Spring 2015 Courses

Spring 2015 Courses: Undergraduate | Graduate

UNDERGRADUATE COURSES

MUSI 10100: Introduction to Western Art Music

MARTHA FELDMAN, MIRIAM TRIPALDI, SETH BRODSKY

1: Feldman - T,R 10:30-11:50 am, GoH 402
2: Tripaldi - T,R 3:00-4:20 pm, GoH 402
3. Brodsky - M,W 9:30-10:50 am, LC 901

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.

Notes/Prerequisite(s): Background in music not required. Students must confirm enrollment by attending one of the first two sessions of class. This course meets the Gen'l Ed requirement in dramatic, musical, & visual arts.

MUSI 10200: Introduction to World Music

MEREDITH MCBRIDE, KALEY MASON, ANDREA HARRIS JORDAN, GENEVIEVE DEMPSEY

1. McBride - T,R 12:00-1:20 pm, LC 901
2. Mason - T,R 9:00-10:20 am, LC 901
3. Jordan - M,W 1:30-2:50 pm, GoH 402
4. Dempsey - M,W,F 9:30-10:20am, GoH 402

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.

Notes/Prerequisite(s): Background in music not required. Students must confirm enrollment by attending one of the first two sessions of class. This course meets the Gen'l Ed requirement in dramatic, musical, & visual arts.

MUSI 10300: Intro: Music Materials/Design

YUAN-CHEN LI, PHIL TAYLOR

1. Li - M,W,F 11:30-12:20 pm, LC 901
2. Taylor - T,R 3:00-4:20 pm, LC 901

In this variant of the introductory course in music, students explore the language of music through coordinated listening, analysis, and exercises in composition. A study of a wide diversity of musical styles serves as an incentive for student compositions in those styles.

Notes/Prerequisite(s): Background in music not required. Students must confirm enrollment by attending one of the first two sessions of class. This course meets the Gen'l Ed requirement in dramatic, musical, & visual arts.

MUSI 10400: Intro: Music Analysis/Criticism

PATRICK FITZGIBBON

T,R 10:30-11:50 am, LC 901

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.

Notes/Prerequisite(s): Background in music not required. Students must confirm enrollment by attending one of the first two sessions of class. This course meets the Gen'l Ed requirement in dramatic, musical, & visual arts.

MUSI 12200: Music in Western Civilization I: From 1750

ROBERT KENDRICK

M,W,F 9:30-10:20 am, Cobb 307

This two-quarter sequence explores musical works of broad cultural significance in Western civilization. We study pieces not only from the standpoint of musical style but also through the lenses of politics, intellectual history, economics, gender, cultural studies, and so on. Readings are taken both from our music textbook and from the writings of a number of figures such as St. Benedict of Nursia and Martin Luther. In addition to lectures, students discuss important issues in the readings and participate in music listening exercises in smaller sections.

Notes/Prerequisite(s): Prior music course or ability to read music not required. Students must confirm enrollment by attending one of the first two sessions of class. This two-quarter sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies; it does not meet the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts.

MUSI 14300: Music Theory Fundamentals

CHELSEA BURNS

T,R 12:00-1:20 pm, GoH 402

 

MUSI 15300: Harmony and Voice Leading-3

DREW NOBILE

1. M,W,F 10:30-11:20 am, GoH 402
2. M,W,F 11:30-12:20 am, GoH 402

This three-quarter sequence serves as an introduction to the materials and structure of Western tonal music. The first quarter focuses on fundamentals: scale types, keys, basic harmonic structures, voice-leading and two-voice counterpoint. The second quarter explores extensions of harmonic syntax, the basics of classical form, further work with counterpoint, and nondiatonic seventh chords. The third quarter undertakes the study of modulation, sequences, and additional analysis of classical forms. Musicianship labs in ear training and keyboard skills required.

Notes/Prerequisite(s): MUSI 15100 or consent of instructor. Students must also register for one of the following ear training lab sections: T/R 9:30-10:20 am LC 703, T/R 10:30-11:50 am LC 703, or M/W 4:30-5:20 pm GoH 402.

MUSI 22415: Israel/Palestine

PHILIP BOHLMAN

R 1:30-4:20 pm, GoH 205

Historically one of the most complex and contested territories in the world, Israel/Palestine has a music culture that participates in the process of connection and separation. The politics of music in Israel/Palestine grow from conflicted beliefs about authenticity and ownership, the sounds of difference and sameness. The sacred and the secular intersect, and boundaries of practice and genre both divide and unite. Local practices have never been independent of global movement, be it in diaspora, pilgrimage, or the distant residence of refugees. The musical landscape of the region, therefore, has shifted throughout history, accessible primarily through the archeology of music scholarship.

In this proseminar we shall look at specific moments when the musics of Israel/Palestine converged, responding to and shaping the historical change. Weekly sessions will take specific moments as ways of exploring the ways in which music was critical to the processes of change, identity, and accommodation. We begin with moments in Antiquity, among them the moments in which the temples in Jerusalem were destroyed (e.g., 70 CE). Moments marking the patterns of settlement (Yishuv) and political transformation and unrest will mark the chronology of the modernity and modernism (e.g., 1917, 1933, 1938). The moments of statehood and nationalism will be of growing significance as the course moves toward the twenty-first century (e.g., 1948, 1967, and 1987).

We shall explore musical repertories and practices of all kinds, whether sacred or secular, vernacular or élite. Our focus will move from the religious texts that secure musical literacy to the media that unite otherwise divided lands. The role of individual musicians will be set in counterpoint with the cosmopolitan ensembles of the twenty-first century. Folk music and popular music, muzica mizrahit and Palestinian hip-hop, the sound of the synagogue, the mosque, and the church will draw us into engaged listening.

Notes/Prerequisite(s): Students from the Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Divinity School will all be welcome. The ability to read music is not a prerequisite, though familiarity with some way of understanding and discussing music will be helpful.

MUSI 22900: Contemporary Opera

MARTA PTZASYNSKA

M,W 3:00-4:20 pm, GoH 402

The course will explore the diversity of trends, aesthetics, and musical styles in opera after 1980 both in Europe and in America. Major emphasis will be placed on analysis of the most representative operas of that time. The selection of these operas was based on musical and artistic merit, historic importance, and cultural expression. The operas, which will be analyzed, are those based on Greek dramas (Aharony's "Oedipus" and LaCroix "The Birds"), operas which represent surrealist trends such as J. Cage's "Europeas" and Ligeti's "Grand Macabre," psychological dramas found in the operas of Schnittke " The Life with an Idiot" and Nyman's "The Man Who mistook His Wife for a Hat," political dramas such as Adams "'Nixon in China" and McManus" Killing the Goat," historical dramas such as Glass's "Akhnaten," Tan Dun's " Marco Polo," and Ptaszynska's "Valldemosa," operas written under Broadway influences such as Ades' "Powder her Face" and Daugherty's "Jackie O.," and many more.

Notes/Prerequisite(s): This course is designed for graduate students as well as undergraduates; also meets as MUSI 34900

MUSI 22901: Issues in Film Music

BERTHOLD HOECKNER

T,R 3:00-4:20 pm, JRL 264

This course explores the role of film music in the history of cinema. What role does music play as part of the narrative (source music) and as nondiegetic music (underscoring)? How does music of different styles and provenance contribute to the semiotic universe of film? And how did film music assume a central voice in twentieth-century culture? We study music composed for films (original scores) as well as pre-existent music (such as popular and classical music). The twenty films covered in the course may include classical Hollywood cinema, documentaries, foreign (including non-Western) films, experimental films, musicals, and cartoons.

Notes/Prerequisite(s): Instructor consent required. Also meets as MUSI 30901,CMST 28100,CMST 38100.

MUSI 23503: Introduction to the Musical Folklore of Central Asia

ARIK KAGAN

T,R 1:30-2:50 pm, Harper 104

This course explores the musical traditions of the peoples of Central Asia, both in terms of historical development and cultural significance. Topics include the music of the epic tradition, the use of music for healing, instrumental genres, and Central Asian folk and classical traditions. Basic field methods for ethnomusicology are also covered. Extensive use is made of recordings of musical performances and of live performances in the area.

MUSI 23615: Israel/Palestine

PHILIP BOHLMAN

R 1:30-4:20 pm, GoH 205

 

MUSI 25205: Analysis of 19th Century Music

STEVEN RINGS

T,R 10:30-11:50 am, GoH 205

This course focuses on the tonal language of nineteenth-century European composers, including Schubert, Chopin, Brahms, and Wagner. Students confront analytical problems posed by these and other composers' increasing uses of chromaticism and extended forms through both traditional (classical) models of tonal harmony and form, as well as alternative approaches specifically tailored to this repertory. We will also address the ways in which these analytical perspectives might impinge on or influence matters of performance; students with a performance background will be invited to propose a final project that involves both performance and analysis.

MUSI 25500: Chamber Music

AMY BRIGGS

W 1:30-2:50 pm, LC 901

In this course we will examine several specific works from the standard chamber music repertoire (for example, duos, trios, quartets of Mozart, Brahms, Schumann, and the like) as scholars and performers. While readings from historical and analytical perspectives will be included, our primary focus will be on performance, and the inherent challenges of realizing the composer's intentions as authentically, naturally, and effectively as possible. To this end, performance practices as well as the psychology of performing will be considered. The course will culminate in a final concert performance of works examined; each student will participate as a performer in one of the assigned pieces.

Notes/Prerequisite(s): Students must have studied their instrument privately for several years, read music fluently, play at an intermediate/advanced level, and audition week 1. This is a 2-quarter course, and 100 units will be awarded upon completion of the spring quarter.

MUSI 25700: Introduction to Cognitive Musicology

LAWRENCE ZBIKOWSKI

T,R 9:00-10:20 am, GoH 205

 

MUSI 26514: Opera, Society, and Politics

CLAUDIO VELLUTINI

T,R 1:30-2:50 pm, GoH 402

This course explores the role of opera within the history of modernity. We will study representative works spanning four centuries—from Claudio Monteverdi to John Adams—in relation to important political and social issues raised in pertinent documentary sources and theoretical writings. Our approach to these materials will revolve around five overarching themes: (1) opera’s interaction with different kinds of social elites and with the ideology of absolutism in the 17th and early 18th centuries; (2) the political implications of opera’s becoming a topic of public debates before and after the French Revolution; (3) opera’s complex relation with national ideologies and the notion of the Other; (4) the responsiveness of opera to changing conceptions of subjectivity and social order at the turn of the 20th century; (5) opera’s political and social function amid the rise of mass media after World War II.

Notes/Prerequisite(s): Stuart Tave Fellowship course; also meets as HIST 23608, ITAL 26514, TAPS 26514.

MUSI 26915: Composing for Orchestra in the 21st Century - Innovation, Tradition, and Institution

ANTHONY CHEUNG

W 10:30-1:20 pm, GoH 205

This course is a comprehensive look into the modern orchestra's relationship with new music over the past few decades. A major component will be examining repertoire of the past fifty years, seeing how new techniques, aesthetics, and technologies (electronics, computer-assisted orchestration, acoustics of instruments and halls) have influenced how composers approach writing for the orchestra. We will explore pathbreaking works that involve spatialization, alternative tunings, and electronics. At the same time, we will consider questions such as: Is it possible to be innovative with the orchestra in our time? And is this even an objective pursued by composers for the medium? The orchestra, that most tradition-bound apparatus, is on the one hand the most fertile ground for exploring new ways of thinking of timbre, spatialization, and new technologies. And yet, in dealing with economic realities and practical responsibilities, as well as a commitment to canonical practice, orchestras are also the most resistant to change and exploration. What are the limitations and expectations, artistic and financial, of music created for orchestral institutions? How is cultural prestige at play? What aesthetic choices are made in the programming and writing of orchestral music, and which arise out of pragmatism and marketing? What roles do the artistic administrators, composers-in-residence, publishers, critics and publicists play in changing the direction of orchestras? We will talk to people behind the scenes of new music programming in the orchestral world, and look at case studies of composers-in-residence, including Jacob Druckman's tenure at the New York Philharmonic and his Horizons series, and Augusta Read Thomas at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the formation of the successful MusicNOW series.

MUSI 27300: Topics - History of Western Music - 3

SETH BRODSKY

M,W 3:00-4:20 pm, LC 901

This sequence is a three-quarter investigation into Western art music, with primary emphasis on the vocal and instrumental repertories of Western Europe and the United States. MUSI 27300 treats music since 1800. Topics include the music of Beethoven and his influence on later composers; the rise of public concerts, German opera, programmatic instrumental music, and nationalist trends; the confrontation with modernism; and the impact of technology on the expansion of musical boundaries.

Notes/Prerequisite(s): MUSI 14300 or 15300. Open to non-majors with consent of instructor.

MUSI 28000: Orchestral Conducting

BARBARA SCHUBERT

M 1:30-2:50 pm, LC 703

This two-quarter introductory course focuses on the on the art as well as the craft of Orchestral Conducting. Designed primarily for undergraduate students who have had experience playing in an orchestra, wind ensemble, chamber group, or choral ensemble, the curriculum includes practical instruction, podium experience, background reading, and concert/conductor observation. Through a combination of classroom work, individual instruction, and supplemental ensemble sessions, students will gain significant practical experience in conducting. Weekly class meetings will incorporate singing, keyboard work, and instrumental participation by class members and guest musicians. Important technical exercises will be assigned every week, along with modest reading selections. Several short papers and classroom presentations will be assigned each quarter, in conjunction with background readings and classroom topics. The overall goal of the course is to promote the students’ understanding and appreciation of the technical responsibilities and the artistic possibilities of the conductor’s role, and to promote a basic proficiency in the craft of conducting an instrumental ensemble.

MUSI 28500: Musicianship Skills

PHILIP KLOECKNER

F 1:30-2:20 pm, GoH 402

This is a yearlong course in ear training, keyboard progressions, realization of figured basses at the keyboard, and reading of chamber and orchestral scores. Classes each week consist of one dictation lab (sixty minutes long) and one keyboard lab (thirty minutes long).

Notes/Prerequisite(s): MUSI 15300 and Consent of Instructor. Credit given In Spring after completion of year's work.

MUSI 29500: Undergraduate: BA Paper Seminar

TRAVIS JACKSON

Time, location by arrangement

The seminar guides students through the preliminary stages of selecting and refining a topic, and provides an interactive forum for presenting and discussing the early stages of research, conceptualization, and writing. The course culminates in the presentation of a paper that serves as the foundation of the honors thesis. The instructors work closely with honors project supervisors, who may be drawn from the entire music faculty.

MUSI 29700: Independent Study

Instructor, time, location by arrangement

 

MUSI 29900: Senior Research: Music

Instructor, time, location by arrangement

 


GRADUATE COURSES

MUSI 30901: Issues in Film Music

BERTHOLD HOECKNER

T,R 3:00-4:20 pm, JRL 264

This course explores the role of film music in the history of cinema. What role does music play as part of the narrative (source music) and as nondiegetic music (underscoring)? How does music of different styles and provenance contribute to the semiotic universe of film? And how did film music assume a central voice in twentieth-century culture? We study music composed for films (original scores) as well as pre-existent music (such as popular and classical music). The twenty films covered in the course may include classical Hollywood cinema, documentaries, foreign (including non-Western) films, experimental films, musicals, and cartoons.

Notes/Prerequisite(s): Instructor consent required. Also meets as MUSI 22901, CMST 28100, CMST 38100.

MUSI 30909: Analysis of 19th Century Music

STEVEN RINGS

T,R 10:30-11:50 am, GoH 205

This course focuses on the tonal language of nineteenth-century European composers, including Schubert, Chopin, Brahms, and Wagner. Students confront analytical problems posed by these and other composers' increasing uses of chromaticism and extended forms through both traditional (classical) models of tonal harmony and form, as well as alternative approaches specifically tailored to this repertory. We will also address the ways in which these analytical perspectives might impinge on or influence matters of performance; students with a performance background will be invited to propose a final project that involves both performance and analysis.

MUSI 31901: Introduction to Cognitive Musicology

LAWRENCE ZBIKOWSKI

T,R 9:00-10:20 am, GoH 205

 

MUSI 33115: Music Anthropology

TRAVIS JACKSON

W 1:30-4:20 pm, JRL 264

This course is a selective introduction to anthropology and related, influential strands of high/critical theory, on one hand, and the changing relation of both to the study of music and the field of ethnomusicology, on the other. After an opening situating the course's origin and content in university and broader intellectual currents, we will proceed through a series of modules focused on particular issues and approaches: culture; society; research paradigms and theory; ethnography; intellectual crises and questions; emerging areas of concern like sound studies; and, finally, anthropological studies of art and music. Rather than providing a comprehensive survey, then, this course presents students with a series of paths they might fruitfully explore further, a set of tools for navigating the heterogeneous, distributed nature of fields with ever- proliferating subfields and research/writing paradigms.

MUSI 33415: Israel/Palestine

PHILIP BOHLMAN

R 1:30-4:20 pm, GoH 205

Historically one of the most complex and contested territories in the world, Israel/Palestine has a music culture that participates in the process of connection and separation. The politics of music in Israel/Palestine grow from conflicted beliefs about authenticity and ownership, the sounds of difference and sameness. The sacred and the secular intersect, and boundaries of practice and genre both divide and unite. Local practices have never been independent of global movement, be it in diaspora, pilgrimage, or the distant residence of refugees. The musical landscape of the region, therefore, has shifted throughout history, accessible primarily through the archeology of music scholarship.

In this proseminar we shall look at specific moments when the musics of Israel/Palestine converged, responding to and shaping the historical change. Weekly sessions will take specific moments as ways of exploring the ways in which music was critical to the processes of change, identity, and accommodation. We begin with moments in Antiquity, among them the moments in which the temples in Jerusalem were destroyed (e.g., 70 CE). Moments marking the patterns of settlement (Yishuv) and political transformation and unrest will mark the chronology of the modernity and modernism (e.g., 1917, 1933, 1938). The moments of statehood and nationalism will be of growing significance as the course moves toward the twenty-first century (e.g., 1948, 1967, and 1987).

We shall explore musical repertories and practices of all kinds, whether sacred or secular, vernacular or élite. Our focus will move from the religious texts that secure musical literacy to the media that unite otherwise divided lands. The role of individual musicians will be set in counterpoint with the cosmopolitan ensembles of the twenty-first century. Folk music and popular music, muzica mizrahit and Palestinian hip-hop, the sound of the synagogue, the mosque, and the church will draw us into engaged listening.

Notes/Prerequisite(s): Students from the Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Divinity School will all be welcome. The ability to read music is not a prerequisite, though familiarity with some way of understanding and discussing music will be helpful.

MUSI 33503: Introduction to the Musical Folklore of Central Asia

ARIK KAGAN

T,R 1:30-2:50 pm, Harper 104

This course explores the musical traditions of the peoples of Central Asia, both in terms of historical development and cultural significance. Topics include the music of the epic tradition, the use of music for healing, instrumental genres, and Central Asian folk and classical traditions. Basic field methods for ethnomusicology are also covered. Extensive use is made of recordings of musical performances and of live performances in the area.

MUSI 33800: Ethnographic Methods

KALEY MASON

M 9:30-12:20 pm, JRL 264

This proseminar is designed to equip graduate students with methodological and epistemological tools for doing ethnographic fieldwork in expressive cultural contexts. Topics are divided into three stages, beginning with a prefield introduction to research design, politics, and ethics, followed by an infield focus on skill sets and media for participating in, observing, and documenting art worlds in everyday life, and ending with a postfield emphasis on relationships, rights, responsibilities, and representational strategies. In class we discuss readings from anthropology, ethnomusicology, sociology, and folklore along with individual work in progress. In addition to clarifying concepts and methods related to ethnographic inquiry, we also reflect on the kind of knowledge we craft, the people whom this knowledge concerns and serves, the protocols for its use, and how our individual subject locations - our differences of gender, sexual orientation, class, race, ethnicity, faith, generation, and nationality - shape the interpretive process.

MUSI 34415: Composing for Orchestra in the 21st Century - Innovation, Tradition, and Institution

ANTHONY CHEUNG

W 10:30-1:20 pm, GoH 205

This course is a comprehensive look into the modern orchestra's relationship with new music over the past few decades. A major component will be examining repertoire of the past fifty years, seeing how new techniques, aesthetics, and technologies (electronics, computer-assisted orchestration, acoustics of instruments and halls) have influenced how composers approach writing for the orchestra. We will explore pathbreaking works that involve spatialization, alternative tunings, and electronics. At the same time, we will consider questions such as: Is it possible to be innovative with the orchestra in our time? And is this even an objective pursued by composers for the medium? The orchestra, that most tradition-bound apparatus, is on the one hand the most fertile ground for exploring new ways of thinking of timbre, spatialization, and new technologies. And yet, in dealing with economic realities and practical responsibilities, as well as a commitment to canonical practice, orchestras are also the most resistant to change and exploration. What are the limitations and expectations, artistic and financial, of music created for orchestral institutions? How is cultural prestige at play? What aesthetic choices are made in the programming and writing of orchestral music, and which arise out of pragmatism and marketing? What roles do the artistic administrators, composers-in-residence, publishers, critics and publicists play in changing the direction of orchestras? We will talk to people behind the scenes of new music programming in the orchestral world, and look at case studies of composers-in-residence, including Jacob Druckman's tenure at the New York Philharmonic and his Horizons series, and Augusta Read Thomas at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the formation of the successful MusicNOW series.

MUSI 34900: Contemporary Opera

MARTA PTZASYNSKA

M,W 3:00-4:20 pm, GoH 402

The course will explore the diversity of trends, aesthetics, and musical styles in opera after 1980 both in Europe and in America. Major emphasis will be placed on analysis of the most representative operas of that time. The selection of these operas was based on musical and artistic merit, historic importance, and cultural expression. The operas, which will be analyzed, are those based on Greek dramas (Aharony's "Oedipus" and LaCroix "The Birds"), operas which represent surrealist trends such as J. Cage's "Europeas" and Ligeti's "Grand Macabre," psychological dramas found in the operas of Schnittke " The Life with an Idiot" and Nyman's "The Man Who mistook His Wife for a Hat," political dramas such as Adams "'Nixon in China" and McManus" Killing the Goat," historical dramas such as Glass's "Akhnaten," Tan Dun's " Marco Polo," and Ptaszynska's "Valldemosa," operas written under Broadway influences such as Ades' "Powder her Face" and Daugherty's "Jackie O.," and many more.

Notes/Prerequisite(s): This course is designed for graduate students as well as undergraduates; also meets as MUSI 22900.

MUSI 37200: History of Music Theory II

THOMAS CHRISTENSEN

W 9:00-12:00 pm, JRL 264

In this course, we will survey a variety of problems and topics in the history of music theory ranging from the early 17th century through to the beginning of the 20th century. There is no pretense, of course, that we can follow an exhaustive survey of theoretical literature over these three centuries; rather salient topics or “moments” in the history of music theory will be selected for close analysis.

Among those topics we will consider this year are:

  • Modal theory in the 17th century and the “emergence” of tonality
  • Rhetoric as a model and stimulus for compositional process in the 18th century 
  • Rameau’s basse fondamentale: music theory as science
  • Problems of form theory in the 19th century
  • Harmonic dualism in 19th-century Germany
  • Tonality as tone psychology

The emphasis will be on the reading and exegesis of key primary texts (or excerpts) in English. But language skills in German, French, Latin, and/or Italian will prove helpful. You will probably find it useful to have a copy of the Cambridge History of Western Music Theory for consultation (available on Amazon).

Notes/Prerequisite(s): Requirements for the courses will consist of a number of short response or review papers, at least one in-class presentation, and a take-home exam.

MUSI 42515: Music, Play, and Transcendence

MELVIN BUTLER

M 1:30-4:20 pm, JRL 264

Notions of transcendence and play have long been used to explore the capacity of sound to represent, shape, and structure ordinary and extraordinary human experiences. The study of play has occupied significant scholarly attention in the United States and around the world for well over a century. Musicologists, anthropologists, and psychologists have plumbed the topic, moving beyond discussions of "child's play" to explore manifestations of play in the expressive cultures of people of all ages and backgrounds. The study of transcendence has an even more extensive history. Plato's concept of "absolute goodness," Kant's "transcendental idealism, Kierkegaard's "leap of faith," Tillich's "ultimate concern," and Csordas's "transnational transcendence" represent only a small sampling of philosophical, theological, and anthropological sources of inspiration. There are, however, far fewer studies of how play and transcendence relate to one another and to musical practice.  Notwithstanding the 2006 volume, Playful Religion (eds. Droogers, et al. UChicago Press, 2006), transcendence, especially religious transcendence, is often cast as a "serious" endeavor devoid of laughter, joking, mimicry, sport, and other "fun" aspects of social behavior.

The challenge of this seminar is to explore "play" and "transcendence" in tandem. Throughout the term, we will seek to uncover how music brings the connections and disconnections between these two multivalent concepts into focus. We will interrogate the ways in which music—as sound, behavior and concept—transcends ritual frames and accrues various meanings for audiences and "players." The following questions will be of overarching concern: How does music give presence to what lies beyond it? What are the processes through which play and transcendence take sonic form? (Put otherwise, how do play and transcendence "sound"?)  For whom, and under what circumstances, does musical play become a transcendent activity? To what extent might transcendence, religious and otherwise, be considered a playful phenomenon? On a more reflexive note, how might the study of play and transcendence from a music-centered perspective stimulate fresh thinking about disciplinary identity? Seminar participants will have the opportunity to delve into multiple forms of literal and symbolic expression while navigating the contested epistemological boundaries between work and play, self and other, belief and make-believe, and ritual and everyday life.

MUSI 44815: Late Medieval Sacred Music and Hermeneutics

ANNE WALTERS ROBERTSON

R 9:00-12:00 pm, JRL 264

Fifteenth-century sacred music encompasses many different sounds and styles: from the highly layered sonorities of the motets and mass movements of the early English repertory; to the more consonant yet constructivist Continental masses by Ockeghem, Obrecht, and others after mid-century; to the simple piety of Josquin’s motet Ave Maria…virgo serena from the end of the century. In no previous span of one hundred years are so many distinctions in musical style evident. We will examine the long arc of this development through the lenses of the music and words that inform these pieces. Our methodology will be hermeneutic, as befits music that is based on religious texts, although we will not proceed solely according to the original meaning of that term, which denotes the interpretation of scriptural texts. Rather, we will try to emulate the new interpretative methods that developed in the first half of the fifteenth century, beginning when Lorenzo Valla (1407-57) performed his famous analysis of the so-called “Donation of Constantine” (demonstrating that this document was a forgery). Our explorations of this music will thus draw on many areas of socio-cultural experience: painting, sculpture, numismatics, devotional practice, and the like.

Notes/Prerequisite(s): Papers will focus on individual masses and motets. Some reading ability of French, or German, or Latin will be useful but not mandatory.