnomusicology, philosophy, geography, island studies, postcolonial studies, and comparative literature, this seminar examines the theoretical and thematic possibilities of an archipelagic framework of relation. Considering the material and theoretical tension between land and water, and between island and mainland (continental) relations, participants will investigate the types of connections that become visible and audible when island groups are regarded not exclusively as sites of cultural and musical production and circulation, but rather, as models. Specifically, what does it mean to think with a place instead of exclusively about it? How do we think and write about networks, connections, and mobility in ways that foreground in-between spaces and sounds alongside the discourses and epistemologies that constitute them? Where "sounding" refers to measuring the depth of a body of water, to preliminary steps before further action and, of course, to the presence of resonant sound, participants in "Sounding the Archipelago" will critically engage with the archipelagic as a new intellectual field and question its efficacy and suitability to the study of music.
MUSI 43610 Seminar: Improvisation
The subject of improvisation is one that has attained renewed interest and urgency across a spectrum of musical disciplines in recent years: history, theory, ethnomusicology, and composition. It is not too much of an exaggeration to say that our understanding of the development and practice of just about every musical tradition has been touched by this Renaissance of scholarship. In this seminar, we will overview some of this scholarship as it impacts some 2,000 years of musical practices and theories. The idea will not be to offer a comprehensive history of improvisation, but rather to dip into selected moments and repertoires in order to see what commonalities we might find. We will see how improvisatory practices were central to a range of canonical repertoires in Western music: from Medieval organum and discant singing to 18th c. instrumental diminutions and partimento pedagogies for the keyboard, Renaissance counterpoint singing, to 19th c. virtuosic piano fantasies and vocal embellishments. We will also consider more contemporary improvisatory practices in jazz and contemporary music, touching on some non-western traditions of improvisation (particularly from the Middle East and South Asia). We will consider varied theoretical problems of aesthetics, the musical canon, and cognitive/psychological aspects of extemporaneous performance. Each class will be divided into both a theoretical/historical part followed by a practicum. Class to include guest faculty performers.