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Department of Music

This is an archived copy of the 2012-13 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit


  • Lawrence Zbikowski


  • Philip V. Bohlman
  • Thomas Christensen
  • Martha Feldman
  • Robert L. Kendrick
  • Marta Ptaszynska
  • Shulamit Ran
  • Anne Walters Robertson
  • Augusta Read Thomas

Associate Professors

  • Berthold Hoeckner
  • Travis A. Jackson
  • Steven Rings
  • Lawrence Zbikowski

Assistant Professors

  • Seth Brodsky
  • Melvin Butler
  • Kaley Mason

Senior Lecturers

  • Howard Sandroff
  • Barbara Schubert


  • Amy Briggs
  • James Kallembach
  • Philip Kloeckner
  • Stefan Love

Emeritus Faculty

  • Easley R. Blackwood
  • John Eaton
  • Philip Gossett
  • Don Randel

Programs of Study

The Department of Music at the University of Chicago offers the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in three areas: composition, ethnomusicology and the history and theory of music.

The program in composition is designed to develop students’ creative and technical abilities at writing new music. Students take individual composition lessons with faculty members, often studying with more than one faculty member in the course of their residence. Students also receive training in a wide variety of related areas and skills, including score reading and conducting, orchestration, musical analysis, twentieth century styles, historical periods and (optionally) computer generated sound synthesis. A portion of this training will lead to the development of a minor field in ethnomusicology, musicology, theory and analysis or research in computer music. There is a weekly seminar for all of the students in the composition program, designed to broaden the perspectives and address the problems of aspiring composers.

The program in ethnomusicology prepares students to carry out scholarship and writing about the place of music in various cultures. Students receive grounding in cultural theory, anthropology, ethnographic methods, problems in cross-cultural musical analysis, and a variety of world and popular musics. They also conduct fieldwork on some of these musics. The program is interdisciplinary, drawing upon course offerings in music, anthropology and a variety of area studies.

The program in music history and theory prepares students to carry out various kinds of scholarship and writing about music, especially (but not solely) in traditions of European and American repertories. Students may emphasize either the historical or theoretical side of scholarship, according to their interests, and may also choose to pursue a minor field in composition. Students emphasizing music history typically concentrate on varieties of musicology that include cultural history, textual criticism, stylistic studies, institutional history, hermeneutics and critical theory. Students emphasizing music theory typically concentrate on detailed analysis of individual works, clusters of works (by genre or composer, for example), theoretical systems and the history of theory. Most students who complete the Ph.D. in music history and theory seek academic employment, but others have gone on to work in fields such as publishing, operatic production, and commercial editing.


The following provides a general outline of educational opportunities and degree requirements in the programs, but in no way replaces the detailed information given to all prospective students and enrolled students in the department. Up to date information about academic programs and courses is available on the website of the Music Department at .

During the first two years of study students take a number of required offerings (numbered between 30000 and 39900) including analysis courses, proseminars in historical periods and in ethnomusicology, courses on particular skills and individual composition lessons, depending on their programs of study. At the same time they take seminars (numbered above 41000), which tend to be more specialized and more advanced. About half of a student’s schedule consists of electives, which may include non-required courses in the department, courses given outside the department and reading courses (i.e. independent studies).

Students entering the program without a master’s degree in music from another institution take fifteen courses during the first two years of registration (before taking comprehensive exams). Those entering with a master’s degree from another institution normally take nine courses in the first year of registration (before taking comprehensive exams).

In addition to courses and other requirements (listed below), students who wish to obtain an M.A. must submit two seminar papers, or a composition of at least eight minutes, for approval by the faculty.

During the second two years of study, students in the scholarly programs are required to take three seminars, and students in composition are expected to develop a minor field of four courses. Standard minors for composition students include ethnomusicology, musicology, theory and analysis, or computer music research. After the comprehensive exams, students fulfill remaining requirements and begin work on the dissertation (see below).

Students entering their program of study without a master’s degree in music can expect to complete their course work in three or four years. Those entering with a master’s can expect to complete their course work in two or three years.

Comprehensive Examinations

Students ordinarily take comprehensive exams just prior to the beginning of the third year in the program. Students entering with a master’s degree in music from another institution have the option of taking their exams at the beginning of their second year.

Students in composition take three comprehensive examinations:

  • The composition of a work based on a set of given guidelines
  • An oral examination on ten compositions from the repertory
  • A close analysis of a single work or movement

Students in ethnomusicology take four comprehensive exams:

  • Conceptual Foundations: essays covering broad issues of theoretical importance to ethnomusicology and musicology
  • Cultural Area: essays demonstrating knowledge of a world musical cultural area
  • The identification, from notation and by ear, of music from both European historical and world music traditions
  • An additional exam consisting of:
    • A second cultural area
    • A close analysis of a musical work (in a world musical tradition or in the Western art-music tradition) 
    • A historical period of European music corresponding to one of the three given to students in history and theory (see below)

Students in history and theory take four of the following eight examinations (within some distribution guidelines):

  • Analysis of tonal music
  • Analysis of atonal music
  • The identification of music scores of from all periods of music in the European tradition
  • Historical essays on music before 1600
  • Historical essays on music from 1600 to 1800
  • Historical essays on music since 1800
  • Essays on the conceptual foundations of musical scholarship, including ethnomusicology
  • Essays in music theory

While course work helps prepare students for comprehensive exams, students are expected to be enterprising in their efforts to determine both areas of weakness that they need to work on, and ways to synthesize and interrelate knowledge about history, repertory, theory, and so forth. Students should expect to spend an extended period of time engaged in intensive individual study in preparation for comprehensive exams, particularly during the summer before taking them.

Special Field Examination/Dissertation Proposal

After having passed the comprehensive exams, students in music history and theory and in ethnomusicology also take a two-part oral exam at some time during the third or fourth year. For students in ethnomusicology, the first part of the oral tests the student’s knowledge of, and ability for, synthetic thought within a selected area of world music. For all students, the exam is a defense of the dissertation prospectus, demonstrating the propriety and feasibility of the topic and the student’s knowledge of the existing literature about it. Normally students take this exam in the third or fourth year. The exam is administered by the student’s dissertation committee (often including a person from outside the department), with additional faculty members sometimes attending as well.


For students in music history and theory and in ethnomusicology the dissertation for the Ph.D. consists of a book length study that makes an original contribution to research and thought. Students in composition must complete a large scale composition that shows professional competence, as well as a paper demonstrating ability to do advanced work in an area of musical scholarship (ordinarily the student’s minor field), normally 30–50 pages in length. All students are required to defend the dissertation before receiving the degree.

Language Examinations

Language requirements are fulfilled through examinations testing the student’s ability to translate about 400 words of a passage of medium difficulty from source materials or other musicological literature, using a dictionary. Three times per year the department administers examinations in French, German, Italian, and Latin. The department arranges for students to take other languages related to their research or compositional interests.

For the Ph.D. program in composition, one foreign language is required. (This requirement cannot be met by the composer’s language of origin.) For the Ph.D. program in ethnomusicology and music history, three languages are required, one of which must be German. Students concentrating in theory are examined in German and one additional language. All master’s degrees require one language.

Musicianship Examinations

Examinations in practical musicianship skills are administered by the Department of Music. These include examinations in basic musicianship skills and advanced musicianship skills. Examinations in basic musicianship include musical dictation, sight singing, and sight reading at the piano or another instrument in the Western musical tradition. Advanced musicianship skills include three skills to be realized at the piano (for students with advanced keyboard skills) or realized in written form (for students with no advanced keyboard skills): figured bass, reading of open vocal scores in old clefs and orchestral score reading (with a 24-hour preparation period). Other advanced musicianship skills are atonal dictation, transcription of music from oral or improvisatory traditions, improvisation in an improvisatory tradition, and playing in a University ensemble for at least one year concluding with a public concert. Students may petition to play in a recognized performing group other than official University ensembles. Students may also petition to fulfill the ensemble requirement through a solo performance in a university concert.

The number and kind of musicianship examinations for composition, ethnomusicology, history, and theory vary according to the respective programs as specified in the department’s Graduate Curriculum. Musicianship examinations are given during each of the three quarters. There is no limit to the number of examinations a student may take at a single sitting, and no limit to the number of times that a student may retake a musicianship examination. The Department offers free, informal, non-credit instruction in these skills. Instruction will be offered on an individual basis. The Department is not obligated to offer instruction in the area chosen by the student.

All departmental master’s degrees require successful completion of two musicianship examinations, except composition, which requires successful completion of three.


The Department sponsors a colloquium series that typically includes four or five presentations each quarter, normally on Friday afternoons. Colloquium presentations are made by students and faculty in the Department and by visiting scholars or composers from elsewhere. As the most regular departmental occasion for intellectual dialogue and one of the most important opportunities for outside professional contact, colloquium is viewed as an important part of academic life in the Department. It is normally taken for credit during the second part of Scholastic Residence.

Graduate Teaching

There exist a number of opportunities for teaching during students’ graduate careers. The various teaching opportunities range from assistantships to individual course assignments for which students have virtually full responsibility. The kinds of courses taught or assisted by graduate students include those in history, appreciation, theory, ear training, and world music. In addition to these assignments, students may be nominated for Stuart Tave Teaching Fellowships in the Humanities Collegiate Division, which allow advanced graduate students in the humanities to teach upper level undergraduate courses in their own areas of research.

Music Theory Mentoring Partnership

This program provides opportunities for graduate students in the Department of Music to serve as part time faculty at colleges and universities in the Chicago area. Participants will be hired by the institution to teach or assist in an undergraduate course in music theory or aural skills, and will be compensated at that institution’s pay scale for part time faculty. Participants will be assigned a mentor who is a permanent member of the institution’s theory faculty, and whose role will be to orient participants to the culture of the institution, and to provide guidance and feedback on syllabi, classroom presentations, grading, and so forth. Eligibility requirements for this program are two years of course work at the University of Chicago (one year if you entered with an MA); AND prior service as a Lecturer or a Course Assistant in a music course at the University of Chicago, or comparable experience at another institution. The program is open to students in ethnomusicology, composition, and historical musicology, as well as to those who are specializing as theorists. In addition to the music theory mentoring program, advanced students frequently secure part time teaching at other local institutions, or in the Graham School of General Studies.

Performing Activities

Candidates for degrees are encouraged to perform in one of the many groups sponsored by the department or in one of its recital venues. Performing organizations include the University Symphony Orchestra, the University Chamber Orchestra, the University Wind Ensemble, the New Music Ensemble, the University Chorus, the Motet Choir, the Jazz X-tet, the Central Javanese Gamelan and the Middle East Music Ensemble. Abundant professional and semi-professional opportunities exist throughout the metropolitan area for students who are accomplished performers. Recent departmental students have performed in the University’s Rockefeller Chapel Choir, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Newberry Consort, and Contempo (the University of Chicago Chamber Players), among others.


Students in the department frequently attend one of the many interdisciplinary workshops that are organized throughout the University as forums for intensive intellectual exchange between faculty and graduate students. Those that have recently attracted students in music have included (for example) the workshops on Medieval Art, Liturgy, and Music; the Renaissance; Music and Language; African American Studies; Chicago Public Spaces; History and Philosophy of Science, Economies of the Senses, and the Ethnomusicology Workshop (Ethnoise).


Applicants to the programs in music history and theory and in ethnomusicology will be asked to submit two papers as samples of their previous works in addition to the usual application forms, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and GRE scores. Applicants in composition will be asked to submit scores, preferably three, and tapes when they are available.

In addition to their scholastic skills, students need at least a modicum of proficiency in fundamental musical skills in order to succeed in the program. It is expected that entering students have competence in playing a musical instrument or singing, as well as possess basic skills in ear training and music theory.

Prospective applicants seeking more detailed information about the course requirements, exams, etc. than is given here should write to the chair of the admissions committee in the Department of Music for a copy of the Graduate Curriculum. The address is: Department of Music, 1115 E. 58th Street, Chicago, IL 60637, telephone: (773) 702-8484. We will also send more detailed materials on faculty interests and activities and (upon request) on performing groups.

Further information about the various aspects of the graduate program, such as course descriptions, the Graduate Curriculum, and the Graduate Student Handbook, can also be obtained from the Department of Music’s home page on the World Wide Web, . Students interested in the program can apply online.

The application process for admission and financial aid for all graduate programs in Humanities is administered through the divisional Office of the Dean of Students. The Application for Admission and Financial Aid, with instructions, deadlines and department specific information is available online at .

International students must provide evidence of English proficiency by submitting scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Questions pertaining to admissions and aid should be directed to or (773) 702-1552.

Music Courses

MUSI 30913. Analysis of Music in the Classical Period, 1775-1825. 100 Units.

 This course focuses on the analysis of music by composers associated with the Viennese classical period, including Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Topics include classical phrase structure, standard tonal forms such as sonata-allegro, and basic chromatic harmony. Participants present model compositions and write analytical papers.

Instructor(s): Steven Rings     Terms Offered: Winter 2013
Prerequisite(s): Music 15300 or equivalent
Note(s): Meets with Music 25113
Equivalent Course(s): MUSI 25113

MUSI 31013. Analysis of 19th-Century Music. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): Sarah Iker     Terms Offered: Spring 2013
Equivalent Course(s): MUSI 25213

MUSI 31300. Analysis of 20th-Century Music. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): Steven Rings     Terms Offered: Spring 2013

MUSI 31801. The Analysis of Song. 100 Units.

This course focuses on the art song of the nineteenth century, with special attention to the relationship between tonal structure and song text. Both individual songs and song cycles are considered, with the main emphasis on works by Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms. Student projects include comparative analyses of settings of the same text by different composers, analyses of a song and its later arrangement as an instrumental work, or the analysis and performance of a song.

Instructor(s): L. Zbikowski     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): MUSI 15300 or equivalent
Note(s): This course typically is offered in alternate years.
Equivalent Course(s): MUSI 25801

MUSI 31901. Introduction to Cognitive Musicology. 100 Units.

This course surveys recent research in music cognition and cognitive psychology and explores how it can be applied to music scholarship. We begin with a general review of research on categorization, analogy, and inferential systems. This review is paired with close readings of empirical literature drawn from cognitive science, neuroscience, and music psychology, as well as theoretical work in cognitive linguistics and cognitive anthropology. Student projects focus on applications of research in cognitive science to historical musicology, ethnomusicology, music theory, or music analysis. Weekly lab meetings required.

Instructor(s): L. Zbikowski     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): MUSI 15300 or equivalent. Open to nonmajors with consent of instructor.
Note(s): This course typically is offered in alternate years.
Equivalent Course(s): MUSI 25701

MUSI 32200. Proseminar: Music to 1300. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): Anne Robertson     Terms Offered: Spring 2013

MUSI 32400. Proseminar: Music from 1450-1600. 100 Units.

This course examines issues and contexts for European music in the period, concentrating on cultural meaning, transmission, improvisation, and sources. Students will do work with digital editions of Renaissance music, interactions between Europe and the Americas, and problems of gender and music.

Instructor(s): Robert Kendrick     Terms Offered: Winter 2013

MUSI 32800. Proseminar: Music from 1900-2000. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): Seth Brodsky     Terms Offered: Winter 2013

MUSI 33300. Introduction to the Social and Cultural Study of Music. 100 Units.

This course provides an introduction to ethnomusicology and related disciplines with an emphasis on the methods and contemporary practice of social and cultural analysis. The course reviews a broad selection of writing on non-Western, popular, vernacular, and "world-music" genres from a historical and theoretical perspective, clarifying key analytical terms (i.e., "culture," "subculture," "style," "ritual," "globalization") and methods (i.e., ethnography, semiotics, psychoanalysis, Marxism). In the last part of the course, students learn and develop component skills of fieldwork documentation and ethnographic writing.

Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Prior music course and ability to read music notation not required.
Equivalent Course(s): MUSI 23300

MUSI 33503. Introduction to the Musical Folklore of Central Asia. 100 Units.

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.

Instructor(s): K. Arik     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Knowledge of Arabic and/or Islamic studies helpful but not required
Equivalent Course(s): NEHC 20765,ANTH 25905,EEUR 23400,EEUR 33400,MUSI 23503

MUSI 33513. Musical Performances of Race/Gender/Sexuality. Units.

This course explores the relationships between race, sexuality, and gender in the context of musical performances. Understanding categories of race, gender, and sexuality as intersectional, we will explore the various ways that people construct their subjectivities and organize around issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Within each of these categories, multiple subjectivities emerge, allowing for us to investigate how different embodied experiences condition divergent perspectives.

Structures of race, gender, and sexuality exist within broader systems of power and are not uniform. Thus we will explore various case studies from world musical cultures, contextualizing the historical and cultural parameters. Through locally grounded case studies we will investigate race, gender, and sexuality as embedded within hierarchical power structures. Moving beyond myopic interpretations of power and resistance, we begin with understanding conceptions of the self and ideological parameters as emergent, shifting, and continuously re-performed. We ask how people respond to the global phenomena of colonialism, neocolonialism, racism, sexism, capitalism, HIV/AIDS, and other forms of oppression through musical performance. Musical performance provides a fruitful ground for unearthing the subversive potentialities of both articulated and unarticulated resistance movements.

The literature of the course draws from multiple bodies of feminist theory such as Black feminist thought, postcolonial feminisms, poststructuralist feminism, and global feminist perspectives. We will also utilize theoretical frameworks that provide a lens for exploring identity politics such as critical race theory and queer theory. As we seek to untangle issues of musical performance, embodiment, movement, and representation, we will draw from ethnomusicology, performance studies, postmodern anthropology, and postcolonial theory. We will draw linkages between the various bodies of literature, examining the entry points for investigating race, gender, and sexuality as performed categories of being. These theoretical positions serve to inform our studies; I ask students to reintegrate their area studies interests through these theoretical perspectives.

Noting that race, gender, and sexuality are not only academic discourses, but political positions as well, we will consider conversations outside of the academy as authorities. This includes poetry, art, theater, literature, film, music, ethnography, and everyday life. Going further, we will problematize the structures of power that authorize certain discourses as legitimate and authorial while marginalizing others.

Instructor(s): Sidra Lawrence     Terms Offered: Winter 2013
Note(s): Meets with Music 23513
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 23513,MUSI 23513

MUSI 33613. Popular Culture in the Middle East and North Africa. 100 Units.

This course remaps popular culture of the contemporary Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in light of ongoing uprisings in this region. Expressive practices create senses of community at the same time that they may reinforce political and religious differences. Engaging popular culture as a means to identify newly emerging publics across the region, we will theorize the intersection of aesthetics, politicsm and religion, such as how Islamists turn to art for political and mobilizational purposes. We will utilize social media and theorize its role in disseminating creative practices. This course will develop historical and theoretical perspectives on materials ranging from literature and satirical comedy to protest song and slogans, including hiphop, dabke, and other forms of Arab street culture.

Instructor(s): Shayna Silverstein     Terms Offered: Winter 2013
Note(s): Meets with Music 23613
Equivalent Course(s): MUSI 23613,NEHC 23613

MUSI 33800. Ethnomusicology Proseminar. 100 Units.

The sea change through which musical scholarship has passed at the beginning of the twenty-first century would be unthinkable without the sweeping influences of ethnomusicology. Once thought to concern itself with the music of the Other, whether the cultures outside Europe or the social conditions of the rural and disadvantaged in Western society, ethnomusicology is now a comprehensive discipline at the center of musical scholarship. Ethnomusicological research enjoys a global reach, and it generates methods and theories that serve both the humanities and the social sciences. Ethnomusicology courses have also moved from the margins to the center of university music programs, where those courses are increasingly critical for all students, undergraduate and postgraduate. This dramatic rerouting of the intellectual history of musical scholarship will provide the road map that we follow through the “Proseminar in Ethnomusicology” in 2013.

Ethnomusicology in the twenty-first century also claims an historical longue durée that stretches across continents and cultures, providing us with the point of departure in the early weeks of the proseminar. In the first sessions we consider the history and historiography of ethnomusicology. Beginning with concepts of ontology and origins in music—the shaping of music’s multiple and culturally situated identities—we explore the ways in which encounter, collection, and analysis developed in such ways that music could have multiple forms as an object. The formation of repertories and genres that lent themselves to ethnomusicological study and theoretical formulation (e.g., Johann Gottfried Herder’s Volkslieder, “folk songs,” in the late eighteenth century, and the transnational appropriation of world music through the mass media in the late twentieth century) provide a common thread unifying the first part of the proseminar.

With the sessions in the second part of the course we navigate the present and move toward the future, where we explore the complex disciplinarity of ethnomusicology. The critical methodological presence of fieldwork and ethnography guide us into the themes of the second part. In the final weeks we turn toward the disciplinary directions of the new ethnomusicology at the turn of the present century, when ethnomusicological interest global popular music and sound studies led to further expansion of ethnomusicology as a field, which nonetheless meant that ethnomusicologists would different aesthetic and ethical questions as they entered new domains of the human sciences.

Graduate students in all subdisciplines of the Music Department are welcome to take this proseminar. Students from across the Social Sciences, Humanities, and Divinity, especially those whose studies involve area studies and the affective and expressive presence of the arts in culture, are similarly welcome to take the Proseminar in Ethnomusicology.

Instructor(s): Philip Bohlman     Terms Offered: Winter 2013

MUSI 33900. Music Anthropology. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): Travis Jackson     Terms Offered: Spring 2013

MUSI 33911. Jewish Music. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): Philip Bohlman     Terms Offered: Spring 2013
Equivalent Course(s): MUSI 23911

MUSI 34600. Orchestration. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): Cliff Colnot     Terms Offered: Winter 2013, Spring 2013

MUSI 34700-34800. Introduction to Computer Music.

This two-quarter course of study gives students in any discipline the opportunity to explore the techniques and aesthetics of computer-generated/assisted music production. During the first quarter, students learn the basics of digital synthesis, the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI), and programming. These concepts and skills are acquired through lecture, demonstration, reading, and a series of production and programming exercises. Weekly lab tutorials and individual lab time in the department’s computer music studio are in addition to scheduled class time.

MUSI 34700. Introduction to Computer Music. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): H. Sandroff     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor. Rudimentary musical skills (but not technical knowledge) required.
Note(s): Basic Macintosh skills helpful. This course is offered in alternate years.
Equivalent Course(s): MUSI 26300

MUSI 34800. Introduction to Computer Music. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): H. Sandroff     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor. Rudimentary musical skills (but not technical knowledge) required.
Note(s): Basic Macintosh skills helpful. This course is offered in alternate years.
Equivalent Course(s): MUSI 26400

MUSI 35013. Music and Philosophy. 100 Units.

What is distinctive about a philosophical explanation of musical experience? Through close examination of canonical readings from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this course will allow us to reflect critically on the ways in which philosophical discourse can inform, distort, deepen, broaden, or even silence our accounts of musical experiences, both past and present. Particular attention will be paid to the ways in which continental philosophers have tried to account for the development of modernist aesthetics since the late nineteenth century.

Questions we will confront include: Does music, itself, represent anything? How does its meaning (or lack thereof) relate to the meaning of opera libretti, song texts, and programmatic narratives? How does sung music present the human voice? Is music exclusively temporal, or does it have a distinct spatial dimension like architecture? Does its temporality bear any relationship to the temporality of life? Or is music a cryptic language that indicates something we cannot speak or think? Does it express something unique about the memory of human suffering and trauma? And what is music’s relationship to the body, to ecstasy, and to erotic desire?

Instructor(s): Michael Gallope     Terms Offered: Winter 2013
Equivalent Course(s): MUSI 25013

MUSI 35800. Tuning Theory. 100 Units.

This course begins with a description of the logarithmic perception of pitch increments. We then cover the historically important tunings of the diatonic scale-just intonation, Pythagorean and meantone tunings, and twelve-note equal tuning. A parametric representation is described that reveals that the historic tunings are particular members of a general family of diatonic tunings. We also discuss the individual chromatic properties of certain equal tunings, focusing on the tunings of 12, 15, 17, 19, and 31 notes.

Instructor(s): E. Blackwood     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Ability to read music
Note(s): This course typically is offered in alternate years.
Equivalent Course(s): MUSI 25800

MUSI 36413. Modernist Movements: Stravinsky-Balanchine, Cage-Cunningham, and Others. 100 Units.

Focusing on the work of the two most celebrated composer—choreographer teams in the twentieth-century United States—Igor Stravinsky and George Balanchine, John Cage and Merce Cunningham—this course will explore modernist choreomusicalities—i.e., relationships between music and dance—and their historical, cultural, and aesthetic contexts and implications. Following a quick overview of some influential predecessors (Duncan and various then dead canonical composers, Stravinsky and Nijinsky, Graham and Copland), we will view and read about choreographies ranging from Balanchine’s first ballet created in the U.S. (Serenade, 1934, to the eponymous music of Chaikovsky), Cage and Cunningham’s early “expressive” dances, two of the three Stravinsky-Balanchine “Greek” ballets (Apollo and Agon), and the chance-derived Cage-Cunningham Suite for Five all the way up to Cunningham’s chance-dependent 2003 collaboration with Radiohead and Sigur Rós, Split Sides. We will conclude with a brief examination of dance that is often labeled as postmodernist, including that of choreographers from the Judson Dance Theater, Mark Morris, and William Forsythe.

While exploring the formal, historical, and theoretical aspects of these collaborations, our ultimate goal will be to figure out what constitutes persuasive description of and discussion about the interaction between dance and music, two especially fugitive arts. We will read critics and scholars who have attempted to meet this challenge, and we will attempt it ourselves in several shared low-stakes response papers. In addition to our writing (including a final paper) and readings—not only from dance and music studies but also performance, American, modernist, art/visual, and gender/sexuality studies—we will view a considerable amount of video, likely attend a live performance together, and possibly even dance a bit ourselves.

Instructor(s): Daniel Callahan     Terms Offered: Winter 2013
Note(s): Meets with Music 26413
Equivalent Course(s): MUSI 26413

MUSI 36900. Twelve-Tone Counterpoint. 100 Units.

The course is specifically designed for graduate composers. The aim of the course is to acquaint the students with 12-tone polyphony, in strict and free dodecaphonic writing.

Emphasis is put on strict 12-tone polyphonic writing in all principal species as well as in more advanced forms of two- and three- part miniatures and inventions. Also, the course will explore in depth more extended types of dodecaphonic writing.

Instructor(s): Marta Ptaszynska     Terms Offered: Winter 2013

MUSI 37200. History of Music Theory. 100 Units.

This course explores topics in the history of music theory from the seventeenth through twentieth centuries (with excursions into the sixteenth and twenty-first centuries as necessary). We will focus on a range of topics, including

  • scientific empiricism and music theory
  • musical rhetoric
  • the transition from modal to tonal thinking
  • the partimento tradition
  • harmonic theory in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
  • theories of modulation and tonality
  • theories of form
  • theories of musical rhythm
  • hermeneutic and semiotic approaches to musical analysis
Although secondary literature on these topics will be an important part of the assigned readings, our focus will be on primary sources. Not all of these have been translated, and so a reading knowledge of French and German will be useful. (Of course, secondary sources may be in either of these languages as well.)

In addition to doing the readings and participating in class discussion, students will make a short presentation on conceptual material relevant to the course and complete two brief analysis assignments. There will be a final exam similar in design to the theory essay exams given during comprehensives.

Instructor(s): Lawrence Zbikowski     Terms Offered: Winter 2013

MUSI 38000. Orchestral Conducting. 100 Units.

This year-long course provides an introduction to the art, the craft, and the practice of orchestral conducting. The course is targeted particularly toward graduate students in Music Composition, and toward experienced musicians familiar with the basic orchestral repertoire as well as the fundamental procedures of orchestral playing. Ideally, all students enrolled in the course should have had several years’ experience playing in a symphony orchestra or other musical ensemble. Proficiency in sight-reading and ear-training, as well as basic keyboard skills, are prerequisites for the course, but will not be specifically included in the curriculum.

Through a combination of classroom work and extra ensemble sessions, the student will gain significant practical experience in conducting. Weekly classroom sessions will incorporate singing, keyboard work, and instrumental participation by class members and guest musicians. Important technical exercises will be assigned every week, as well as modest reading selections. Periodic ensemble sessions will involve small groups of eight to twelve players, and occasionally as many as twenty or thirty players. Several short papers and classroom presentations will be assigned each quarter, in conjunction with the background readings and classroom work. In all, the goal is to develop an understanding and appreciation of the serious responsibilities and the creative possibilities linked to the conductor’s role, as well as to promote a basic proficiency in the craft of conducting.

Instructor(s): Barbara Schubert     Terms Offered: Autumn 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013
Note(s): The overall work load of the course is commensurate with a one-third course load per quarter. Students receive course credit only upon completion of the entire year’s work. Students should register for the course in all three quarters; they will receive an ‘R’ in autumn and winter, and a final grade in the spring.

MUSI 38200. Multiple-Media Composition. 100 Units.

Equivalent Course(s): MUSI 28200

MUSI 39113. Lohengrin Laboratory: Opera, Dramaturgy, and Stage Practice. 100 Units.

In 2014, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) will stage a production of Salvatore Sciarrino's Lohengrin directed by Majel Connery, Executive Director of Opera Cabal, an experimental opera company based in New York City and Chicago. This team-taught, interdisciplinary seminar will serve as a laboratory for the production. The first half of the class explores in depth the work’s genesis (Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin) and subsequent adaptation (a short story by Symbolist poet Jules Laforgue which, in turn, is re-adapted for opera by Sciarrino). As a class we will cultivate a fluency with the theoretical stakes of these multiple Lohengrins (including Alain Badiou’s and Adorno’s writings on Wagner, Michel Poizat on voice, and Slavoj Žižek/Mladen Dolar on opera, voice and the gaze) in order, finally, to develop a suite of mini-Lohengrins—group-based scenic reflections and solutions.

Instructor(s): Majel Connery and David Levin     Terms Offered: Winter 2013
Note(s): No previous experience staging opera is expected, although an interest in exploring the intersection of textual exegesis, conceptual analysis, and stage practice is essential. Students with an interest in any of the following are especially welcome: contemporary music, performance theory, dramaturgy, design, and/or directing.

MUSI 41500. Dissertation Proposal Seminar. 100 Units.

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.

Instructor(s): Lawrence Zbikowski     Terms Offered: Autumn 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013
Note(s): Participants will include students in Ethnomusicology and History/Theory who are writing dissertation proposals, as well as Composition students working on a Minor Field Paper.

MUSI 42113. The Silence of Music. 100 Units.

Music is always far more than sound, for it ceaselessly strives to be more than itself. It is be-cause music pushes beyond the bounds of the sonic that the aesthetic, sacred, and political accrue it, affording it the multiple conditions of power. During the course of this seminar we examine the metaphysics and ontologies of music in ways that allow us to respond to music in its frightening fullness, the silence that, at once, can result either from the absence of sound or from the deafening impact of music in the service of power. The silence of music embodies multiple meanings, ranging from the absence of being to the negation of being. If concepts of music privilege the soundedness of music, the themes we explore in the seminar draw us into a counterintuitive way of understanding how music comes into being and what kinds of cultural work it mobilizes. We seek ways to identity and understand the conditions of music that lie beyond sound, experiencing music not just as “humanly organized sound,” one of the standard definitional strategies of ethnomusicology, and making a disciplinary move that stretches beyond the limits of even those new academic formations, among them “sound studies,” that still approach sound as if it is a given in the perception of music.

We begin the seminar by broadening the aesthetic considerations brought to bear on music, drawing from Western and non-Western musical thought, as well as the aesthetic use of mu-sic in religious traditions throughout history. We modulate from myth to history by turning to historical considerations that arose from the encounter unleashed by the Age of Discovery. Midway through the seminar we introduce additional aesthetic registers by turning to the body as a site of response and perception, not simply as a means of sound production. Following its affective emergence, however, the body falls victim to the full force of modernity, the genocides that calibrate our own age. Revival with its musical and sacred meanings, bring us in the final weeks to our inconclusive conclusion, the history of the present that a multidisciplinary musical scholarship makes possible. The individual themes we trace during the weeks of the seminar afford us possibilities to follow distinctive historical paths, alternatives to the silencing impact of a hegemonic Western music history. The religio-aesthetic foundations of the seminar lie in the renewing forces of ontology, eschatology, and soteriology, which give us new ways of listening beyond sound to experience musical meaning.

Instructor(s): Philip Bohlman     Terms Offered: Winter 2013
Note(s): Graduate students in all disciplines of Music are welcome to take this seminar. Students from other departments, especially those for which the aesthetics, politics, and sacred meanings of music play a significant role, are similarly welcome to take the seminar.

MUSI 42913. Music and Nationalism in Modern Portugal. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): Salwah Castelo-Branco     Terms Offered: Spring 2013

MUSI 43013. Case Studies in the Postwar Avant-Garde. 100 Units.

This seminar will tack between two weaving paths: first, an engagement with some of the most important actors in postwar European composition; and second, an introduction to the work of psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan and his recent readers, and its musical application.

The first, and substantially wider path entails an exploration of issues in postwar European modernism via four of its most established, influential, and idiosyncratic composers: Italy’s Luciano Berio (1925-2003), Hungary’s György Ligeti (1923-2006), and Germany’s Helmut Lachenmann (b. 1935) and Wolfgang Rihm (b. 1952). Disparate in style and technique, allegiant to different aesthetic and political traditions, they nonetheless share some “elective affinities,” in particular their (not entirely avowed) sympathy with T.W. Adorno’s Gordian Knot of a claim that “art must be and wants to be utopia,” but simultaneously “will not allow itself to be utopia”. In the course of our explorations, we’ll become intimately acquainted not only with the works, but also the discursive world (essays, interviews, analyses) of each of these composers. We’ll also look closely at the work of Adorno and its complicated influence on these composers, concentrating in particular on writings from the long decade after his return to Germany.

At the same time, this seminar will also provide some strategically awry perspectives on its material via theories and concepts from Lacanian psychoanalysis, both through Lacan and others (Žižek, Fink, Verhaege, et al.). We’ll concentrate particularly on the Lacanian notion of fantasy, and its promising capacity for bridging the psychic, ideological, and music-analytic registers of the texts taken up. How, for instance, can the “impossible relationship” between art and utopia staged in Adorno’s writings be read with (and not simply onto!) the stagings of similarly impossible relationships between stasis and articulation in Ligeti; object and gloss in Berio; form and hunt in Rihm; tone and noise in Lachenmann? And how might these stagings reveal the entanglement of the composer’s political/cultural arena and writing desk?

Instructor(s): Seth Brodsky     Terms Offered: Winter 2013

MUSI 43113. Tonalité 100 Units.

In 1832, the Belgium musicologist Joseph-Francois Fétis presented a public lecture in Paris in which he elaborated an ambitious theory of musical “tonalité.” Although the details of his theory were heavily disputed over the next decades by scholars, Fétis’s terminology nonetheless proved indispensable, one that we continue to use—and argue about—to this day.

In this seminar, I want to use Fétis’s writings as a jumping-off point in order to consider many of the wider ramifications that the concept of tonality had in a variety of musical sub-fields in the 19th century (with occasional nods towards 20th-century scholarship). We will explore four main areas: historical musicology, ethnomusicology, music theory, and composition.

1. Fétis’s rigid bifurcation of music into “modern tonality” and “plain-chant tonality” (a division that he pinned precisely at the year 1605), led to a vigorous debate among scholars regarding the empirical semiotics of tonality. In particular, scholars who were then beginning to study Gregorian chant as part of the nascent chant-reform movement (de la Fage, Danjou, d’Ortigue) argued about the nature of ecclesiastical modality (with important implications to their reading and editing of chant and early polyphony). Fétis’s theory was also critical to the historiography of music in the 19th century, with its quasi-Hegelian trajectory of tonal consciousness over time pointing tantalizingly to its future development.

2. A number of scholars in the 19th century began to turn their attention to the vernacular and popular songs of the Middle Ages (e.g. Coussemaker, Tiersot, Kiesewetter), finding in this music remarkable premonitions of modern tonality. A question arose, then, whether modern tonality as we know it had secular origins that long predated Fétis’s cutoff date. (The answer was not obvious, since many of these same scholars claimed to find latent modal tendencies in the repertoire of the popular Chanson that they were then collecting and analyzing.)

3. At the same time, a few musicologists were beginning to look at the music of many non-Western cultures (particularly Arabic and East Asian). Problems about the nature of their “tonalities” raised intriguing possibilities about the existence of a “universal” origin for music, as well as more Orientalist prejudices regarding the evolution of music from “primitive” tonalities.

4. It’s not surprising that many theorists took a turn in this debate. We will look at their research into the sub-disciplines of harmony, music psychology, tuning theory, and acoustics by which tonality was reified. Fétis’s reception by German theorists such as Riemann will also be considered. Not to be left out are some of the more eccentric tonal theories of the time penned by an odd assortment of mystics, theosophists, numerologists, and Orientalists.

5. Finally, we will want to spend some time looking at the implications of this wide-ranging debate upon composers. Many composers of the 19th century were acutely aware of the work of their scholarly compatriots and responded to it in their music. (Liszt is perhaps the supreme example, with his late experimental works such as the “Bagatelle without tonality”). More to the point, the “tonality of the future” of Wagner, with it stimulating chromaticism and modulatory excess, posed a special political challenge to French artists, one that was often approached in two ways: either through capitulation (Saint-Saens, d’Indy) or by a retreat into a kind of idealized Gothic modalism—the latter mocked by Richard Taruskin as “getting rid of the glue.” In short, an acute self-consciousness of “tonality” both past and present, French or German, Western or not, proved to be an important stimulant (or constraint) to many composers of the later 19th century.

Instructor(s): Thomas Christensen     Terms Offered: Winter 2013
Note(s): Many of the readings we will look at are in English, although a number of them will also be in French. So it is advisable that you have some ability in French if you plan to register for this class. A single seminar paper will be due at the end of the quarter.

MUSI 43713. Relational Musicology. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): Nicholas Cook     Terms Offered: Spring 2013

MUSI 44713. Music and Death in 17th-Century Europe. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): Robert Kendrick     Terms Offered: Spring 2013

MUSI 45313. Power Plays: Opera and Politics, ca. 1750-1800. 100 Units.

The second half of the 18th century was a time of intense interest in the psychological effects of music, in the effects of pleasure on subjectivity, and in politics. This course deals with the political context of opera and vice versa between Rousseau’ Letter on French Music (1753) and the French revolution and the deaths of Mozart and Gustav III in the early 1790s. The main objective is to try out different ways of connecting music drama and political power, partly by reading operas as reflections on political issues and topics, partly by exploring various conceptions of power in light of music history. France and Gustavian Sweden provide two spectacular case studies, but we will be discussing a broad operatic repertoire – and a whole spectre of ways of writing histories of music and culture. The course will be based on recent literature, operas from Rousseau via Gluck and Haydn to Kraus and Mozart, as well as contemporary texts, such as Rousseau’s Letter, Charles Burney’s travel journals, reviews, and essays on the effects and politics of music.

Instructor(s): Erling Sverdrup Sandmo     Terms Offered: Winter 2013

MUSI 45513. Boulez. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): Martin Zenck     Terms Offered: Spring 2013

MUSI 99999. Music and whatever. 100 Units.

Terms Offered: Autumn, not offered in 2012–13